Are Marriott Elite Members Getting The Short End Of The Stick?

This morning Marriott’s takeover of Starwood was finalized, and they’ve introduced reciprocal benefits for customers at unprecedented speeds.


As a Starwood loyalist, I’ll be the first to say that I’m pleased with what they’ve announced so far — Starwood Platinum matches to Marriott Platinum, and points transfers at a 1:3 ratio. Don’t get me wrong, my preference would have been that this whole thing never happened, but given that it’s happening, the announcements so far are about the best scenario I could have hoped for.

But it seems like some Marriott loyalists aren’t quite as happy.

Why are some Marriott loyalists unhappy?

A couple of readers who are Marriott loyalists aren’t quite as happy, and even think that Marriott members are getting “screwed beyond belief” here.

Here’s what reader Daniel had to say:

Please stop praising Marriott for the new details on the merger just because you are an SPG Platinum elite, and more importantly, stop pasting that graph that implies Marriott Platinum and SPG Platinum are interchangeable via status match. This is the second post in a row you’ve done that.

In reality, Marriott elites have gotten completely screwed beyond belief. A 75 night Marriott Platinum is only being given 25 Stay SPG Platinum status without SPG Suite Night Awards, even though Marriott Platinum requires 25 more nights than 50 Night SPG Platinum status, which does provide SPG Suite Night Awards.

Also, matching 50 night Marriott Gold to SPG Gold is also a huge slap in the face given the discrepancy in requirements and almost complete lack of benefits for SPG Gold.

This is disgustingly unequal for Marriott elites, and while you may not care since you are an SPG Platinum elite, try to understand the feeling from Marriott elites and help us advocate with Marriott rather than just blindly praising them for this news. Thanks.

Meanwhile here’s what reader Tom had to say:

I totally agree with Daniel M. SPG elite levels were far easier to obtain. An SPG Platinum with only 25 nights just received Marriott Platinum status which requires 75, literally jumping over Marriott Golds who might have has many as 74 nights so far this year. Another consideration is that Marriott Gold allows club access. With all the newly minted Golds coming over from Starwood (which required only 10 stays), how long before overcrowding of the concierge lounges becomes an issue? Definite disrespect for current Marriott elites.

On paper Marriott loyalists are getting screwed

I see where they’re coming from, and in theory I even agree:

  • Marriott Gold requires 50 nights, so why shouldn’t they be matched to Starwood Platinum, which requires 25 stays or 50 nights?
  • Why do Marriott Platinum members not get the 10 Suite Night Awards that 50 night SPG Platinum members usually get, given that Marriott Platinum requires 75 nights?
  • Why are Starwood Platinum members matching to Marriott Platinum rather than Marriott Gold, when in reality Marriott Gold and Starwood Platinum have similar qualification criteria?

On paper those are all valid points…

So, why do I still think Marriott & Starwood did the right thing?

Marriott Rewards members were happy already

I’m genuinely trying to take my own loyalty out of the equation here. Hear me out.

When this merger was announced, the general sentiment was happiness among Marriott Rewards members, and extreme unhappiness among SPG members. We’re all in agreement there, right?


  • Marriott has hotels all over the place, so it’s much easier to be loyal to Marriott than to be loyal to Starwood. Furthermore, Marriott elites are unlikely to see a reduction in elite benefits as a result of this takeover. Heck, they’ve already seen an improvement in elite benefits. The upside for them is that they’ll have a ton of cool new hotels they can earn and redeem points at.
  • Starwood loyalists, on the other hand, are losing the brand they love. The reality is that if most Starwood loyalists wanted to be loyal to Marriott, they would have done that to begin with, since it’s much easier than being loyal to Starwood.

Hopefully we can agree on the above, personal feelings aside. SPG members are largely unhappy about this announcement, while Marriott members were largely happy, knowing at a minimum that they’ll have some cool new hotels to redeem points at, with very little downside.

So to me it makes sense that they’re going out of their way to be fair (or more than fair) to the unhappy members.

But why not give Marriott elites more Starwood benefits?

What’s the difference between top tier status at Marriott and Starwood? At Starwood we’re competing for limited resources. Specifically, suite upgrades, since they’re a published benefit. One Platinum member getting a suite upgrade typically prevents another Platinum member from getting a suite upgrade.

The same isn’t true at Marriott, where suite upgrades aren’t a published benefit. What’s one more person in the club lounge or at the breakfast buffet? Yes, I know in practice some Marriott hotels will provide suite upgrades, but that’s not a published benefit.

So, why not give all Marriott Gold members Starwood Platinum? Because you’d literally be exponentially increasing the SPG Platinum elite pool. Every United Gold member and above gets Marriott Gold status automatically, and would get SPG Platinum. Furthermore, Marriott already has a much bigger membership base. The point is, the impact of every Marriott Gold getting SPG Platinum status would be much greater than the impact of every SPG Platinum member getting status with Marriott.

Why not give Marriott Platinum members 10 Suite Night Awards? In theory I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but let’s be honest about what would happen in practice. The programs are still separate without reciprocal elite qualifying nights, so in practice members won’t equally be splitting their time between Marriott and Starwood. So if you gave Marriott Platinum members Suite Night Awards, you can bet they’d be using one for almost every single stay. Proportionally they’d be getting more suite upgrades than the average SPG Platinum member.

