In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
As of Friday Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are letting members link accounts, which includes the option to status match and transfer points between programs. Obviously there’s a big learning curve for many members, given that most of us are much more familiar with one program than the other.
However, status matching isn’t limited to just top tier elites, and arguably Starwood Gold members are actually getting the best deal of anyone. Starwood Gold members are being matched to Marriott Gold, which is a significant status upgrade.
Keep in mind that earning Starwood Gold status is super easy. For example, just for having The Platinum Card® from American Express you can receive free SPG Gold status. This now means that the American Express Platinum Card now offers free Marriott Gold status by connection as well.
So let’s talk about what you can expect as a Marriott Gold member:
Basics of Marriott Rewards perks
Let’s start with a very simple rundown of Marriott Rewards benefits by status level:
Let’s talk about the straightforward Marriott Gold perks first, which don’t require further explaining:
- A 25% bonus on base points earned through hotel stays
- Guaranteed room type
- Complimentary premium in-room internet access
Now let’s talk about the perks that aren’t quite as straightforward: breakfast/lounge access, room upgrades, and 4PM late check-out. You’ll notice that a lot of the policies are identical to those for Platinum members.
Marriott Gold breakfast & lounge access perks
Marriott’s breakfast and lounge access benefit is identical for Gold and Platinum members, and it can be confusing.
Marriott Gold members get guaranteed lounge access for themselves and one guest at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Delta Hotels, and Marriott hotels, during normal operations, excluding at resorts. Per the terms, Marriott Gold members don’t receive complimentary breakfast at resorts, though many resorts still offer it.
If there isn’t a lounge at the above hotels, Marriott Gold members get the choice between breakfast in the restaurant or 750 points.
The following hotels are excluded, and instead automatically offer Marriott Gold members 1,000 bonus points:
- Boston Marriott Copley Place
- Boston Marriott Long Wharf
- Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
- JW Marriott Washington, DC
- JW Marriott New Orleans
- JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square
- The Lexington New York City, Autograph Collection
- JW Marriott Essex House, New York City
- New York Marriott Marquis
- Renaissance New York Hotel 57
- Renaissance New York Times Square
- San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina
- The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection
Yes, it’s that complicated. So while Marriott has almost 20 hotel brands, you only get complimentary breakfast as a Gold member at five of them (in fairness, a few of the other brands offer all guests complimentary breakfast).
Don’t expect breakfast at Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, etc., or at any resorts.
Room upgrades for Marriott Gold members?
On paper, Marriott’s room upgrade policy is identical for Gold and Platinum members. Here’s the verbiage for room upgrades:
Complimentary Room Upgrade: Based on room availability at check-in and limited to a Member’s personal guestroom. Upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites. All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis, as determined at the time of check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each hotel. Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.
As you can see, both Gold and Platinum members are entitled to room upgrades based on availability, which could include a suite, at the hotel’s discretion. So you could get a suite upgrade as a Gold member, but you’re not entitled it, since it’s entirely at the hotel’s discretion as to what type of room they want to upgrade you to.
In general you’ll find that many hotels prioritize Platinum upgrades ahead of Gold upgrades, so I wouldn’t expect as many great upgrades as a Gold member as you would as a Platinum member. As always, general elite recognition varies based on the part of the world you’re in. You’re much more likely to get a good upgrade upgrade in Asia than in the US, for example.
Marriott Gold late check-out
In April Marriott Rewards added some new benefits that were inspired by SPG, and among them was late check-out. Here’s the verbiage on Marriott’s late check-out, which is identical for Gold and Platinum members:
Guaranteed Late Checkout: Gold and Platinum members may check out as late as 4 p.m. This benefit is guaranteed at all hotels, except at resort and convention hotels, where it is based upon availability. Marriott Vacation Club is excluded from this benefit.
At first they seemed to be playing games with this, but Marriott has assured me that the intention is that Gold and Platinum members receive guaranteed 4PM check-out at all non-resort properties across all of Marriott’s brands. However, some members report that Marriott is playing some games with this.
On paper, Marriott does very little to differentiate Gold and Platinum status. The three main differences in published benefits between Platinum and Gold are as follows:
- Platinum members get a 50% points bonus, while Gold members get a 25% points bonus
- Platinum members get a 48 hour availability guarantee
- Platinum members get a welcome gift, consisting of either points or a food & beverage amenity
On top of that, the unpublished treatment may differ at times, so Platinum members may get better upgrades than Gold members, etc.
Overall Gold status is a great mid-tier status level, and SPG Gold members are getting a very nice upgrade with this status match.