Starwood-Marriott Merger FAQs: Answers To Your Questions About Anniversary Nights, Status From Existing Cards, And More

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Readers have been asking some good questions that aren’t clearly addressed by Marriott. There’s a lot to unpack with this merger, but here is some of what I’ve uncovered.

  • Do I need to transfer my Starpoints now for them to be tripled in the new program?
    • No, that will happen automatically on 8/1.
  • When will Starwood AMEX anniversary nights start being awarded? Will both new and existing cardholders get a free night?
    • Both new and existing Starwood AMEX consumer and business cardholders will get a free annual anniversary night valid at hotels that cost up to 35K Marriott points. That’s equal to hotels in the new categories 1 through 5 out of 7 total categories. If your credit card anniversary date is on or after 8/1/18 you will receive your anniversary night within 8-12 weeks of that date. You will receive an email from SPG when your anniversary night e-certificate is issued and you will have one year to use the night from when it is issued. The certificate can’t be extended or traded in for points. If your renewal is before 8/1/18 then you will get your anniversary night starting with your 2019 renewal.
  • Will I still get lounge access with the Starwood Business AMEX in the new program?
    • No. That will end on 7/31.
  • Can you earn more than one anniversary night?
    • You can earn a free night for every card that you have.
  • Can you receive the 15 elite night credits from more than one credit card?
    • No. A Marriott account will only get a 15 night credit, regardless of how many AMEX or Chase Marriott, Starwood, or Ritz credit cards they have.
  • Is it still worth using the Starwood AMEX card?
  • Is it worth keeping the Starwood AMEX card after the earnings devaluation?
    • The anniversary night will be valid for hotel up to 35K points. That covers 5 of the 7 hotel categories. If you use it a category 5 hotel then your $95 annual fee will be a bargain as that would be like buying 35K points at a cost of just 0.27 cents per point. Plus you’ll get free premium in-room WiFi and AMEX Offers that help mitigate the annual fee.
  • I currently get Starwood Gold status from an AMEX Platinum or Starwood card. I matched that to Marriott Gold status. What status will I have in the new program?
    • According to David Flueck, SVP of Global Loyalty for Marriott, status in the new program will be dependent on which program you earned the status from. If you have Starwood Gold status you will only get Gold in the new program. The match from Marriott Gold status to Platinum status in the new program only applies if you have earned Marriott Gold status, not if you got that status from a match from Starwood.
  • I have Gold or Platinum status from my Marriott or Ritz Carlton card. What status will I have in the new program?
    • If you have Gold status you will be Platinum in the new program. If you have Platinum status you will be Platinum Premier in the new program. Neither of those statuses will come with confirmed suite night awards unless you actually stay for 50 or 75 hotel nights.
  • If I want to qualify for lifetime status under the current terms, what is the deadline?
    • You’ll have until 12/31 to reach milestones like 250 nights for lifetime SPG Gold or 500 nights for lifetime SPG Platinum. Those levels will remain Gold and Platinum in the new program. After this year you’ll need 400 nights for Gold or 600 nights for Platinum along with 10 years of status at that level combined from both programs. On the Marriott side, lifetime Gold becomes lifetime Platinum and lifetime Platinum becomes lifetime Platinum Premier. The only way to earn lifetime Platinum Premier is by earning lifetime Marriott Platinum by 12/31/18 with 750 nights and 2 million points earned over the course of your membership. Lifetime will not come with confirmed suite night awards unless you actually stay for 50 or 75 hotel nights that year.
  • With Starwood I can earn elite night credits on up to 3 rooms per night. With Marriott it’s limited to 1 room per night. What will the new policy be?
    • You will only earn elite night credit on 1 room per night.
  • Will SPG all-suite hotels like the S. Regis Bora Bora or W Maldives still have a surcharge over the published award chart?
    • Yes, though the exact surcharge has yet to be determined. Currently those hotels cost double, triple, or quadruple the points required for a category 7 room.
  • Will I be able to transfer points to relatives for free with the new program?
    • Yes.
  • Should I quickly spend my Starpoints on airline transfer or hotel awards?
  • What will happen with my Marriott and Ritz-Carlton free night certificates?
    • They should be usable at SPG hotels starting in August, though the exact details of how the categories will be mapped to the new program’s 7 categories has yet to be determined.
  • When will we find out what category hotels will be placed into?
    • That information should be published in May.

Have more questions? Read through the following posts to find answers or post them as a comment on this post and they may be added to this post.

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77 Comments On "Starwood-Marriott Merger FAQs: Answers To Your Questions About Anniversary Nights, Status From Existing Cards, And More"

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


“If your credit card anniversary date is on or after 8/1/18 you will receive your anniversary night within 8-12 weeks of that date.”
What if my anniversary date is tomorrow?


Do you know if combined SPG points will count towards lifetime status for year end? As they currently don’t.


Any word on whether the Amex SPG Biz card will still allow club lounge access at Starwood (and any other) properties?


Will Miles and Nights be available after August, and if so, I’ll it be a better deal to get them before August?


Has anyone found out about ten elite nights for meetings?


i got my amex spg card on 9/29/15. When will I get my free night? 8-12 weeks after 9/29 ?


How do we know how many years of status we have with Marriott, they win be combined right?


You fail to address what happened if If your credit card anniversary date is on or after 7/31/18


Meant, “on or *before*”


I am currently in the middle of a Marriott platinum challenge – due to finish in the middle of June. Will I be bumped up to Platinum Premier and how long will I keep this status? Any idea?


