There is still quite a bit we don’t know about the new merged Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest programme which launches next Saturday.
A leaked copy of the new terms and conditions has appeared online (click here) which was apparently extracted from the Marriott website albeit not on a published page. It is almost certainly genuine although whether it is the final version is a different question.
Here are the bits I found interesting, in as much as they differ from current practice or reflect areas where readers have asked me what will happen:
1.3.c.i – you only get free high-speed internet if your elite status membership number is in your booking 24 hours before check-in. If you turn up at check-in and your number is not in the booking already, you don’t get free high-speed internet (in theory).
1.3.c.ii – if you book multiple rooms and are an elite member you only get free high-speed internet access for one of them. Worth noting if you tend to book two rooms because you travel with kids or extended family.
1.6.d – points will only expire if there is no activity on your account for 24 months, either earning or spending (a few exceptions apply to what is counted as earning or spending)
2.1.b.d – you can earn points when dining or drinking at a Marriott or SPG property – even if you are not a guest – as long as you spend $10 (the old SPG rule carries across)
2.1.d.i – you can earn points on up to three rooms per stay but NOT elite night credit towards status, which is limited to one room per stay
2.8.a – you can transfer up to 50,000 points per year from one member to another as long as you share an address
2.8.c – once per year you can exceed the 50,000 point transfer limit as long as the points are used immediately for a redemption
3.2.e – resort fees are payable on reward nights, where such fees exist (Hilton does not charge these although this is not a change for Marriott / SPG)
3.2.e.iii – “Free Night Awards at the following locations require a higher amount of Points either because the Participating Property does not have standard rooms or the standard rooms it offers have a mandatory full board requirement in peak seasons: Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand; The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand; Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, Steamboat Springs, Colorado; The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, Costa Rica; The St. Regis Bora Bora and the Le Méridien Bora Bora, Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Mystique, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini, Santorini, Greece; The St. Regis Bali Resort, Nusa Dua, Indonesia; Hotel Cala di Volpe, Hotel Pitrizza, and Hotel Romazzino, Costa Smeralda, Italy; W Maldives, North Ari Atoll, Maldives; W Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand; Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, U.A.E.; St. Regis Residence Club, Aspen, Aspen, CO; and Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale, AZ.”
We were led to assume that these restrictions on the top SPG hotels were being removed and that no hotels would operate outside the new reward chart. Perhaps not …..
3.2.n – NO BLACKOUT DATES. Marriott has adopted the Starwood policy. If a “standard” room is available for cash, you can book it for points. Of course, some hotels play games over what they call a “standard” room.
3.3.a.ii – ‘paid upgrade awards’ will continue as an optional feature, where you pay a fixed sum at the time of booking to be guaranteed a better quality room. This is one of the features of Marriott Rewards I rate highly and ensures you can get a big room if you need to fit in children.
3.5.b – PointSaver discounted rewards will not be offered at ex-SPG hotels for now, although to be honest they were always few and far between.
3.6.b – you can continue to book reward nights if you do not have the points in your account as long as you earn them 14 days before check-in. However, this feature will not apply to ex-SPG hotels at this time which will disappoint some readers.
4.1.c – you will only receive elite benefits when you book via marriott.com or a similar channel – it is NO LONGER POSSIBLE to book via Expedia etc and get your benefits. This brings Marriott in line with every other hotel chain.
4.3.c.ii – Platinum members are not guaranteed a suite upgrade even if suites are available. At The Ritz-Carlton, only Platinum Premier members will be considered for suite upgrades and upgrades will never include club access. No upgrades will be given at Element or Aloft hotels.
5.3.d – you now only earn 10 elite night credits for your first meeting per calendar year. It is no longer possible to book a number of 1-hour meeting rooms at your local Marriott and gain elite status purely via that route.
There is probably some stuff that I have missed, or which simply didn’t interest me but might interest you. Click the link at the top of the page if you want to read the whole document ….. but it is long.
Please note that this may not be the final version of the terms and conditions so things could still change between now and Saturday.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)