Marriott Got Almost Everything Perfect, But The Starwood AMEX Cuts Are Just Too Painful

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Marriott got nearly everything right today.

  • They got the elite status levels perfectly. The 5 tiers are logical with Silver (10-24 nights), Gold (25-49 nights), Platinum (50-74 nights), Platinum Premier (75-99 nights), and Platinum Premier with Ambassador (100+ nights and $20K in spend). Platinum members continue to get 4pm late checkout, free breakfast, and suites. With 50 nights you’ll get 5 confirmed suite night awards and with 75 nights you’ll get another 5 confirmed suite night awards.
  • They will no longer offer Platinum with 25 stays as Starwood currently does, but that’s no surprise after Hyatt killed that method of getting top tier status.
  • Members will earn more points for hotel stays in this program than they did before. All members will earn 10 points per US$1 spent on eligible hotel charges (5 points per eligible US$1 at Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites hotels). Elites will earn between 11 and 17.5 points per dollar spent.
  • Platinum point amenities will shrink from 250-500 Starpoints (Equal to 750-1,500 Marriott points) to 500-1,000 Marriott points (Equal to 167-333 Starpoints). That’s a negative, but it’s not as bad as Hyatt which killed their point amenities last year.
  • Elites will even get their benefits if they don’t book directly with the new Marriott program.
  • Airline transfers will be safe with the new program. Points will transfer to 45 airlines at a 3:1 ratio and you’ll get a 15K Marriott point bonus for transferring in increments of 60K points. In other words, 20K Starpoints will continue to transfer into 25K airline miles, except in this case it will be 60K Marriott points transferring into 25K airline miles. That’s more airlines than Starwood or Marriott currently has and the excellent ratio remains unchanged.
  • United will be the preferred airline partner, as Delta Crossover will be killed on 7/15.
  • The lucrative travel packages are sticking around in the new program, but I’d take advantage of those sooner rather than later, as they’re likely to be devalued.
  • The new award chart looks perfect for Starwood loyalists. Hotel award costs should come down nicely.
  • The new credit card benefits look awesome. Free anniversary nights and the ability to earn Platinum status from spending are great.

The fact that Marriott got everything right makes the news that the Starwood AMEX cards will only earn Marriott 2 points per dollar (which is equal to just 0.67 Starpoints per dollar) starting in August all the more heartbreaking. That’s down from the current 3 Marriott points/1 Starpoint per dollar spent. I love that Marriott isn’t devaluing my existing Starpoints and I’d love to fully invest in the new program, but the earn rate for everyday spending it simply too low. A 33% devaluation in the amount of points earned per dollar spent is just too much to accept. Without the ability to earn Starpoints from credit card spending I’ll be focusing more on other more lucrative cards and programs.

What’s bizarre about this is that while airlines have moved to awarding fewer miles for flights and more for credit card spending, this merged program will be doing the opposite. It will award Starwood loyalists more for their hotel stays and less for their credit card spending. That’s likely an effect of Marriott charging AMEX more for their points, but it may result in lower revenue from credit card spending due to people changing their spending habits.

How will the new Marriott program change your hotel stays and credit card spending?

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96 Comments On "Marriott Got Almost Everything Perfect, But The Starwood AMEX Cuts Are Just Too Painful"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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Point Made

The FREE rewards night on the consumer card is worth it alone for the AF!

Overall, between the pros and cons, I’m happy with it.

Mike

If I get platinum status with 25 stays before 8/1 will I be safe through 2019?

Ja

@Dan what will you replace your SPG card spending with?

farmbochur

Currently spend ~$100k/yr on 2 SPG business cards and 1 consumer card.

Sadly, I’ll be relegating those cards to the sock drawer and dusting off my freedom unlimited come 8/1.

Ryan

With that much spend, would the earned elite status be worth it? And considering the amount of AF you are paying for three cards, you would actually be coming out ahead getting the Luxury card and paying the $450 AF but with $300 credit at Marriott hotels annually and the free annual night, you would seem to come out ahead, especially if you just spend $75K to get platinum elite. Just a thought.

Gavriel

Will AMEX let you downgrade the SPG card to a different card now that they are changing the program?

Dovy2

How much spend needed for plat status?

