What’s new with the Marriott Rewards program?
Members can enjoy a unified set of benefits and new point transfer options
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Since the Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Ritz Carlton loyalty programs officially unified on Aug. 18, 2018, several changes have gone into effect. If you’re a loyalist, you may be wondering how exactly this affects you. For example, with the consolidated set of benefits, do you need to combine your Marriott, SPG and Ritz-Carlton accounts? Or, with the updated awards night chart, should you redeem your Marriott rewards now, or wait until more changes come in early 2019?
Read on for a closer look at what to expect from the program changes.
Program updates at a glance:
One unified set of benefits – Members can combine their Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) accounts into a single account.
Starwood points are now referred to simply as “points,” and each existing Starpoint in your SPG loyalty account has been converted to three points. So, for example, if you previously had 1,000 Starpoints in your account, they were converted to 3,000 points in August.
Larger hotel network – Members can book stays and earn or redeem points at 29 participating global brands, including 6,700 hotels in 127 countries and territories worldwide. Stays can be booked across the entire portfolio on Marriott.com, SPG.com, the Marriott and SPG apps and by contacting customer engagement centers.
Additionally, Moments have been expanded to more than 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations.
Achieve Elite status faster – When you combine your Marriott, SPG and Ritz-Carlton accounts, all of your hotel stays across the 29 brands – dating back to Jan. 1, 2018 – will count toward the new Elite status levels.
More ways to earn – Members can now earn points on hotel incidentals, such as spa services and dining, across all 29 brands.
Transfer Marriott points at a high ratio – Also, members can transfer Marriott points to more than 40 airlines at a ratio of three points to 1 mile, and will receive an extra 15,000 points for every 60,000 points they transfer.
Easier to redeem points – There are no blackout dates for rooms booked within the portfolio.
New Marriott award chart
Marriott has introduced a new award chart for free nights. The updated standard redemption rates for hotel categories 1 through 7 went live on Aug. 18, 2018, and peak, off-peak and category 8 redemption rates will go into effect in early 2019.
Free night award chart
In the meantime, category 8 hotels will temporarily be placed in category 7 – meaning, you can book a category 8 hotel at the same redemption rate as a category 7 hotel from Aug. 18 until early 2019.
For example, if you book a room at Le Meridien Bora Bora (which will be classified as a category 8 hotel in 2019) between Aug. 18, 2018 and early 2019, you can redeem your free award night for 60,000 points instead of 85,000 points – a savings of 25,000 points. Prior to Aug. 18, the night could be redeemed for 90,000 points.
|Hotel||Previous points required||Points required after Aug. 18, 2018||Points required after 2019||Award category after 2019|
|Le Meridien Bora Bora in French Polynesia||90,000||60,000||85,000||8|
To view a full list of participating properties and free night redemption rates, click here.
When is the best time to redeem your award night?
Overall, with the new awards chart, the majority of properties now offer a lower redemption requirement: Approximately 52 percent have decreased their rates, 32 percent have increased their rates and 17 percent remain the same.
That said, if you’re planning to book a stay at a category 8 hotel, we recommend that you do so between Aug. 18 and early 2019 to take advantage of the category 7 pricing.
Changes to hotel redemption rates (based on 6,866 properties)
|Number of hotels that require less points||Number of hotels with no changes||Number of hotels that require more points|
Keep in mind, though, that these values don’t include peak or off-peak redemption rates – which have not yet been revealed. But based on the upcoming free night award chart, we can estimate that the rates for off-peak nights will be approximately 22 percent lower than standard rates, and peak nights will be approximately 16 percent higher than the standard rate.
Do you need to combine your accounts?
Yes. While “linking” your accounts matches your status among the Marriott, SPG and Ritz-Carlton programs, it is still necessary to log in and “combine” your accounts. This allows you to add all your rewards together and create one single account login profile.
Additionally, all of your hotel stays across the 29 brands – dating back to Jan. 1, 2018 – will count toward the new Elite status levels.
Updated Elite status levels
|Status||Nights required per year|
|Platinum Premier Elite||75-99|
|Platinum Premier Elite||100+ nights and $20,000 annual spend|
|Lifetime Silver Elite||250 Lifetime Nights and 5 years Elite status|
|Lifetime Gold Elite||400 Lifetime Nights and 7 years Gold Elite status or higher|
|Lifetime Platinum Elite||600 Lifetime Nights and 10 years Platinum Elite status|
Combining your accounts
To combine your accounts, log in to your account and complete the following steps. Note, the account that you log in to will be the profile that you keep. For example, if you want to keep your Marriott login, start the process from the Marriott Rewards site.
To ensure you receive the benefits of your updated level, Marriott recommends that you combine your accounts at least three days prior to making your next reservation. If you wait to do so until your hotel stay, you may not have access to Chat, Keyless and other guest services.
More to come
A new program name that encompasses all three loyalty programs will be unveiled in 2019. Until then, the Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest names will continue to be used.
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