We’re already Platinum with Marriott and SPG. Now what?!
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Marriott and SPG mergers, so I don’t think we need a full rehash of what’s been going on, but instead I’ll recap briefly.
Back in April the shareholders of the two companies approved the merger and the questions started flowing in. What would happen to my points? Would hotel brands be cancelled? Would I lose my status? What about free breakfast? Hey, us Platinum members have our priorities straight, don’t we!
We’ve had lifetime status with Marriott at the Platinum level for about a year now, as back in 2006-2009 I used to be a meeting planner and book a boatload of rooms and earn a ton of points. Because of this, I didn’t feel the need for us to keep crediting points to the program, so we started looking for a new home.
Last year we went full speed ahead with SPG, as it seemed to me to be the best option for us. The points were flexible, and hotels were phenomenal, and the redemption options seemed to fit for our travel schedule. We also looked at Hyatt (not enough locations) and Hilton (usually too expensive) so SPG worked out well.
We got to Platinum status quickly, thanks to their 25 stays/50 nights rule. Since most of our trips were with one-night hotel stays, it made the path to SPG platinum easy. Marriott, as a point of contrast, requires 75 nights to hit their platinum status.
Just this week, Marriott created the ability to “link your accounts” and share the benefits between accounts. Statuses will match across both brands so if you were a Platinum with one, you’re now a Platinum with the other. If you were a Gold in one, and no status in the other, now you can have Gold status in both. In theory, it’s a pretty nice deal.
One of the best benefits in my opinion however is the ability to transfer points between the two accounts. Three Marriott points turn into 1 Starwood point, BUT even better, 1 Starwood point becomes three Marriott.
Whereas Top Category 7 hotels with SPG can go for 35000 points (thus requiring 105,000 Marriott points) Top Category 9 hotels with Marriott only require 45000 points (and in turn requiring only 15000 SPG points). To me, this is a HUGE advantage.
So I called into the Marriott line to ask about what benefits I would earn or lose by merging accounts. Since SPG accounts have three levels of Platinum (regular, 75, and 100 nights) I wanted to make sure that by merging my accounts I wouldn’t be downgraded on the SPG side.
Her answer? “Call SPG and ask, this is all so new…”
So I called SPG. Their answer? “Call Marriott and ask, this is all so new…”
So finally I got the third Marriott agent on the line and she informed me that since I was platinum with both, I wouldn’t see any changes or matching upgrades/downgrades, but she thanked me profusely for my loyalty. I asked if the nights would count for both, in other words, would my 25 nights at Marriott also count for Status at Starwood. The short answer was no, that as of now the nights won’t be double counting, but stay tuned since… you guessed it… “this is all so new…”
The bottom line is that the merger seems to be of added benefit for those who don’t have status in one chain and do in the other. I’ve got to admit that I’m a bit worried about some of the upgrades and benefits at SPG hotels, since now you have a ton more Platinum members, but I suppose that was inevitable anyway.
I’m looking forward to the chance to share points across the programs and see where things go, so we’ll keep you updated as to any changes that we see coming through with the merger.