Can You Now Earn Marriott Elite Nights At Starwood Hotels (And Vice Versa)?

As most of you probably know by now, the merger between Marriott and Starwood closed early this morning, and it’s already possible to status match and transfer points between Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

marriott-merger

I commend Marriott and Starwood for the speed at which they’re moving, as I don’t remember any other merger of this size where customers had instant reciprocal benefits from day one.

The goal is to eventually merge all three loyalty programs into one. However, this likely won’t happen until 2018 at the earliest, so for the rest of this year and all of next year, these programs will be run independently.

What does this mean in practice?

We don’t know what the new program will look like

In 2018 (or whenever a new program is formed), we won’t simply see Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards folded into Marriott Rewards, but instead they’ll be creating a new program altogether. At least that’s how executives of both programs are explaining it.

Of course it’s possible that the new program looks similar to one of the current ones, but we don’t know that yet. For that matter, I doubt the program executives know yet either, as their focus up until now has been on rolling out the functionality that went live today.

You’ll still have to qualify for status independently

The good news is that if you’re Starwood Platinum you’re matched to Marriott Platinum, and vice versa. However, keep in mind that:

  • You’re not earning Starwood elite stay & night credits for Marriott stays, and vice versa.
  • You’ll still have to qualify for status with the programs individually, but can then status match. In other words, you still need to qualify for Starwood Platinum with 25 stays or 50 nights, or qualify for Marriott Platinum with 75 nights (you can’t “transfer” elite qualifying stays and nights between programs). Spending 60 nights with Marriott and 40 nights with Starwood (spread across fewer than 25 stays) wouldn’t get you Platinum status in either program.

We might see more reciprocal benefits soon

The above is what we’ve officially been told. Programs won’t merge until 2018 at the earliest, and while you can status match, you still need to qualify for status in an individual program based on elite qualifying nights with those respective brands.

That being said, I think we may see further reciprocal benefits and more changes before 2018. I suspect they’re trying to under promise and over deliver. Here’s what I’d speculate:

  • I suspect eventually Starwood status will be recognized at Marriott properties, and vice versa, so you can start to earn elite qualifying nights and points in your preferred program without even having to status match
  • Over time we might also see a change in partnerships and benefits of each program prior to a unified program launching; this would make the transition easier

Bottom line

There are still a lot of unknowns. While you’ll continue to be able to status match, as of now I’d count on having to qualify for status exclusively with Marriott or exclusively with Starwood through the end of next year. In practice I suspect true reciprocal recognition will be rolled out before then, though that’s just speculation on my part.

The Marriott Rewards & SPG teams have a lot of work ahead, and I think it goes without saying that they want to roll out these benefits as quickly and smoothly as possible. Now they just have to figure out what that looks like in practice.

For more coverage on the Marriott/SPG merger see:

Official: Marriott & Starwood Introducing Reciprocal Benefits As Of Today Are Marriott Elite Members Getting The Short End Of The Stick?
How To Link Your Marriott And Starwood Accounts What Can Newly Minted Marriott Platinum Members Expect?
7 New Opportunities Thanks To Marriott & Starwood Account Linking Should You Link Your Starwood Account To Marriott Or Ritz-Carlton?
Can You Now Earn Marriott Elite Nights At Starwood Hotels (And Vice Versa)?

Comments

  1. Just got approved for Ritz using your link! Thanks again for the great blog content.

    Now I have to figure out how I can maximize my status !!

  2. Any idea on how long the status match to SPG will last? I matched my Marriott Platinum to SPG Platinum just now, but I will only requalify for Marriott Gold next year.

    Will my SPG stay platinum through all of 2017?

  3. This development couldn’t come at a better time for me. I was Starwood Gold but only Marriott Silver and I have two Marriott stays coming up. Thanks to status match, I now get lounge access and free breakfast for my Marriott stays. Yay!

  4. Another problem I haven’t seen discussed is with owners of the old SPG (Westin and Sheraton) timeshares. These were spun off into Vistana at the time of the merger announcement. Currently I am lifetime Gold SPG because of my SPG timeshare.

    Lifetime SPG Platinum is currently also available through this route.

    I wonder how this will play out. I suspect they will have to keep something similar as they are just opening a new resort (Nanea) on Maui for sales.

  5. If I status match now from SPG Gold to Marriott Gold and become an SPG Plat before the end of the year, would my Marriott status be upgraded accordingly as well? Or is this a one-time only match?

  6. my spg gold expires next year (not sure what month) . So does this mean my Marriott gold will expire the same time as spg gold?

  7. Hi everyone! What should my plan be going forward?

    I have both SPG BUS/PER cards. I have both Marriott BUS/PER cards. I don’t have the Ritz-Carlton.
    I am currently SPG Platinum and with 7 more stays, I’ll just renew my SPG Platinum status for 2017.

    To ‘maintain’ Plat status for 2018 should I,

    1) continue doing single ‘stays’ at SPG. Moving every night is a pain in the butt but with the 4 ‘stays’ I get through the credit cards and 21 stays I earn, I just barely make Plat status for the next year.

    2) shift all my ‘nights’ in 2017 to Marriotts? With the 30 ‘nights’ credits I’ll get with the 2 credit cards I’ll need 45 more nights to hit the 75 night threshold. The plus here is I can stay put and wont aggravate my wife by having to move hotels every night. If I don’t quite make the 45 night, every $3K I spend on my card I’ll get a night credit.

    3) Get the Ritz-Carlton card and ‘buy’ Plat status with $75,000 spend,,every year.

    Thoughts?

  8. Does this mean for us Canadians that if we apply for the SPG Credit card (20,000 SPG Points for a $120 annual fee -NOT waived the first year) that we can turn around and transfer these points to Marriott Reward points? Meaning we would only be paying $120 CDN for 60,000 Marriott Reward Points??

  9. I am Platinum on both SPG and Marriott Reward… I don’t see any additional benefit for me from the merger…

  10. I’m lifetime spg gold. Does that translate to Marriott gold for life? I ask because the requirements for spg gold closely match the Marriott silver for life qualifications.

  11. With the AMEX Platinum I receive automatic Gold status at SPG, which transfers to Gold status at Marriott. If I were to open the Marriott credit card which currently has the 15 night bonus towards elite level status, would that mean that I only need 10 stays to reach Platinum status at Marriott?

    Math: Gold from status match SPG to Marriott – 50 nights. 15 nights through Marriott branded credit card equals 65 nights. 75 to Platinum. Meaning I’d only need 10 nights in a Marriott for Platinum.

  12. @ Samuel Kaplan — Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. When you’re given Gold status you still have zero elite qualifying nights, but you’re just comped the status. You would get 15 elite qualifying nights with the Marriott card, so you’d need 60 more nights to Platinum.

  13. @Samuel

    You get the status but not the nights. If you want to get Marriott Platinum, you’re better off spending on the Ritz Carlton card.

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