Marriott to launch a new loyalty program
With major changes coming, should you redeem your Marriott rewards now?
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Now that we know the Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Ritz Carlton loyalty programs will be unified on Aug. 18, 2018 and that new redemption rates will go into effect on that date, you may be wondering if you should redeem your Marriott rewards now – or if you should wait. Ultimately, we think it comes down to when you plan to travel and what type of hotel you want to book.
New Marriott award chart
Marriott is introducing a new award chart for free nights – with updated standard redemption rates for hotel categories 1 through 7 going live on Aug. 18, 2018 and peak, off-peak and category 8 redemption rates going into effect in early 2019.
Free night award chart
During that time, 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 can be redeemed for 90,000 points.
|Hotel||Current 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 upcoming free night redemption rates, click here.
When is the best time to redeem your award night?
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. But if you’re planning a stay at a category 1 through 7 property, you should check the awards chart to see if you will receive a lower rate before or after Aug. 18.
That said, the majority of properties will offer a lower redemption requirement when the new awards chart launches: Approximately 52 percent of properties will decrease their rate, 32 percent will increase their rate and 17 percent will remain the same.
Changes to hotel redemption rates (based on 6,866 properties)
|Number of hotels that will require less points||Number of hotels with no changes||Number of hotels that will 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.
What else can you expect?
Starting Aug. 18, 2018, you can also expect the following program changes:
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 will be referred to simply as “points,” and each existing Starpoint in your SPG loyalty account will be converted to 3 points. So, for example, if you have 1,000 Starpoints in your account, they will be converted to 3,000 points.
Larger hotel network – Members can book stays and earn or redeem points at 29 participating global brands, including 6,500 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 a customer engagement centers.
Additionally, Moments will be expanded to more than 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations.
More ways to earn – Members will be able to earn points on hotel incidentals, such as spa services and dining, across all 29 brands.
Transfer Marriott points at a high ratio – Also, members will be able to transfer Marriott points to more than 40 airlines at a ratio of 3 points to 1 mile, and will receive an extra 15,000 points for every 60,000 points they transfer.
Easier to redeem points – There will be no blackout dates for rooms booked within the portfolio.
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.
|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|
The updated tiers will allow Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members to reach elite levels more quickly, which will more closely match the SPG Rewards program’s current offer.
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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