Yossi

I am working on my 10th year of starwood platinum to qualify for lifetime benefits. Any idea if I need to qualify before 8/1 or if they will will honor qualifying for lifetime platinum after that date? Also, which new tier will be for lifetime Starwood members? Thanks for the insight!

HSS

Did they discuss matching lifetime earned benefits like spg has currently?

leizer

Will the SPG sight still be functional? Are you basically saying that the Regular SPG spend will be only worth .6 points? That is a little insane.

bigissy

So is it worth holding on to spg points or using/selling them before they merge programs? Also if on has $50k in bills coming up which cc’s do you recommend?

me

All I wish is the annual free night on the current Chase cards will grandfather into “category-5” instead of “25k points”.

Nati

Hey Dan. First thanks for everything!!
Now my question is a little off topic.
I’ve got tickets to Maui Hawaii through one of the deals recently(thank you for that as well) for my wife and me for November time for 7 nights.
New I have a nice amount of starpoints and I was planning on doing nights +miles.
My question is what hotel you recommend and what miles should I take? I have no plans for a trip anytime soon. Maybe there is a way to sale the miles? If yes what is the most valuable?
Thanks

Uk

So essentially the Chase Quadfecta becomes really the best, possibly only, program to focus on, as aside from the standard xfer UR partners you will also have 40 airline programs that you can xfer at 1:1.25, which means 1.875 miles for CF+, 6.25 for CI+/CIC etc..

Jeremy

I don’t follow your math at all. If you use CFU, you’d get 1.5x. Chase transfers to Marriott at 1:1. This means you need $40,000 spent on the FCU to get 25k miles. I fail to see how that’s a good deal. This only becomes good if you are using a 5x card like Ink Cash/Bold/Plus. Then you are looking at $12,000 spend for 25k miles. That’s not bad, but you could have had 60k BA /SQ/UA miles.

Fw

Hi, thank you for your post. Does this mean that the points for $$$$ will be devalued?

Cashman

For ambassador status. Does the 20k spend need to be at their properties?

Albert

So if I’m a Marriott Gold Member thru Amex Platinum, will that translate to Gold in the new system? I also have the SPG personal AND business card. Should I cancel one since no more duplicate night benefits? I mostly use the card now for restaurants so I do like the 4 pts on the business card perk.

Albert

I love the lounge access at Marriott with Gold and Sheraton with my business card. What will be the new policy on club/lounge access?

Menachem

What’s the story with the chase Marriott cards any changes? Dos it pay to apply now or wait?

Lee

If the SPG Amex spend is devalued by 33% then the airline transfers aren’t the same. No one will spend 30k SPG to now get 25k airline miles.

Dov

Dan, Ive been using the Amex Starwood card and love the Amex benefits that come along with it such as return protection and buyer protection. Which chase card has similar benefits?

chaz

look dan, based on your previous posts we have been bracing for this for a while now.and just as you always say, it was nice while it lasted.good bye spg, and welcome back chase.

Jb

For those that don’t use spg for everyday spending, and pretty much only use it when staying at spg properties (like myself), I think we come out ahead as the bonus per dollar spent at the hotel will be higher. Plus a free night each year.

dave

You wrote that a 60k point transfer will net you 20k airline miles plus a 15k marriot point bonus, so essentially 45k marriot points (15k spg) will become 20k miles that’s a 33% bonus instead of he old 25% bonus please clarify if im missing something.

Bobby

Dan,
You mention you think the vacation packages will be devalued in the future. Since the new program will only go to category 8 what do you think they will do if I have a bunch of vouchers that are category 1-8 now? I have 3 but am thinking about doing many more and hoping they will be good at any property after August 1st. Do you think that will happen?

Dans Deals Fan

Any details on what events such as meetings and weddings will earn? Currently Marriott gives 3 points per dollar plus 10 nights credit. Is that changing?

Sam

Airline transfers are getting better for current points. Currently 320 Starpoints= 400 airline points. Later 320 Starpoints = 960 Marriott points = 320 airline points +240 Marriott points, which = 80 airline points + 60 Marriott points, which = 20 airline points + 15 Marriott points. Total: 320 Starpoints = 420 airline points +15 Marriott points. (Or 425 airline points) [Add k to all numbers.]