Bottom line

I agree this system isn’t perfectly fair, and that the logic isn’t perfect. At the same time, it doesn’t feel fair that our beloved SPG program will eventually be going away. But I guess life isn’t fair sometimes… 😉

Marriott members overall are happy about the takeover. There’s very little downside, and the upside is that they finally have some more interesting properties at which they can redeem points. Heck, they’ve already gotten improved elite benefits as a result of this.

If you gave every Marriott Gold member SPG Platinum, then every United Gold and above would also be SPG Platinum. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of new SPG Platinum members overnight. That wouldn’t be a huge issue if the SPG program weren’t based around “competing” for scarce resources (suites, in this case).

Meanwhile for Marriott Platinum members, SPG Platinum is already getting them more than they’re getting at Marriott properties. You get suite upgrades as a published benefit based on availability, breakfast at all hotel groups, etc.

So I get it, it’s not totally fair, but I also don’t think another “solution” would have been any fairer than this.

What do you think — did Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum members get “screwed beyond belief” today, or was this the most reasonable outcome possible? What would you have liked to see done differently?

For more coverage on the Marriott/SPG merger see:

Official: Marriott & Starwood Introducing Reciprocal Benefits As Of Today Are Marriott Elite Members Getting The Short End Of The Stick?
How To Link Your Marriott And Starwood Accounts What Can Newly Minted Marriott Platinum Members Expect?
7 New Opportunities Thanks To Marriott & Starwood Account Linking Should You Link Your Starwood Account To Marriott Or Ritz-Carlton?
Can You Now Earn Marriott Elite Nights At Starwood Hotels (And Vice Versa)?


  1. I think Marriott was concerned that SPG elite members might jump to Hilton or Hyatt, so they sweetened the pot to begin with to keep these members in the fold.

    We will have to see in 2018 what the ‘new’ combined program will look like.

    Many Marriott properties are really downmarket..Fairfield etc whereas beyond Sheraton 4 points all the SPG properties are midscale or above

  2. If people really wanted SPG Suite Night Awards, they should have aimed for SPG Platinum status to begin with. Complaining that you aren’t getting something you wouldn’t have received if not for a merger leaves those of us who went out of our way to earn SPG Platinum shaking our heads. “Screwed beyond belief?” That would have been all the SPG Platinums left with next to useless Suite Night Awards.

  3. I am getting 3 MR points for every SPG point I convert (in 1000 increments). Originally, Platinum in MR and now in both (was worthless SPG Gold).

    Which way should I transfer, to SPG or MR?


  4. While I totally understand why they did it, it does not change the fact that the status match is unfair as it is executed.

    I’ll be much more lenient in my assessment if SPG Gold will be MR Silver, and SPG Platinum will be MR Gold (as the relevant number of nights indicated they would be). But then SPG members will be pissed.

    So in the vein to make something happen fast, they did treated MR members unfairly. That said:
    1. No one is really worse of than they were yesterday – so no real harm done.
    2. Hopefully for 2017 they will make the status match make better sense.

  5. As an SPG loyalist, I’m ok with this. I could care less about what Marriott brings to the table, but I am happy that now I’m Platinum there (whatever that means, I really don’t care). But I agree, I DONT want a bunch of Marriott people flooding MY beloved SPG properties. This is like the US Airways people chomping at the bit to get on the nice AA planes, with power, wifi, etc. Stay away. AA fliers didn’t want US Airways people, and SPG don’t want Marriott people. Sorry folks, but that’s reality. We can’t all play nice. You Marriott people chose your loyalty, live with it. I’ve gone out of my way and worked hard to be loyal to SPG, so stay away!

  6. There was a precedent set in Canada Lucky. When Marriott bought Delta I was a platinum member (requires 25 nights). Marriot matched me to Platinum Elite (75 nights) for the next 2.5 years. There was no way they would have given SPG member ms a worse deal.

  7. I think it’s a fair deal. As a platinum member for both spg and Marriott I always thought spg points are more valuable to me than my Marriott points. Sometimes when I visited certain foreign cities, the only choices were spg hotels.

    Well, I hope it all works out smoothly. If I don’t like the two to one program in the future, I can always stay with Hyatt and Hilton as a diamond member for both.

  8. This is all temporary until the programs are all combined. I think people should be happy they are offering the match and making it so seamless. People will always be unhappy though.

    I am more interested in seeing what they do with the upscale brands when it is all merged. I only stay at Ritz properties out of the Marriott portfolio of hotels. I do get two night credits per night but Marriott Platinum Members don’t get free club access or even a discount on it. So my status is devalued because I choose to stay at their most expensive hotels. That seems backward.

  9. I don’t agree that Marriott loyalists are happy, they were very unhappy as Marroiott has cut their benefits (BOGO, platinum amenities) while announcing them as enhancements. Surprised you are so out of touch.

  10. I was Marriott Platinum and SPG Gold, and IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE, SPG Gold was better than Marriott Platinum. So Marriott elites have NOTHING to complain about. Marriott Platinum was and mostly still is a joke. They weasel out of EVER giving you an upgrade. They rarely give free breakfast (never at courtyard, for instance). Their franchisees are terrible and resent having to give ANY love to Marriott elites.

