Marriott & United Add Reciprocal Benefits For Invitation-Only Elite Members


Over the years we’ve seen some airlines and hotels partner in order to offer reciprocal benefits for members. This is a concept that Delta and Starwood pioneered when they introduced Crossover Rewards in early 2013. It’s a great way to cross-promote, given that people who are frequent flyers are often also frequent hotel guests, and vice versa.

One of the next big airline and hotel partnerships was between Marriott Rewards and United MileagePlus. It was introduced in mid-2013, and is called RewardsPlus. Among other benefits, Marriott Platinum members receive United Silver status, and United Gold members and above receive Marriott Gold status.

Well, Travel Codex is reporting that Marriott and United have taken this partnership to the next level, and are now offering reciprocal benefits for the invitation-only elite members of both loyalty programs:

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Marriott Now Lets You Redeem Points For TSA Pre-Check (But Don’t Do It)


Airline and hotel loyalty programs have increasingly been adding opportunities for members to enroll in TSA Pre-Check. Some airlines have given TSA Pre-Check memberships away to elite members for free, while others have been allowing members to redeem points for them. On top of that, several credit cards offer Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check fee credits.

For example, about a year ago I wrote about how Alaska Airlines lets you redeem 10,000 miles for the $85 TSA Pre-Check enrollment fee. That’s a horrible value at 0.85 cents per mile, given that I value Alaska miles at ~1.8 cents each. A few months later, Club Carlson also began letting members redeem points for TSA Pre-Check. Specifically, they were charging 65,000 points for TSA Pre-Check, which is a horrible value.

Well, the latest loyalty program to let you redeem points for TSA Pre-Check is Marriott Rewards. You can now redeem 25,000 Marriott Rewards points for TSA Pre-Check.

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Last Chance: Book Marriott & Starwood Award Nights Before Prices Change


In early February, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest announced their 2017 hotel category changes.

It’s normal for the major hotel chains to adjust which hotels belong in which categories each year. Typically only a small percentage of properties overall are changing categories. Furthermore, they’re not adjusting the number of points required for a redemption in a specific category of hotel, but rather they’re adjusting which hotels belong in which categories.

Well, the category changes are kicking in for bookings as of tomorrow (March 7, 2017). So if you want to lock in any stays at the old costs, you’ll want to do so today. As a reminder, here are the lists of hotels changing categories:

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Review: Petra Marriott Hotel


After a full day in Wadi Rum we headed north to the town of Wadi Musa, where Petra is located.

It was an easy drive along highways we’d traversed the day prior (how was it only a day?!), so even with a brief maintenance stop it only took ~90 minutes from leaving Wadi Rum to arriving at the Marriott.

As I mentioned in the introduction, I’d booked the Marriott Hotel Petra during the Black Friday sale. We paid $95 + tax for each of our two nights. This is a Category 4 hotel though, so you could also use:

• Anniversary certificates from the credit card
• 20,000 Marriott Rewards points (15,000 on PointSavers)
• 6,667 Starwood Preferred Guest points

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Marriott’s New SVP Of Loyalty Is From Starwood (And Shares His Roadmap)


As much as I’m not thrilled about Marriott’s takeover of Starwood (or perhaps more accurately, I don’t like competition being eliminated), there’s no denying that the leadership at the company has been doing a fantastic job with the integration.

Since the day the merger has closed, Marriott has allowed members to match status between programs, and transfer points at a fair ratio. Marriott has also announced some improvements to their program that nicely match what Starwood offers.

Marriott is planning on eventually integrating all three loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest) into a unified loyalty program, though that’s happening in 2018 at the earliest.

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Why Marriott Loyalists Should Apply For The SPG Amex


Through April 5, 2017, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

Over the years we’ve seen quite a few increased sign-up bonuses on the SPG Amex, though the bonus doesn’t get bigger than what’s being offered through this promotion. Furthermore, this year is a bit different than in the past, given that Marriott and Starwood have merged. Combined, the programs are estimated to have roughly 90 million members.

So there are a few reasons I think this offer may interest more people than ever before — especially Marriott Rewards loyalists:

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A Hint That Marriott May Be Adopting Starwood’s Ambassador Service


Last April Marriott Rewards announced three new benefits for members, in anticipation of their takeover of Starwood.

