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.
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:
- Reader Ben1982 posted in the Ask Lucky forum saying that the SPG Platinum “thank you” certificates (that you can give to employees) are only valid through June 30, 2018, at the moment, while in the past they’ve been valid through the end of the year
- A few days ago HH_Cash on Twitter messaged me on Twitter saying that the SPG Amex in Canada is only offering double Starpoints for hotel spend through February 15, 2018
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…