    I am thrilled to now be SPG Platinum and think that, even as a Marriott Platinum, I’ve gotten the better end of the deal.

  11. I disagree with the statement that Marriott members are happy because they have new cool properties to redeem and acquire points on. As a Marriott Gold I will not be going to any f—ing SPG property that does not provide free breakfast and lounge access….. I will be sticking with Marriott and Hilton properties that Gold means something. Instead, I will be getting all these entitled SPG elites that now got something for nothing overcrowding the Marriott lounges…Shish..

  12. @Josh Delta Hotels was a much smaller acquisition than Starwood. The impact of that match is *far* smaller than this one.

  13. @ Eric

    “I do get two night credits per night but Marriott Platinum Members don’t get free club access or even a discount on it. So my status is devalued because I choose to stay at their most expensive hotels. That seems backward.”

    How to get 2 night credit per night?

  14. I watched arnes interview on dtv Cnbc continental 737700 to ewr. He’s solid but lacks the full package. 30 types of properties is nuts and he defends that. Time to replace him.

  15. Arguably Marriott elites are losing out in the transfer ratio as well, since it is clearly generous to SPG members. I had assumed it would just be a one-time forced transfer when the programs combined, in which case the ratio would never have mattered much to Marriott loyalists, but with the transfer back-and-forth, Marriott loyalists are in many cases really getting stung if they want to transfer their points to use in SPG.

    But, Lucky, I agree with your general formulation — there is no downside for Marriott members vs. where they were yesterday, and only upside. Whereas for SPG members, there will eventually be a downside, since almost certainly SPG elite benefits and elite qualifying requirements are eventually going to get worse once SPG is presumably folded into the Marriott program. So Marriott is trying to be nice to them while they can, to try to earn some goodwill.

  16. I’m *sure* it isn’t to prep Marriott members on suite upgrades…and when the BUYING company (i.e. Marriott) sucks in SPG members in less than 2 years, I bet you’ll be writing about how hopping mad you are that you no longer have suite upgrades. Anything that isn’t given to M Plats, will most likely disappear in the long-run…

  17. Given that I made 13 1-night SPG mattress runs and now have SPG and Marriott Platinum status, I would say the 75+ night Marriott elite got the short end of the stick.

  18. Marriot Rewards members have *always* been getting screwed. This is nothing new. When you compare Marriott’s program to others (Hyatt, SPG, etc.), it is one of the least-rewarding programs both in benefits and award redemptions in the industry.

    People don’t stay at Marriott properties because of the Marriott Rewards program. Marriott is our company’s #1 choice due to its consistency and quality. When I book a Residence Inn, I know what I’m getting. When I book a Sheraton, I might get something spectacular or I might get something tired & well past its prime. I have a similar gripe with Radisson, where their Cartegena, Colombia hotel was truly amazing while their US properties are hit-or-miss, usually miss.

  19. I still dont get how anyone can rationalize this. Consider this… Potential for an upgrade at a Marriott – my 90+ Marriott nights =same probability of 18 night spg Plat (SPG platinum challenge)- pretty crappy deal. Then consider if I want to then start staying at SPG properties. Earnings ratio, same as SPG gold. Bummer. I want an upgrade…? published benefit but preference will be given to tiers of SPG plat, and then maybe I will get one if no one is redeeming suite nights. So then why would I stay at a SPG property at all. Less points and earnings = to SPG gold, no real possibility of a suite upgrade until I put in another 50 nights at SPG. No added benefit of a lounge (good for free water, drinks snacks etc).
    It all comes full circle… at SPG properties I will be recognized as “platinum elite” with reciprocal benefits. I cant imagine these folks will be treated like anything close to a 90+ night SPG member.. Yet on a flipside I will be at risk of losing my benefits to an 18 nighter that decides Marriotts are more convenient for them.

  20. I’ve got 1 night at Marriott and 0 nights at SPG this year. And now I’m Gold in both? Why? I signed up for the Ritz Carlton card last month. Those of you that “earned” it on one side of the other? Deal With It….

  21. I am a member of both. I just got Gold at Marriott which would never have happened since I’m not a biz traveler, but Marriott hotels are so much more useful to me since I’m more rural. Good news for me. I really like the spg late check out perk.

  22. As a Marriott platinum, i do think we got the short end of the stick. That said, business is not about being fair and I agree with mccdflyer and Lucky. this was to please Starwood members in hoping that they will consider staying with the eventual combined loyalty program.

  23. Marriott members aren’t being screwed at all; they’re just now realizing that being a Marriott elite was never as generous or beneficial as being a SPG elite. That realization is pissing off a lot of them as a result.

    First, yes, MR Gold requires 50 nights…but it doesn’t take 50 nights to reach MR Gold! You can spend $50K on the MR credit card…or spend $10K on the RC credit card. So with just credit card spend, you can “earn” MR Gold. PUH-LEASE. So matching MR Gold–with its biggest benefit being lounge access–to SPG Gold makes sense and is an obvious match.

