Last week was a busy one in the points world thanks to the Marriott-Starwood merger info released on Monday.
I’m not going to rehash all of it, if you missed our coverage of it, you can read all about it here:
- 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
- Marriott Got Almost Everything Perfect, But The Starwood AMEX Cuts Are Just Too Painful
- Rack Up The Starpoints While You Still Can: There Will Be 6 Months Of Amazing Starwood Hotel Bargains!
- No Marriott, The Starwood AMEX Card Will Not Be Richer Than Ever. You Are Just Changing What I’ll Use It For
- Starwood-Marriott Merger FAQs: Answers To Your Questions About Anniversary Nights, Status From Existing Cards, And More
- The Starwood Consumer AMEX And Multiple Chase Marriott Cards Are Being Discontinued! Here’s What You Need To Know About 9 Starwood And Marriott Cards
- Will The Starwood Cards Disappear Or Lose Their Starpoints Signup Bonuses Today? Now Is The Time To Signup If You Don’t Have These Cards Yet!
- AMEX: 3 Starwood Cards Will Be Available For New Applications After The SPG-Marriott Program Merger In August
- Guesstimating Where Marriott Travel Packages Will Work In August; Take Advantage Of Marriott’s Lucrative Miles+Nights Packages Now!
Here are 3 critical items that Marriott has provided contradictory information about:
1. Will Starwood Gold members with matched Marriott Gold become Platinum elite in August?
There are currently 2 cards that give Starwood Gold status with no spending required:
Currently, Starwood Gold members are able to match their status to Marriott to earn Gold status.
Marriott’s merger page says that Starwood Gold elites will remain Gold in August with the launch of the new program.
It also says that Marriott Gold elites will become Platinum in August with the launch of the new program.
So where does that leave Starwood Gold elites who matched to Marriott Gold?
Platinum status in the new program normally requires 50 nights and comes benefits like suite upgrades, a 1,000 points amenity or breakfast, lounge access, 4pm late checkout, 15 points per dollar spent, premium WiFi, and more.
Gold status in the new program normally requires 25 nights and comes benefits like 2pm late checkout, 12.5 points per dollar spent, premium WiFi, and more.
I tried reaching out to Marriott, but they have not responded with an answer to the question.
There are some random answers on Twitter, but I wouldn’t read too much into them:
Current SPG members with Gold Status will remain Gold Elite Status with Marriott Rewards in the new program.
— Marriott Rewards (@MarriottRewards) April 20, 2018
American Express Platinum members will continue to receive Gold Elite status in the new program. Gold status will not include hotel lounge access. Additional information on the card offerings and benefits can be found on https://t.co/gKhlBQ9MdL.
— Marriott Rewards (@MarriottRewards) April 20, 2018
I previously took David Flueck, SVP of Global Loyalty for Marriott, to task for claiming that the Starwood AMEX will become more valuable in August. It will not be more valuable for spending, though it will be valuable to keep in your sock drawer.
David said in a Facebook live interview with TPG that members that earned Marriott Gold will become Platinum, while members that earned SPG Gold and matched to Marriott Gold, will remain Gold.
That seemed straightforward enough, until the Australian Business Traveler had Marriott dig into this topic further and Marriott told them that SPG Golds that match to Marriott Gold will become Platinum members in the new program!
So which one is correct?
Unfortunately, Marriott has refused to provide clarification.
2. Will there be a premium up-charge for Starwood’s all suite hotels?
David Flueck was asked in the same live interview if Marriott would charge extra for Starwood’s all suites hotels. Those include properties like the W Retreat in Koh Samui, the W Maldives, the S. Regis Maldives, the S. Regis Bora Bora, the Le Meridien Bora Bora, and the Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai that can cost anywhere from 40K to 120K Starpoints per night. He answered that Marriott was still determining suite pricing that had previously cost more and will cost more in the new program. He didn’t explicitly say that all-suite hotels will continue to cost extra, but it was certainly implied. David also told other bloggers the same information.
However Bob Behrens, VP of Marriott Rewards, is quoted by Greg as saying that all properties, including Starwood’s all-suite hotels, will be available on the new unified award chart. Greg says that he even followed up and confirmed this information with Bob Behrens via email. That chart’s top price is just 20K Starpoints/60K Marriott points per night for bookings made from August 2018-January 2019.
That would create some insanely generous opportunities and would create a mad rush to book those hotels with points. There already are confirmed bargains coming up, but these would take the cake. Talk about a good reason to build up your Starpoint balance now!
Unfortunately, Marriott has not put out any official statement for the public.
On the one hand, it sure seems hard to believe that Marriott would make these ultra-premium hotels part of their regular award chart and this confirms what David has said multiple times. But on the other hand, I trust that Greg has his information from Bob in writing, so I’m torn here.
Will 20K Starpoints land you in a $2,500/night villa here?
3. Will the Starwood AMEX, Chase Marriott Business cards be discontinued?
On Wednesday I shared the news that the Starpoint signup bonuses would be removed by the end of the day and speculated that the consumer card itself may be pulled altogether.
On Thursday AMEX reached out to me to say that the Starwood AMEX would continue to be offered and that AMEX would offer 3 cards even after the programs are merged in August.
Then, more information came out that the Starwood Consumer AMEX would indeed be killed in 2019. I asked AMEX to confirm or deny that the card would be killed in 2019 and the response was that they “can’t comment or confirm whether any of our card products will be available in perpetuity.”
Given that the Starwood Consumer AMEX will be the only Starwood AMEX with no bonus categories outside of Marriott hotels starting in August, it also makes sense that future development won’t involve this card, though current users will be able to keep using it until they close their card.
My current guess: We had previously heard that AMEX would offer a high-end consumer and business card, while Chase would offer a mass-market and premium consumer card. It does make sense that the Starwood Consumer AMEX will go away at some point. As it’s not going away in August 2018, the next obvious choice would be February 2019, when the programs will get a brand new name that has yet to be announced. Marriwood or Stariott anyone 😉
I’d assume that Chase will follow a similar timeline.
What are your guesses for the unknowns of the merged programs? Sound off in the comments!