- Live Blog: Follow The Marriott-Starwood Program Merger Announcement!
- 3 Starwood AMEX Cards In The New Marriott Program: A Comparison Chart Of The Good, The Bad, And The Horrific
- Comparison Chart: How Marriott’s August 2018 And February 2019 Award Chart Compares With The Current SPG And Marriott Award Charts
- 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?