    Second, Marriott Platinums are now really learning that their benefits are less than that of SPG Platinums. Marriott members are so worried about free breakfast and lounge/club access that they never bothered to think about the value of those…compared to the value of the free breakfast and lounge/club access (where available) and suite upgrades that SPG Platinums can get.

    Third, it takes 50 nights to get MR Gold OR 75 nights to get MR Platinum with 4700 MR properties worldwide, including most that cost not a lot with their economy/budget pricing. The lowest category of SPG hotels (Four Points, Element, Aloft) are more expensive on average than more than half of the entire MR portfolio. SPG Gold required 25 nights out of only 1300 SPG properties…and SPG Plat required 50 nights out of only 1300 SPG properties. It is MUCH harder to attain SPG status based on property availability than it is for MR status…and you can’t earn Platinum status with credit card spend.

    Finally, the 3:1 conversion ratio has to hurt. But it’s been obvious to everyone who isn’t a Marriott loyalist that MR points SUCK compared to SPG points. MR members have been whining that they can earn more points that makes it comparable…and now know that is B.S. Their hotel/air packages seem good for the middle of the road hotel elite but they still require you to stay 7 nights at what is most often an unremarkable Marriott property to get them. If you don’t want to stay somewhere for 7 nights, you have no airline transfer options that are remotely as good as SPG.

    Marriott elites are now discovering how much better SPG actually is…and THAT is what is really pissing them off. They were getting screwed before by MR by not getting nearly the same level of benefits as the elites in SPG…but they didn’t realize it. Now they know it.

  24. I am perfectly with you Ben, thourough analysis and good point. MR members get more than they had before and SPG loyalists get a temporary carrot for being robbed and taken over by a sh**ty programme.

  25. Hyatt is a thoroughly worthless program considering how many global cities they don’t operate in. Some of us actually have lives outside Tokyo and London.

    Try searching for a Hyatt hotel in a super popular destination – Rome Italy – and tell me what you can find.

  26. @Bill what makes it even worse is after 90+ nights at JW, Ritz and some fs Marriott properties I now have to hear a Four Points King like yourself rubbing it in

  27. I find this hilarious some Marriott Platinum members have just woken up to the fact now that they are just now getting screwed? And the short end of the stick
    What rock have they been hiding under and asleep
    Just because they could yawn and fall step foot into the boring entranceway of a world of sterile blandness where even air conditioning is Marriott controlled?
    These people who were dumb enough to stay in the program as a MR Platinum member with outrageous night requirements
    received no suites no guarantee of late check out and horrible award redemption rates and mostly rotten promotions that started after the second stay and stingy cheap breakfasts and benefits that were truly meager.And still like religious evangelists voted them the number one program of the year in The Freddie’s consistently lol now they are overnight losers?
    No wonder SPG members have little sympathy for them
    Pathetic before and pathetic after just bad consumers that follow like sheep
    Now they have somehow been wronged overnight because they have been damaged emotionally that Marriott made an extra attempt short term to hold onto the loyalty of aquiring SPG members?Though they are no worse off then they were yesterday?
    So so sad

  28. Any Marriott Platinum member will agree that the the system is heavily weighted towards SPG members. The argument that there are more Marriott properties globally which presents makes it easier to earn 75 nights is pretty lame. Let’s be honest enough to say that anyone who stays 75 nights away from home is by default a serious road warrior, and especially loyal if they do this at one chain. To suggest that someone who stays 5 business weeks is equivalent to 15 business weeks is not only ludicrous it is highly insulting.
    This presents an interesting dilemma to me personally – I am worried about Marriott Platinum requal in 2016 (43 Marriott nights YTD, 100 last year, 122 in 2015) and have booked two upcoming 3-week business stays at Marriotts in the UK. It now has become more efficient to re-book at SPG properties and re-qualify with a 25 night SPG status match. I don’t believe this is really what Marriott is trying to incent.

  29. While I do like the current arrangement in a strange way, the road forward is likely a devaluation for SPG, and maybe a better program than the current MR.

    Of course we could have both being worse off. But I think for a start, the new program will be competitive, to justify to Starwood Properties and also SPG followers that now that it is under one roof, everyone is better off rather than worse off, then erode the benefits slowly.

  30. I’m a Marriott guy due to company travel policy (with Hyatt as a backup when they have a property in a location that I travel). I’m not sure why anyone thinks that “With all the newly minted Golds coming over from Starwood…, how long before overcrowding of the concierge lounges becomes an issue? ”

    Seriously? What SPG Platinum is going to forgo a stay at an SPG property to stay in what most of them consider an inferior Marriott property to get free breakfast in the lounge?

  31. Marriott members were very unhappy before the merger due to significant cuts (elimination of annual BOGOs, cut in Platinum amenity, Chase cat 1-5 certs now useless). Surprised you are that out of touch.

  32. i think people are forgetting how much easier it is to get a Marriott night than an SPG night. Credit card comes with 15 nights vs. 5 for SPG, for every $3K spend, you get an extra night, rollovers create huge cushions to maintain status, and any type of meeting booking gets you 10 nights a pop. I’m already at 110 nights this year and have maybe *actually* stayed 40-50 nights. That just doesn’t happen with SPG.

