How Long Are Marriott & Starwood Status Matches Valid For?

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Since last week, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are letting members link accounts, which includes the option to status match and transfer points between programs.

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On paper Starwood Preferred Guest members are doing quite well in this regard, since SPG Gold matches to Marriott Gold, and SPG Platinum matches to Marriott Platinum. Marriott has higher qualification requirements for both of those tiers than Starwood, so I’d say it’s a very fair match. For example, those with The Platinum Card® from American Express receive free SPG Gold status, and now in turn also receive Marriott Gold status, which is great.

While the status match as such is generous, it doesn’t change the fact that the only reason I’d want to stay at most Marriott properties is if there weren’t a Hyatt or Starwood property where I needed to be (in theory Ritz-Carltons are appealing, but full elite benefits don’t apply at those properties).

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Marriott Platinum members don’t get lounge access or breakfast at Ritz-Carlton properties

Anyway, a lot of readers have asked me if there’s any downside to status matching. Typically status matches are a one time thing, so how does it work in the context of Marriott’s takeover of Starwood?

Marriott is hoping to eventually form a single combined loyalty program, though as of now they’re planning on doing so in 2018 at the earliest.

I’ve followed up with Marriott about how the status matches will work in practice, and they’ve confirmed that status matching will remain in place until a unified program is created. They will keep status in sync between programs, always matching to the higher status across the programs. They also confirmed the following with me:

  • Status synching between accounts is automatic after linking
  • If you don’t renew your SPG Platinum status next year, then your matched Marriott Platinum status would also be downgraded accordingly
  • If you upgrade your status from SPG Gold to SPG Platinum, your Marriott status should correspondingly be automatically updated

Keep in mind that you’ll need to qualify for status in each program individually until the programs are unified, at least until now. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year the two programs let you combine your elite qualifying nights total, though that’s only speculation on my part.

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Corner room at the Marriott Astana, which I got upgraded to as a Marriott Platinum member

Bottom line

Marriott sure is making the process of linking accounts, and keeping accounts linked, very simple. Just link once, and your status will stay in sync until a unified program is formed. This isn’t like a usual status match, where your status is only valid for a short amount of time, and then expires.

So there’s no reason to wait to link your accounts — you have nothing to gain.

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Comments

  1. @ghostrider5408 – Lucky wrote in his post “On paper Starwood Preferred Guest members are doing quite well in this regard, since SPG Gold matches to Marriott Gold, and SPG Platinum matches to Marriott Platinum.”

    Not sure what else you’re looking for??

  2. Lucky, I realize you have been a Starwood guy for a long time but there really are a lot of nice properties in the Marriott family, I have stayed in some great JW Marriotts, Renaissance and Autograph Collection properties.
    The Marriott brand itself tends to be fairly cookie cutter but by and large, I think they tend to be in better shape and more recently renovated than the similar Sheraton properties I have stayed in.

    The beauty of this linking of programs is that we all get to try a whole new set of properties, and can choose a property in another program if the location suits us better and be treated in a better style than we would have previously. Keep an open mind and enjoy.

  3. @Eric J I agree fully. I think Lucky will be more than pleasantly surprised by some of the Autograph options around the world. The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver is one of my personal favorites domestically.

  4. Lucky,

    What are your thoughts relative to what Marriott is likely to do with SPG Platinum for Life status?

    Just achieved it a couple of years ago and my heavy travel days are starting to wind down. I was looking forward to enjoying this for another 30 years or so without having to worry about requalifying every year.

    Thanks much,
    Gary

  5. Well, this is a transition (the real “moment” will be when programs will be unified into one… and i think we will really lose a lot of benefits, except gold, because Marriott is very generous with gold and not at all with platinum) and not bad one to burn miles at the ratio 1/3 but i really don’t like marriott properties (and middle management / sales men customers style… sorry).

    As you mention some Ritz Carlton are appealing but few benefits for Plats… so better to stay at St Regis when one or even a good Conrad / Park Hyatt.

    I will no stay at Marriott properties and will only use for some point transfers.

    PS : i will use the suite upgrade for plat with SPG before this removed when fully integrated in Marriott.

  6. Usual crowing about SPG: “Marriott has higher qualification requirements for both of those tiers than Starwood, so I’d say it’s a very fair match.” Really, a fair match when one has higher qualification requirements than the other but they both end up equal?! You mean skewed toward SPG … remember all readers of your blog aren’t SPG apologists.

  7. So it sounds like once you link, if you gain gain/upgrade your status it will automatically flow over to the other program?

  8. If you wait until January 2 to status match Starwood Gold to Marriott, will that give you a full year, even if your Starwood Gold expires in Februay

  9. Another downside for SPG plats: Marriott offers Plat Challenge with 9 nights in 90 days and given the facto you can stay at Moxys etc. for 40 Dollars/Night (e.g. Frankfurt), longtime spg plats will now also compete for suites with cheap mattress runners. SPG plat challenges were never so cheap. And it shows that the recognition as MR plat for SPG plat is far less generous than you thought. The give it away nearly for free anyways…

  10. I will be a few nights short to renew Marriott Gold and this only because I stayed a few nights at SPG hotels…a big mistake because Gold members do not get any benefits at SPG …useless to me and for this escape into SPG I will loose Marriott Gold in 2017 which I really liked.

  11. I can get a SPG status challenge but questioned whether I could book with “cash and points” to meet the 18 nights. I have 9 full paid nights in the next 90 days that would qualify, but to complete the 18, I would need to mattress run. Can those under the mattress run be booked as cash and points and still count. I saw something under the general “cash and points” state “promotions dont count.”

    So that makes me think no, but I guess a status challenge may not be the typical promotion that statement could be referencing.

    Anyone have some input to help us. Thanks in advance. Jp

  12. @JP
    Only fully paid nights count toward your spg platinum challenge. Finished mine at the end of May. 🙂

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