While it seemed like a regular weekend, 18 August (or 19 August for this part of the world) was probably the day where members have been looking forward or dreading, depending on which side of the fence you were on.
Both Starwood and Marriott reservation engines were down most of the weekend, with SPG pushing out an app refresh. Starwood.com now also points you to a new Marriott site.
What happens now that the merger is complete?
To recap, this is the key phase where the points, benefits, elite tier qualifications, hotel categories are aligned across all three programmes: Marriott Rewards, SPG and Ritz Carlton Rewards.
These are the key changes that you will see:
After the merger is completed, your SPG account will be given a new number the first time you try to log in. Once inside, you will see that your balance have tripled (converted on a rate of 1 SPG point to 3 Marriott Rewards points). People who are familiar with Marriott will also notice that the booking flow and design is similar, except for the colour scheme.
You will be able to merge your SPG and Marriott Rewards account, if you already have both and linked them earlier. More about that later.
Your elite status will be updated under the new combined programme. So if you were formerly SPG Gold, you will now be Gold Elite. SPG Platinum members will be transitioned to Platinum Elite. There’s also a new Platinum Premier Elite status for those who manage to clock 75 nights a year.
If you are formerly a Marriott Rewards member, your profile will also be updated to reflect the new status that you qualify on. For instance, the old Marriott Gold is now the new Platinum Elite. The full list is below:
SPG and Marriott Rewards account are not automatically combined
If you have both a Marriott Rewards account as well as an SPG account, remember that your account is not automatically combined. You will have to trigger it from your account to have them combined, and any new statuses updated.
And yes, even if you have previously linked your account, you will have to manually work the process to combine the accounts.
To start, choose where you want to combine from. Pro tip: if you wish to keep your Marriott Rewards number, start from the Marriott Rewards account page. If you feel a stronger affinity with your new SPG-converted account number, start from the SPG page.
Once you click on ‘Get Started’, you will be prompted for your account credentials for the other account that you wish to combine with. Note that the names on both accounts must match in order to be able to combine them.
The process will then be fairly straightforward – you will be shown your account balance on both accounts and your final profile, which should retain the number that you have chosen.
Once done, a summary will be displayed of what to expect next. When you click ‘Confirm’, you will be shown your new total number of points, as well as number of Lifetime Nights.
So now that my accounts are one, what next?
Now… life goes on. For SPG members, the good ol’ days of earning status by stays are soon to be over. To qualify (for the last time) for status by stays, you can still continue to clock stays at Starwood properties by 31 December 2018 for status through next year. That means if you complete 10 stays or 25 nights, you get Gold Elite. For Platinum Elite, that is 25 stays, or 50 nights.
Note that this can only be achieved at Starwood properties, so all Marriott properties are excluded from the stay-based qualification.
For those chasing lifetime status, the Lifetime Gold and Platinum status will translate correspondingly to Lifetime Gold Elite and Platinum Elite status, with their respective revised benefits. For long-time Starwood fans who manage to clock 750 nights so far, you will get the Lifetime Platinum Status status, as long as you meet the mark before 31 December 2018.
Otherwise, if you are a lowly Gold Elite member like me, just weep and see that status go to waste in 2019, given that I’ll be unlikely to clock 25 nights in a given year.