    As a lifetime SPG gold who will be losing SPG PLT status this year, I’m happy all around with how it played out…

  33. for all the haters from both sides bxxxching about the merger, i invite them to LEAVE and go over to worthless programs like Hyatt and Kimpton and enjoy the global footprint they offer, especially Kimpton.

  34. Marriott member have always being screwed but never realized it. Also, other than some JW properties Marriott options are very bad. My current company has them as “preferred partner” and I avoid their properties as much as I can. They are all old and have this pink color that reminds me of the 60’s. Marriott members should be happy they will get access to way better properties now.

  35. I agree- Marriott reward members are finally realizing what a horrible program they have been loyal too. I was a focus group once for Kimpton hotels, and there was a very vocal guy who went on and on about how he was a “big Marriott guy” and how great they were, blah, blah. I just sat there and laughed. For me, this guy epitomized what most Marriott people are – road warriors in crappy 2nd and 3rd tier cities, and their idea of “dream” redemption is taking the family somewhere and enjoying a couple of free nights at a Courtyard so the kids can swim in the pool and they can all enjoy a free breakfast. Oh, and this guy probably uses his gold airline status to take his whole family through the elite security line at the airport.
    I don’t think that profile fits may SPG people, and I doubt that there are many SPG people eager to “check out” what Marriott has to offer.

  36. @J W: You are wildly mistaken. You said “@Bill what makes it even worse is after 90+ nights at JW, Ritz and some fs Marriott properties I now have to hear a Four Points King like yourself rubbing it in”

    For the record, my 107 nights ALREADY at SPG hotels include StR San Francisco (paid), StR Bora Bora (paid), StR Mexico City (paid), W Bogota (paid), W South Beach (paid), W San Francisco (paid), W Los Angeles (paid), W Hollywood (paid), SLS Beverly Hills (paid), The Liberty Boston (paid), US Grant San Diego (paid), Park Tower London (paid), Le Meridien Cambridge (paid), Le Meridien Philadelphia (paid), Le Meridien Arlington (paid), Westin Richmond (paid), Westin Charlotte (paid), Westin Coral Gables (paid), Sheraton Boston (paid), Sheraton Philadelphia Univ City (paid), and…wait for it..the Four Points Chelsea NYC (paid). My upcoming hotel stays for 2016 include the StR San Francisco (2 stays paid, 1 award stay), W San Francisco (paid), Westin San Jose (paid), W Los Angeles (paid and award), Gritti Palace Venice (award), Excelsior Gallia Milan (award), Park Tower London (award). YOU ARE SO WRONG.

    There’s a reason that the average SPG customer is more affluent and spend more than the average Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Hilton, or Accor customer. While there are some Ambassadors who stay mostly at Four Points, there are FAR MORE MR Plat Preferreds who stay at comparable Courtyards or even less expensive SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield, and the like.

    Nice try. WRONG.

  37. Honestly I think the Marriott elites are zoning in too much on the nights requirements and not looking at what the reciprocal statuses actually get you at their properties. With regards to the benefits provided, SPG Plat is not only comparable to Marriott Plat, but arguably better. SPG Gold also offers additional benefits you don’t see as a Marriott Gold whether they want to admit it or not. Marriott’s elite program was simply never competitive to Starwood’s in the realm of benefits, and the matching here took place based on benefits, not on elite qualification requirements. Any match less than this would have been a “slap in the face” to SPG elites who would have been given substantially reduced benefits in the new chain.

  38. Short term, Marriott elites are not getting the best exchange as compared to SPG elites.

    Just as it is easier to become an SPG elite with fewer nights than with Marriott, it is easier to make lifetime elite with SPG than Marriott.

    In this initial merger of the 2 programs, SPG elites have done better.

    HOWEVER, the one thing that has been left for future analysis is lifetime status.

    I firmly believe that since Marriott sweetened the pot for SPG elites with the status conversion and points conversion, they are permitting those open-minded SPG elites to see the benefits of a merged program in the hope that they will see the merger through.

    Those, who are close-minded can take their points and leave.

    At the end of the day, Marriott will have permitted SPG members a “taste” of what elite status will be like in the fully merged program.

    On no account, however, will Lifetime Elite Status transfer directly.

    Too many Marriott elites, would be up in arms, yours truly included.

    I believe that Marirott will permit the nights component of the 2 programs to be added and it will serve as the spring board for how many more nights to achieve lifetime status in the merged program — according to the pre-existing Marriott criteria.

    Likewise, the points accumulated will follow a similar pattern with a likely 3X multiplier for SPG points applied.

    This is only fair to long time Marriott members who have been striving towards elite status — and there are many more of them than there are SPG members.

    Further, it is not too onerous for Marriott to ask those SPG elites to continue to stay at the combined programs properties, if they are short the Marriott elite nights/points lifetime requirement.

    They have been generous to SPG in this initial phase, but will appease Marriott members by not having SPG member jump the queue by having a direct transfer of lifetime status.

  39. SPG Gold receiving Marriott Gold is complete nonsense. As a Marriott Gold member it required 50 nights and here comes some SPG Gold member who could have earned theirs with 10 nights. (10 stays can equal 10 nights). I think that is a slap in the face to Marriott Golds.

