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.
2017 Marriott & Starwood double points promotion
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:
- You can register between December 15, 2016, and March 15, 2017 (here’s the SPG link, here’s the Marriott link, and here’s the Ritz-Carlton link)
- You can stay between January 16 and April 15, 2017
In practice this means you’re earning:
- 2 bonus Starpoints per dollar spent on your first three SPG stays
- 10 bonus Rewards points per dollar spent on your first three Marriott/Ritz-Carlton stays, except at Residence Inn and Townplace Suites properties, where you only earn 5 bonus Rewards points per dollar spent
You can technically only be a member of Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards, so you can take advantage of this promotion through either of those programs, plus also through SPG. Do keep in mind that as of now you still need to requalify for status with an individual program, so there’s still an incentive to stay as loyal to either Starwood or Marriott/Ritz-Carlton. Perhaps they’ll start letting members combine elite nights this coming year… who knows.
There will be additional promotions as well
At first I thought to myself “that’s it?” Offering a promotion for just the first three stays does very little to generate incremental business — quite the opposite, actually.
But in looking at my SPG Dashboard, I see that I’m targeted for another offer as well, and can earn up to 15,000 bonus Starpoints through that:
SPG DOUBLE TAKE BONUS
Starting on your fourth stay, you can earn up to 15,000 bonus Starpoints:
- Achieve 20 nights and you’ll earn 10,000 Starpoints.
- After 20 nights earn 500 Starpoints for each additional night, up to 5,000 Starpoints.
This essentially works out to 500 bonus Starpoints per night, but only if staying 20+ nights during the promotion period. I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so to me that’s like a marginal return of ~$11 per stay, which I suppose is decent, though not really a reason to switch any stays to Starwood.
Furthermore, if I’m reading this correctly, the nights towards that second promotion only start counting after the first three stays.
I appreciate the idea behind what Marriott is doing here, as they’re really making an effort to align the experience across programs as much as possible. That being said, overall this isn’t all that interesting of a promotion, at least not the global part of it.
Marriott and Starwood have offered stronger promotions this year, though perhaps some people have better targeted offers than I do. That being said, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program doesn’t typically have promotions that are quite as generous, so perhaps this promotion works out quite well for them.
What do you make of Marriott’s new “aligned” global promotion, and were you offered an additional targeted bonus?