For months, Marriott has been keeping us guessing on when the Marriott Rewards & Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program would combine, and recently released their new award chart. Early this morning, India Time, we finally got word on the date when the new Marriott International loyalty program goes live. The yet-to-be-named Marriott Starwood program kicks in starting August 18, 2018, with Marriott already having revealed details on key changes that’ll come into effect.
One account or two?
On August 18, your existing SPG membership number would no longer be valid. If you haven’t linked your SPG account with your Marriott Rewards account yet, you’ll be assigned a new 9-digit number when logging into your SPG account using the existing password (keep those pop-up blockers off!). Some Marriott Rewards members may also get a new number. Starpoints too will be converted into the new currency as per the 3:1 ratio. For instance, if you had 10,000 Starpoints lying around in an account, the account will reflect a balance of 30,000 points from the 18th.
Marriott will not automatically merge any accounts. Marriott will enable you to combine your SPG and Marriott Rewards accounts into one. If you choose not to, the result would be two accounts of the new loyalty program.
The website and the app
As the merged program is migrated, Marriott has notified that their Marriott Rewards website and mobile apps would be down on August 18, 2018, and they expect it to be back online later in the day. The SPG app, on the other hand, will receive a full update reflecting the new unified system with access to all 6500+ hotels under Marriott’s umbrella.
Elite status qualifications
The new program’s unified elite status too comes into effect on this date with the following revised requirements.
For existing members of both the programs, one’s status would be based on combined Marriott Rewards and SPG nights which should help many members qualify into higher tiers. Also, if one has achieved elite status in both the programs in a single year, it would count as two years towards lifetime status. Lifetime activity across the two programs would be considered for the Lifetime Elite status of the new program.
The old redemption rates will be valid till August 18 after which the new redemption rates would apply as per the recent re-categorisation. If you plan on redeeming your Marriott Rewards points before the 18th, check out our top 10 Indian picks before they get expensive as a redemption.
Marriott’s announcement finally puts to rest the anxiety about when will this ever-lingering saga come to an end. We now know the date is August 18, 2018. Marriott has largely not dropped the ball on this so far, and has been systematic from day one about how to facilitate the merger for their members. We hope that two years has been enough time for them to beef up their IT systems to close this merger of user data and loyalty programs in a largely uneventful manner.
Do you plan on link your SPG and Marriott Rewards account now or after the 18th? What is on your wishlist with this merger finally happening?