  40. Posted elsewhere, once again:

    Don’t like that you can’t get breakfast on your RC vacation stay? Go to a StR or LuxCollection instead where you will. Get a SPG Platinum welcome gift worth more than your MR one. Take advantage of Make A Green Choice. Actually get rewarded for on-site dining. Get crazy bonus points from Uber/Delta that you aren’t currently getting w/the UA partnership. Have a good chance at actually getting a suite at an SPG property.

  41. 17 years at St Regis W Westin Sheraton Luxury collection to finally
    get elite status as 100 a night year SPG Plat as a MR elite member so I can
    visit an aspirational Courtyard or Fairfield property and pay for dog food they call breakfast woof!
    Or a Ritz Carlton something I might consider and pay crazy inflated prices and still pay for my breakfast and be denied club access
    This was program of the year for many years? ahhhhhhhhh of course makes perfect sense to me
    Even fools vote and eventually wake up one day and smell the foul stinking coffee
    Ohhhhhhhhhh I’m soooooo excited that I will now have 3000 amazing Courtyards to choose from
    All the love in the world for a big footprint that Marriott has to offer
    Woo hoo
    I can’t wait when award redemption for a standard room is 150k a night for a Full service Marriott or Westin lol
    It is really the end of a great era where one now will buy on price and experience and stat avoiding programs and their overly inflated pricing and flawed inflated greedy redemption levels
    I’m ready to try Airb&b I’m so disgusted and yes Hyatt and Hikton and smaller chains with lesser programs look real good to me for the first time ever once the golden goose is dead
    At least I enjoy fully what I’m paying for
    Hating your experience isn’t worth a few thousand points when you have millions already that are soon to be worth less than Delta Sky Pesos

  42. And honestly, once Marriott partnered w/UA, Gold became a pure giveaway (hey, I have it, I like it, but I’d never stay 50 nights to get it)…don’t treat it as some high and mighty status level. Plus, I’m guessing most “native” MR Golds have the credit card, so you only need 35 nights, and even less every $3K you put on the card.

  43. @ Henry LAX yes I’m running right now over to that worthless horrible stingy program called Hyatt Gold Passport where I can never book a property in Rome so it’s def a lousy program
    So so horrible
    Only idiots would stay in such a program where the hotels have solid elite recognition more consistently
    They have had 4 pm check out for years for elites and breakfast in many hotels are wiped off your bill even if hundreds of dollars a day in some hotels
    I also would hate reasonably priced award redemption
    The best thing about this merger is to watch Marriott members really realize the big shaft they have been getting for years
    I think many may need a 12 step program or a lawyer

  44. @ Beachfan — I’m saying they’re happy about the takeover. To clarify, you attribute those cuts to the takeover, or just program changes in general?

  45. @ TD — The statement was supposed to long term. To clarify, are you excited about the takeover long term once there’s a single program?

  46. Agreed, I don’t see how Marriott elites are getting “screwed.” It’s true that SPG elites get relatively more, but it’s not really at the expense of Marriott elites, who after all are still getting something they didn’t have 24 hours ago.

    I look at this as Marriott wants to make the current SPG elites happy so they stay, and so they’re trying to give them a good deal. They don’t need to make the Marriott elites happy. They were obviously already happy or they would have switched to Hilton.

  47. @ brian — Totally agree there may not be suite upgrades long term. I’m still not excited about the takeover long term, but rather am just happy about how they’re handling it in the interim so far.

  48. This post reads like classic “schadenfreude”.

    SPG loyalists who dreaded the take over of their beloved program by MR are now giddy in part because 75-night MR Plats are understandably unhappy that even SPG “pure” Plats (50 nights) are matched to the tough-to-reach MR Platinum level.

    BTW , schadenfreude is “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.” 🙂

  49. Fine, as a MR plat on track to hit +150 nights this year, i’ll let SPG members in at 3:1 and straight match, whatever. If i’m honest, i wish i had been matched to SPG’s ambassador status but not gonna whine about it because i dont care that much about ambassador, 4pts/nights is not that impressive compared to Marriott’s MRP rate, and suite nights are the same thing as me calling the hotel a week ahead of my stay and asking for an upgrade.

    What i wont forgive is if SPG lifetime members are straight matched to the future Marriott lifetime. If you think 750 nights and 2MM points is equivalent to 500 nights and 10 years platinum, id have to strongly disagree. That’s 50% more! And 500 nights at SPG is child’s play! You can book 10 nights for 24k spg points!! Only recently did Marriott allow points bookings to count towards lifetime so SPG’s lifetime has always been way easier imo.

    Please please please dont screw over your most loyal Marriott customers. Ps, my stays are all in manhattan so dont stereotype me. Pps, i have 270 lifetime nights at SPG too.

  50. i did 2 stays with marriott this year. i did it solely to earn a free night certificate which will be used at a jw marriott in china next month.
    and thanks to the merger i am now marriott gold. i will be treating myself to a nice free breakfast buffet.
    isn’t life beautiful?

  51. The reciprocal status would be more useful to me as a Marriott Platinum if SPG nights counted towards my 75 nights. Since I am Hilton Diamond too, I would only stay at a Starwood property if no Marriott or Hilton was available and geographicly suitable.

    I don’t care about the points ratio since I have very few Starpoints.