Forbin

Damn. Just paid my SPG Amex annual fee 2 weeks ago. Should I go back at them asking for a better retention bonus? (I did just get 3,000 pts out of them). Thoughts? Was not a heavy spender with the card this last year.

J

They totally screwed up with the 33% discount for points earned through Starwood AMEX spend. The 25% transfer bonus was always a great feature – a reason to use Starwood AMEX over other cards. But with this devaluation, not even the transfer bonus can make up for the points I’ve “lost” (or now will never gain) through credit card spend. There’s no way to put points earned through daily spend in parity with Chase ultimate rewards. Very frustrating!

dave

If I transfer 60k marriot into 20k airline miles their gonna put 15 back in my account so just the fact that i only need to actually use 15 spg instead of 20 to get the bonus is a big change if say I only need 20k miles

mr k

hi is there any way to get spg or Marriott platinum status with spending on any card ?

JB

I read on other blogs beginning in august for 1 year, all gold spg and marriott will be upgraded for a full year to plat. status..pretty cool!

tony c

@dan

did the new cost per night go down to lessen the hit on the amex earn?

Al

You keep touting the free night as a reason for keeping the SPG card. However, the current Marriott free night is pretty lame. So what leads you to think that the free night under the merged program will be any better?

fjdo

Wha’s if I only use my SPG Amex for Starwood hotels (and use other cards for airline transfers)? Is anything switching in terms of Starwood hotels???

Meir

Does anyone know if you earn Platinum this year, will it carry over for 2019. I always get Platinum with 25 stays, the 50 nights will be difficult for me.

Former SPG Amex User

I think an annual fee partial refund would be appropriate for SPG Amex holders at this point given that this is such a materially negative change to the program.

DR

@Dan – two of my Amex SPG cards have AF dropping now, will they give me a free anniversary night for this year with the AF, or only NEXT year. So, I would have to pay the AF and get no anniversary night??

Also, will the basic Marriott card that exists today give me 15 nights next year? If so, they I would keep that card when its AF comes up again next year.

runnergirl

I have a few Ritz Carlton cat 3, 7nt packages. should I worry about a devaluation and use them asap?

Saul

Will Marriott/SPG nights already stayed in 2018 be added together for status upgrade in 2019? I have nights in both accounts which when added together would put me in Platinum Ambassador status

sholey klein

will the SPG 10 suite night certs be usable at a Marriott property after August?

M

Dan. Why do you say my existing SPG points aren’t going to lose value? If I have 100,000 points now which cost me $100,000 of credit card spend (or SPG hotel spend) to get, they will convert into 300,000 new points. In order to get 300,000 new points, I would need to spend only $30,000 at hotels. So my points that I spent $100,000 for are becoming points worth only $30,000?

Mark A

You are correct. After the 1 to 3 transfer, and corresponding requirement for 60,000 points to earn 25,000 miles, future non-hotel spending will only earn 2 points per dollar, not the 3 points that would be equivalent to the new points to airline miles conversion requirements. Therefore, current spending requirement of $20,000 to earn a 25,000 miles will be replaced by post-transfer spending requirements of $30,000 to earn 25,000 miles. Combined with the continued devaluation of frequent flyer miles on most airlines, this change removes a major reason for keeping the using the Starwood American Express card for general purchasing, or even keeping it.

Jeff

Does 25 stays at SPG hotels in 2018 give marriott plat for 2019? Or only have until August 2018?

Michael

I will stop using my Amex and never do business with Marriott. They triple the amount of points I had accumulated and raise the points on hotels over 5x. My account lost forty percent overnight. Not happy!

Dani

This is a complete screw job and misleading marketing. The dilution of points by one-third make keeping the card and paying the annual fee not worthwhile. Is there still a get fifth night free when you book four nights with points? It will take forever now!

Stephe.

So is it now worth it to transfer Amex points over instead of putting spend on spg?
Whats best way to accumulate marriot points (to utilize transfer partners)?
What’s the ratio of points?
AF coming up. What do you recommend I do? Downgrade?

Rbjmsol

After using my Starwood American Express card for 12 years I am changing to a chase card.

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