There is always a silver lining, sometimes you just have to look really hard. Being that SPG points are the most revered in the ‘miles world’, any hint of devaluation or elimination scares us to the bone. Fortunately, Marriott has stated they won’t combine the two loyalty programs until early 2018. Don’t hold your breathe.
Early this morning, Starwood (SPG) and Marriott did the deed. They are now a joint company and that means our points earning and spending will inevitably change, one day. Marriott has announced the reciprocity we will receive by merging our two loyalty accounts.
“I have Elite status in one program but am not a member in the other. Can I still get a Status Match?”
Yes you can! But you need to join both programs. You can enroll as part of the Account Linking process. Sign up for an account in the program you don’t have, link your accounts, and voila: You’ll have Elite status in both!
I am a Starwood Gold member and a Marriott/Ritz Silver member. I linked my SPG account and then proceed to match to Marriott/Ritz Gold. It only took 60 seconds of my time. I like Marriott Gold status as it gives you a good shot at room upgrades and two free breakfast vouchers at select properties (like Renaissance hotels). You receive the free breakfast and upgrades even if you pay with points, how cool is that?
Most things are going to stay the same for the time being. They have laid out a huge list of FAQ’s to ease your questions and concerns.
“Does linking my accounts merge them into one account?”
No. For now your accounts are still separate: one for Rewards (Marriott), one for SPG (Starwood). Linking creates a connection between them to allow for Status Matching and Points Transfer.
Another nice benefit is the ability to point transfer between the two programs. The conversion rate is 3:1 or 1:3 depending on the direction. Remember earlier my mention of how valuable SPG points are, well Marriott thinks that are worth 3x as much. Transfer 1,000 SPG to Marriott and you will receive 3,000 Reward points. Flip the math if you transfer from Marriott Rewards to SPG.
Remember that you can transfer Membership Reward points (Amex) to SPG and you can transfer Ultimate Reward points (Chase) to Marriott if you need a few more.