    The lack of full SPG Platinum benefits of suite upgrades would piss me off if I intended to use my newfound reciprocal benefits.

  52. Don’t really care. Stayed at multiple SPG properties and wasn’t impressed. Fifth year of Marriott platinum elite and I haven’t spent more than 40 nights a year since qualification on my first year. They basically gift it to me each year around this time with a challenge to stay ten nights at Marriott’s profits with direct booking. So I value their service.

  53. As a Marriott Plat, I will be bloody pissed if they are going to continue appeasing those SPG plat, while neglecting their loyalists. Somehow, the SPG-ers elites are still complaining and whining even when they are already benefiting from the perks in Marriott… Seriously, they don’t know that they are missing especially with the redemption?

    That said, I’m still quite pleased and happy with the merger. Afterall, it allows me to tap on to more properties especially since SPG has significantly more properties in Asia.

  54. With a SPG Gold status through the AMEX Biz Plat and MR Gold through RewardsPlus as a UA 1K/1MM/UA*G, I just combined the two accounts and transferred all of my 9K starpoints to add 27K points to my stash of 131K MR points I am planning to use to redeem award stays at JW Marriott BKK and at some other MR hotel in N or SE Asia during my upcoming 4-week Year-end Asian Escapade(tm).

    Great way to draw down my residual starpoints, methinks 😉

  55. Marriott could have given pre-merger MR elites some top-up/upgrade vouchers to normalise any perceived devaluation, imho.

  56. DEAR MARRIOTT REWARDS PROGRAM – As a MR Plat Elite, I am requesting for 2 upgrade vouchers to normalize the SPG merger imbalance. You have my account number. Thank you in advance.

  57. [Please note: my comments are written without having read any previous comments; I am responding solely to the original article above.]

    Marriott already HAS Marriott customers. They (Marriott) do not need to “woo” them (the loyal customers who have qualified for elite status); presumably the elites are already pleased with the benefits they receive through the Marriott’s Rewards program. (Otherwise, presumably, they’d have already left and sought to gain elite status with another chain.) On the other hand, Marriott DOES need to please Starwood’s loyal customers — those who are SPG elites — or lose them to Hyatt, or possibly even Hilton. Marriott’s major concern re: customer service MUST making the SPG elites happy.

    Where those Marriott elites who are complaining have it wrong, IMHO, is that they have not lost *anything* in the merger. Marriott was never going to reduce their own benefits for their own elites, and they haven’t. Indeed, they’d already ADDED benefits prior to the merger closing. Anything that Marriott elites have gotten post-closure is, for them, pure gravy. Again, it’s the SPG elites Marriott has to please — for example, had Marriott only converted Starwood points at a 2:1 ratio, you’d have heard the howls of protest rise up around the world!

    The gist of the complaints, as relayed in the original article, boil down to “Oh, no, my elite lounge will be overwhelmed by the great unwashed hordes . . . ” (Sigh!) As for the complaint that they aren’t suite awards at Starwood, well I never had a Aston-Martin before — even though I’ve wanted one ever since “Goldfinger” came out in 1964 — and I still don’t! Guess what? I don’t miss it.

    No merger is perfect, and I’ve suffered/am suffering through TWO this year (and next): Starwood and Virgin America. Marriott SEEMS to have done right by Starwood’s loyal customers, and that’s a HUGE sigh of relief! Now, I only need to worry about what Alaska Airlines is going to do — and while I can now massage the cramp I got in one hand, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed on the other . . .

  58. From the European point of view the statements in this article are totally right. SPG Golds are treated well (got upgraded to club and even suites outside the US) and SPG Platinums even better (100% suite upgrade success outside US, mostly one or two days before arrival). On my last stay in Mexico last week the hotel emailed me to cancel my SNAs for complimentary upgrade to a roof top suite.

    As I was Marriott Platinum due to status match some years ago I ended up with only one stay due to disappointing treatment.

    And please concider, outside the US it’s even harder to get status as there are NO credit card benefits available!

  59. MR Plats unhappy that you don’t get SNAs…guess what, go stay at an SPG property and see what a “suite” looks like. They’re not that hard to get w/Starwood properties!

  60. How do all these Marriott gold people think they are getting screwed? I have stayed 0 nights at Marriott properties but as a United 1K get free Gold status. Shouldn’t that feel worse than complaining that someone who stayed 25 nights or 10 stays at Starwood now has a 50 night status that gives worse benefits than SPG gold? Don’t worry though – I’ve had Marriott Gold for a while and still never stay at Marriott properties, wouldn’t use the lounge for breakfast etc. SPG members are not chomping at the bit to use Marriott lounges / properties for free breakfast…

  61. Not sure that I really get complaints from the Marriott side. I’ve been more of a SPG guy lately (lifetime Platinum came last year) but I’ve been a Marriott guy as well (only a couple nights from lifetime Gold, was Platinum for probably 3-4 years and just became Gold again before status matching). Also a Hyatt guy (Diamond for the second year) and used to be a Hilton guy (Diamond for maybe 5 years). I think most of the happiness from the SPG camp right now isn’t because they’re really wowed by what they’re getting, but rather than they’re relieved that they aren’t completely getting the shaft. Overall I think the interim reciprocal benefits are pretty balanced.