All three of these features are things that Starwood offers, which certainly suggests that this was an attempt to make SPG members feel better about the takeover, while also giving something to Marriott Rewards members. Specifically, at the time Marriott introduced the following three benefits:

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Marriott & Starwood Announce 2017 Hotel Category Changes


Historically, both Marriott and Starwood have made annual hotel category changes. While they don’t make changes to the number of points required for a free night in a particular category of hotel, they do change which hotels belongs to which category categories.

For some context on the 2016 changes (early last year):

— 797 Marriott hotels changed in price, with 560 going up in price and 237 going down in price
— 282 Starwood hotels changed in price, with 168 going up in price and 114 going down in price

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The 7 Best Hotel Perks Offered By Credit Cards

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There are many reasons to pick up a credit card — some are worth picking up for the sign-up bonus, some are worth picking up for the return they offer on everyday spend, and some are worth picking up for the long-term perks they offer.

While there are all kinds of perks offered on cards, in this post I figured I’d look at the best hotel perks you can get with credit cards. Here are my favorites, roughly in order:

The Citi Prestige® Card has my single favorite perk offered by any credit card. While a lot of credit cards offer some type of “free night” hotel benefit, there are usually major strings attached. Citi Prestige’s fourth night free benefit is the most straightforward out there. To sum up the basics:

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Which Hotel Programs Let You Earn Points & Elite Nights For Multiple Rooms?


Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies as to how many points, elite qualifying stays, and elite qualifying nights you can earn if booking multiple rooms. In other words, if you often travel with family and book two rooms, can you receive elite credits and points for each of the rooms?

The rules vary by program, so in this post I figured I’d look at the policies of the major hotel loyalty programs, as they impact earning points and elite qualifying credit for multiple rooms (in the title of each section I’ve added a link to the terms & conditions):

Club Carlson lets you earn points for up to three rooms booked on the same reservation. However, you don’t earn elite qualifying nights for multiple rooms.

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Marriott’s 2017 Status Buy Back Promotion Is Now Live


Every year Marriott Rewards seems to offer the option of redeeming points to maintain your current elite status. This promotion is exclusively for retaining your current status, and can’t be used to buy up to a higher elite tier.

Now, it’s pretty normal for airlines to offer status buy back opportunities nowadays, though you can usually only pay in cash, and it’s usually outrageously expensive.

Well, Marriott’s elite buy back promotion is now live for 2017. I’d say this is the most lucrative opportunity out there to “pay” to retain elite status (which isn’t to say you should take advantage of it, though, as I’ll explain below).

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All The Ways To Earn Hotel Elite Status With Credit Cards

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One of the trends we’re increasingly seeing is the ability to earn hotel elite status through credit cards. Rather than having to put in up to 75 nights per year worth of stays in order to earn top tier status, many hotel groups are now letting you earn status for spending certain amounts on credit cards

In this post I wanted to look at all the ways to earn elite status with credit cards for several of the major hotel chains, including Club Carlson, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood. I’ll break down the option by loyalty program and then status level:

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Earn 3,000 Bonus Amex Points For Spending $200 With Marriott


For those of you not familiar with Amex Offers, it’s a program available through most Amex cards, where different cards are eligible for different savings and bonus offers. In many cases the offers can be huge, and more than offset the annual fee on a card.

To view Amex Offers, go to the bottom of the account summary page of any American Express card, where you’ll see all the offers you’re eligible for. These offers come in different forms, including discounts and even in some cases bonus points.

At the moment there’s a targeted Amex Offer for 3,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $200+ at a Marriott hotel. The offer is valid for stays at participating Marriott properties through February 28, 2017. The promotion is for US stays at Marriott, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, EDITION Hotels, JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Delta, Gaylord Hotels, and Moxy. So it’s great how many brands are included.

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Marriott & Starwood Announce Their First Aligned Global Promotion


In late September the merger between Marriott and Starwood closed, and I was impressed by the speed at which they added features for members. Starting day one they added status matching between programs, as well as the ability to transfer points. The specifics of the individual programs continues to differ, which is a blessing really, since it means we can take advantage of the relative strengths of the different programs.

Well, here’s another “first” in the merger process — for the first time ever, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest are offering the same global promotion for members.

Through this new global promotion, members of Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest can earn double base points on their first three stays at participating hotels in each program:

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