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