    It’ll definitely be interesting to see what they do with the lifetime program, especially for those that have claimed lifetime Platinum for SPG but don’t have enough nights/points for lifetime Platinum for Marriott. Though I guess there might be some people out there that could now qualify for Marriott lifetime Platinum that couldn’t for lifetime SPG Platinum as Marriott doesn’t have a time component, right? I qualified for lifetime SPG platinum on nights a year or two before I did on years, and if I’d focused on the program I could have hit the 750 nights before 10 years pretty easily. As it is I have 1159 nights combined (671 SPG, 488 Marriott) so it’s a moot point for me more than likely, but an interesting discussion of what’s ‘fair’. Hey, both programs are easier to get lifetime top status than Hilton and Hyatt…

  62. While I am sure that my Marriott Gold level is getting undervalued at SPG, that is actually not my chief concern.

    What really pissed me off is the points transfer. 3:1 is COMPLETE BS in my opinion. 60,000 points for Aloft versus 45,000 for a Ritz? What a joke.

    SPG members, don’t waste your time worrying that a bunch of Marriot rewards members are going to be flooding into your low-lit, low-quality under the guise of “hip and modern” hotels. I am far more concerned that SPG members are going to be flooding the lounge that took me 25 nights to earn.

  63. My math might be wrong, but I think that I, as a Marriott Plat, earn more in the SPG program than SPGers can earn themselves, and while I certainly think I should be treated like a 100 night SPG plat (to the victor go the spoils – not the victim!), I’m not too cut up about it. End of the day, I’m only in the rewards games for the free nights and flights I can use on vacation – travelling for work, I only use the room for sleeping, so couldn’t really care about the suite nights (one or two would be nice for my vacations though, of course).

    As a Marriott Plat with the credit card, I get 10 base points, plus 5 Plat points, plus 5 credit cards on every room dollar at Marriott. I’m only Gold at SPG, so never really got into their awards program, but I believe the max they can earn is 4 Starpoints per dollar as 75th night Platinum, and 2 Starpoints per credit card dollar. At the 3:1 conversion rate, they can only earn 18 Marriott points per stay – so I’m effectively earning MORE points in their program from my Marriott stays than they themselves can earn from their SPG stays.

    Of course, there’s some muddling around the edges with Residence Inns only earning 5 points per dollar and Four Points earning the full amount, and the SPG welcome amenity and Green Choice contributing more points in the SPG program. There is certainly a break-even room rate/nights per stay where the above doesn’t hold true – anyone with more knowledge of the SPG program care to calculate it? But on the whole, it tickles me.

    Also fair to point out, using the logic in all these articles that Marriott Plats should be happy because they are now better off with SPG-like rewards, SPGers then should have been happy with no changes to their program for 2017 and Marriott Silver, because now SPGers have Marriott Silver …

  64. Being an SPGPLAT with no time in the Marriott chain I have tried to get my head around what it means to be a Marriott PLAT. To be honest I am struggling to see the day to day benefits. You see, I check into a SPG hotel excluding Aloft and Elements and 90-95% of the time I am upgraded to a suite, I get breakfast at every hotel and late checkout….I know what I am getting every time I stay.

    Now I look at Marriotts list of hotels worldwide that rely on end user updates to inform members which hotel serves breakfast or not or gives it to gold and plat or not, who closes their lounge depending on vacancy rates. I read the T&C’s of the program and for every benefit there are 20 exclusions or exceptions. About the only thing a Gold or Plat are guaranteed is internet access across the hotels. I feel completely overwhelmed/underwhelmed from being in a system that you DON’T know where you stand to whether you mean something or nothing depending on the hotel, check in staff or some hidden fine print T&C.

    From this single point of view, I can see why the SPG program was so coveted amongst travellers. Lets hope the new program in 2018 bring some real clarity to what benefits elite members are entitled to across the WHOLE hotel network because this hotchpotch Marriott system is frankly far too confusing.

  65. @Marriott elite Fools: You sound like a grumpy 90-year-old man. The good news for you is that you may not live long enough to see the merger through in an other year and see your precious 4Points lifetime status devalued.

  66. Yes Tiged busted again 🙁
    You nailed it turning 89 on my cane with a beard you can trip over and 25 year old younger woman on my side that appreciates the high luxury life of Four Points
    I saved her from a treacherous life existence of dreaded Comfort Inns
    I’m a Master of every Four Points I could find for 50 bucks a night and so so jealous of your good business decision making that I am turning green with envy
    We will marry at the Four Points Miami in the honeymoon suite so only so miserable presently
    Please have pity for this elderly troll lol

  67. As a lifetime Marriott Rewards Gold member, I have stayed about 700 nights at Marriott properties and have spent enough to earn about 1,800,000 Marriott Rewards points. The Marriott lounges are now swamped beyond belief at many properties. I am thinking of shifting my business from Marriott (~75 nights per year away from Marriott) to Hilton where I have annual Diamond status. What will my tipping point be? When Marriott no longer provides guaranteed lounge access to Gold members. When/if that happens, bye bye Marriott. Of course, I am close to lifetime Platinum status so I might feel differently if I had that status when Marriott pulls the plug on Gold member lounge access. But that is probably three years away.

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