Doesn’t seem fair to me. AMEX is going to reduce my point earning potential in the middle of my card year, and not give me the free night until next year. I should get my $95 annual fee back. They are unilaterally changing the terms that i signed up for.


Was going to book a stay+air package with marriott points soon using united as the air partner. Looking at a category 8 or 9 redemption with 77K United miles. Should I wait to book this in the August 2018 – January 2019 period you talk about?


Will SPG.COM get shut down after Aug?


hi dan would u reccomend signing up for the amex spg card now or wait to see what they release as card offers for the new program? thanx


I would assume Amex will be required to issue an annual fee refund if someone wants it after the changes are made. I just paid my annual fee last week in which it states the benefits include lounge access. I have platinum status but could still use that as a way for a refund in August.


This is a very valid point. @Dan. I assume a lot of people would appreciate your 2 cents on this.


Is it worth opening a starwood card now?


Can i carryover the annual free nights?


I have two SPG Amex and one Biz Marriott VISA that have added nights and stays to my account, I get the cards do not do that after 8/1 however do all of these combine towards 2018 status qualification?

In other words the cards are not that good for status achievement next year but now looks like if they count them for 2018 then it’s a good thing?

I having a light travel year but highly value platinum so want to have a plan to keep the status.


According to Amex chat rep.
SPG Personal card.
Opened 08-July-2013
New fee will be charged on 08/07/18.

Question – will I get the free night on 8/1/18?




can we transfer points to different people in the same household?
is there a limit per year of points i can transfer to relatives?


I currently have marriott premier with chase. With this change, is it a good idea to get the amex SPG? I would think that after I meet the requirement, I would earn 25000 points which will be converted into 75000 points?


Will the new program have the same free nights availability as SPG? (Meaning, if the hotel is selling a standard room for cash, they must also make that standard room available for points redemption?)


The website says regarding transferring points to airline “The transfer ratio will be 3 points for one mile” which pretty much means 1:1 for spending that you do now? What’s so good about that besides that they have a lot of airline parts a to transfer to?


Any idea how the calculation of the lifetime status will work with the new program? Say I had 300 nights/5 years Gold with Marriott and 250/4 years Plat with SPG (not from matching between SPG/Marriott in the past 2 years).. Would that be combined into 550 nights/9 years and I would only require 50 nights & another night for lifetime Platinum under the new program?


I don’t get it. If I wait till august I’ll get ~200$ and a free night in a 35k mariott points (12k starpoints) hotel. But if I sign up now ill get 25k starwood points. Isnt the 200$ + 12k starpoints better than 25k starpoints. That’s like selling 13k starpoints for 200$…that’s around the market value.


For those of us who have over 75 nights at a Marriott this year, will we receive (2) sets of the Suite Upgrade vouchers (or whatever they’ll be called)? Meaning, do we get (10) suite upgrades for the year?


Mr. Jundeff

Having Platinum Elite Status what status will I get on United?
Thanks Dan for giving us such a clear post on everything we need to know about the merger


I have SPG points awarded to me by virtue of an SPG vacation ownership purchase (time share). The points were restricted to the SPG portfolio when the Marriott merger occurred and the points had a six year shelf life from grant date. Any idea whether the restrictions and expiration will somehow either remain or be waived?


Anyone knows the answer


Will the rule of only 1 room counting per stay change on 8/1 on at the end of 2018?


Will the rule of only 1 room counting per stay change on 8/1 or at the end of 2018?


I would also like to know the answer to this


I have a reservation at a Marriott Vacation Club hotel in August. I planned on using points transferred from SPG. I haven’t transferred the points yet but reservation is still held as a points reservation. Currently it says I need 40k per night (30k for eCertificate plus 10k for upgrade certificate). Will I need more/less points on 8/1? or since my reservation is booked it will stay at this rate?


Dan, I have a question? I have 7 night category 8 hotel voucher. I planned to use this at Marriott Kaui(now it’s category 8). Can I use this voucher at Riz Carlton after August first?
Do you have more information about air+nights packages?


I have read quite a few articles regarding the new rules and conversions, but haven’t seen much regarding this topic…
I am currently a Marriott gold by way of United premier gold. Will I obtain Platinum in the new Marriott program? Thanks!


Dan Currently if you transfer starpoints to Marriott it’s a 3:1 transfer ratio if I wait until 8/1 my starpoints will be trippled can I still transfer my starpoints to Marriott for 3:1? After the switch essentially getting myself 6:1?


Hi Dan,
My SPG American Express credit card anniversary date is 8/26/17. I plan to close my account after that date, but soon enough that I won’t have to pay the annual fee. But if I close it before my anniversary night posts to my account (ie, less than 8-12 weeks after 8/26/18), will I still get an anniversary night posted to my account? To be clear, my intention is to have the credit card open on the anniversary, but not 8-12 weeks after the anniversary.


should I transfer my Starwood points to Marriott before the merge- because I heard that after the merge it will only be 2 points per each spg point


Does anyone have clarity regarding qualifying for elite based on stays? They had previously said that stays (vs. nights) would be counted towards elite status for the rest of 2018, however on the new website there is no mention of stays whatsoever. Also if they are counting stays is that at all combined properties or just at old SPG affiliated properties?

Ronald H. Mahaffey, Jr.

Currently I have a awards card that (has my number on it) I use for check-ins etc at hotels. Since we have now merged with Marriott will we receive one card that is usable at either Starwood or Marriott?