In less than two weeks, Marriott International’s three major loyalty rewards programs will become one. As we reported in April, when Marriott first announced the change, members will soon be able to book stays and earn or redeem points among 29 global brands, comprising 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. The change goes into effect August 18, 2018.
This move brings members of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) under the Marriott Rewards umbrella. Benefits will be enhanced under the new program, the company says, giving members 20 percent more points for every dollar spent, on average.
Specifically, Marriott says loyalty members can expect these changes:
1. Combined accounts:
- Members with Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts will be able to combine their accounts into one, creating a unified profile with one points balance (Starpoints will be multiplied by three), and Elite-Nights earned.
- Members can earn and redeem all in one place, on any of Marriott’s digital, mobile and voice reservation channels including marriott.com and spg.com.
- A new SPG app will launch, mirroring the functionality of the Marriott Rewards app, including Mobile Requests.
2. Earn more points:
- 10 points per dollar spent for stays (except 5 points per dollar spent at Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Element and 2.5 points per dollar spent at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay properties).
- Full-folio earn on room rates, restaurant and bars and qualifying incidentals charged to the room.
- SPG members will see their points balance triple.
3. Achieve Elite status faster with new qualifying tiers:
- Members can enjoy new benefits and elite status levels.
- More properties to choose from to achieve status.
- New for SPG members – Silver Elite status at 10 nights; new for Marriott Rewards members – Gold Elite status at 25 nights and Platinum Elite status at 50 nights.
- Combining accounts means some members will have enough nights to qualify for higher elite status.
4. Easier to redeem everywhere and for less:
- Nearly 70 percent of properties are getting less expensive or staying the same when redeeming points for free stays with the new award chart announced last month (52 percent of hotels will move to a lower redemption rate and only 31 percent will go higher).
- Members can redeem for stays using the new Free Night Award Chart.
- Category eight hotels can be booked at category seven rates throughout 2018.
- Introduction of off-peak and peak rates on top of standard in 2019 will make sought-after properties more affordable.
- No blackout dates.
All SPG members, says Marriott, will receive a new 9-digit account number. The new number will appear on a pop-up when they log into their accounts. Passwords will stay the same (unless the member elects to change it).
Some members of Marriott Rewards will also receive a new account number. These members will receive an email with new account information or a call from a Marriott.
Marriott cautions that, on August 18, its sites and apps will periodically be unavailable as it migrates to the new platform. This means there will be times when no one can make a booking, and times when it will only accept credit card bookings. In those instances, members will not be able to book a redemption stay or have their member number attached to their reservation.
Marriott advises that, between now and August 18, members should maximize their redemption power by checking out the previously published Free Night Award Chart and deciding if they want to redeem before or after the new rates take effect. Members should also anticipate the outage on August 18 and book their stays in advance or wait until later in the day.