As Marriott and Starwood move towards aligning their systems, partnerships, etc., as much as possible, we can expect to see lots of changes. For example, while we can’t don’t know for sure that this was related to the merger, recently it was announced that Starwood and Uber are cutting ties. I wouldn’t be surprised if that has to do with Marriott’s takeover of Starwood, as they examine each of their individual partnerships.
Starwood is now making changes to another program that’s quite popular. SPG Pro is Starwood’s program for travel professionals, which allows them to earn Starpoints for client bookings. While the way that SPG Pro members earn Starpoints for personal travel and meetings is remaining the same, some changes are being made to Starpoints earnings for client bookings.
Here are the details of the changes, which kick in as of January 2, 2018:
PROLEARNING AND STARPRO RATES.
Beginning January 2, 2018, ProLearning and STARPRO rates will be replaced by Marriott’s industry-leading Hotel Excellence! eLearning platform and exclusive Fam-Tastic®travel professional rates available to qualified agents. With these rates, travel professionals can explore participating brands across the SPG and Marriott Rewards® portfolio at a deeper discount than STARPRO rates. With this announcement, Marriott will also expand partners’ access to the special rates by lifting the prior limit on number of stays per year the Fam-Tastic® discount rates will now be unlimited, subject to availability.
EARNING AND REDEEMING STARPOINTS.
As of January 2, 2018, SPG Pro travel professionals will no longer earn Starpoints or eligible nights toward elite status for client bookings. For client bookings made on or before January 1, 2018, SPG Pro members will still earn Starpoints — even if the stay occurs after January 1, 2018.
For context, here are the current SPG Pro benefits:
As you can see, travel professionals can earn one Starpoint per $2-3 of spend, depending on their status. That’s fewer points than the member who is staying earns, but it can certainly add up for travel professionals who book a lot of people at Starwood hotels.
While Marriott doesn’t have an equivalent rewards structure for travel professionals, the good news is that Marriott’s Fam-Tastic travel professional rates are apparently quite popular, and this is something that SPG Pro users didn’t previously have access to.
Fortunately as of now no changes are being made to the Starwood Luxury Privileges program. Hopefully that program remains intact, as it’s a fantastic way to get extra perks for stays at Starwood’s higher end properties.