No, The SPG Program Isn’t Ending On [Insert Date Here]

Many of us Starwood loyalists are anxious about the end date of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, given that it will almost certainly be bad news for us. When Marriott’s takeover of Starwood closed in September 2016, they introduced reciprocal status matching and points transfers between the two programs from day one, which was an impressive feat we haven’t seen from such a major merger before.

Merger

Marriott is taking their time creating a unified program (by combining Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest), which I appreciate. Initially it looked like the programs might be combined by early 2018, though I think that’s definitely not happening at this point.

Marriott management has only dropped hints about the timeline for the future of the program, and my guess at this point is that it will be 2019 before we see a combined program, and maybe even later. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marriott push it out even further, realizing that they might not actually have all that much to gain with a combined program (or maybe that’s just my optimism).

Anyway, the reason for this post is that I’ve been receiving quite a few notes lately from readers indicating that certain SPG benefits are ending on certain dates, and asking whether this is a hint about when the SPG program may end. For example:

This has led people to ask whether something is changing as of those dates, or why they have such arbitrary end dates.

Personally I wouldn’t read into any of these end dates at all. In the case of the SPG Platinum certificates, I’m not sure why the expiration date would be earlier, though if there’s an area where they’d change the terms early to indicate the program is ending, I don’t think that updating Platinum “thank you” certificates would be the first order of business.

In the case of the SPG Amex in Canada, it’s not unusual for credit card benefits to have end dates and then to see them renewed. This is largely because credit card companies have to provide notice of many benefits changes, so often changes will have an end date, so that they can get out of it if need be.

So personally I wouldn’t read into any of these arbitrary end dates. If for no other reason, I wouldn’t read into them because we’ve seen dozens of these published. While I think Marriott probably has a timeline for when they’d like things to be integrated, I don’t think they even know exactly when a single program will be formed.

So while it’s fun to speculate, I’m afraid we’re not going to be able to come to any definitive conclusions here. At least those are my two cents…

Comments

  1. I need 2018 to make lifetime platinum. Hoping there is no combined program until that is accomplished.

  2. A definitive conclusion…the combined program will be heads and shoulders above Hilton, no matter how little of the SPG-ness goes forward

  3. I need 2018 for Lifetime as well. Flying to Bangkok in early January to start grinding out a bunch of nights.

    Right now their customer base has connections to United, Delta, and Emirates between the two programs and Chase and Amex for credit cards. It might be best just to leave things they way they are.

  4. Yeah, the later the better. Unfortunately, someone is going to have to pay for the fact that they overpaid for Starwood due to the Chinese bid. Not hard to figure out the someone is us.

  5. I recently tried to use Marriott’s Reward a Friend program to get some double dips. But their website just didn’t work. I contact their consumer service and I was told that due to the work of merging of SPG program and Marriott program, their IT had a lot of issues lately.

    Personal I cannot see why it would impact a client site simple script. But this shows the merge is on going and probably will happen sooner than later.

  6. I heard from sources in MI that in 2018 the focus will be equalizing the programs, which will still remain separate. It was explained to me that would even out such things as earning rates, elite qualification, elite bonuses, etc., across the different programs. No specific information on where these items will land or how it will affect differences (i.e. SPG confirmed suite certificates). I did stay in a Marriott last week in Central Europe and was delighted that I was upgraded to a suite without asking and granted an automatic 4pm checkout without any discussion whatsover, based on my Platinum status. In the past, this has not been so clear cut. 2019 is supposed to see the rollout of the new unified program.

  7. Thanks for taking up my point, you are of course right but I just wondered whether you had additional information. The later the better or as I said, I hope they find out separate programmes are better and stop merging altogether.

  8. Another for whom 2018 is the 10th year of SPG platinum.But I will start the year already over 500 nights.For safeties sake I have planned 25 stays in the first half of 2018.

  9. Is it true that if you combine your SPG points with Marriott points that you will then go by all Marriott rules, regulations fromthat day forward? I thought that I read that when I started the process. If so, wouldn’t that be a negative for the SPG Lifetime Gold that I am? Thanks!

  10. it will be unfair if marriott recognizes SPG lifetime platinums because their bar is so much lower than marriott’s … marriott platinums have put in a lot more nights to get lifetime status. hopefully marriott will raise the bar for the influx of SPG elites to get status

  11. @pat – let’s not be ignorant…it takes 10 years of being an SPG Plat to get lifetime Plat. And you have to have 500 nights as part of that mix. No short-cuts.

    Marriott takes 750 but of course rollover nights, credit card annual nights (15), credit card $3K spend (1 per), scheduled meeting nights (10), promo nights, etc. all count, making it easy to pump up w/artificial nights and do it in ~4-5 years.

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