Ouch: Marriott Will Limit Elite Credits To One Room Per Night

You guys have asked a lot of great questions regarding Marriott’s new loyalty program, which will be rolled out in August. I’m working on getting answers to all of these questions. In some cases I thought I had the answer but am now realizing that the information I had was ambiguous, while in other cases I didn’t think to ask the question at first.

Several of you asked about what the policy will be for Marriott’s new program when it comes to earning elite qualifying nights for multiple rooms. I realized that’s something that isn’t published and that I hadn’t asked, so I wanted to get you guys an answer.

Different hotel programs have different policies when it comes to earning hotel points for multiple rooms. This is an area where Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest have historically had different policies:

  • Marriott Rewards has let you earn points for up to three rooms per night, assuming the member pays for all three rooms
  • Starwood Preferred Guest has let you earn elite qualifying nights and points for up to three rooms per night, assuming the member pays for all three rooms

In other words, historically both programs have awarded the same number of points for comparable stays, while Starwood has awarded three times as many elite nights.

I followed up with Marriott regarding what the policy will be going forward, and have an answer. The new Marriott program will award points for up to three rooms, but will only award elite nights for up to one room, so they’re keeping the Marriott policy. This change will kick in as of August.

Personally I’m sad to see this change, because I always viewed this as a big competitive advantage of Starwood over other hotel loyalty programs. I’d always go out of my way to plan stays where I was traveling with others at Starwood properties, so that I’d earn elite nights for all the rooms.

That won’t be the case going forward, and I’ll probably be much more likely to book stays when traveling with others at Hyatt, thanks to their “Guest of Honor” benefit for Globalists on award bookings.

Are you sad to see Starwood’s policy of awarding elite nights for up to three rooms disappear? Did you ever take advantage of that?

Comments

  1. My guess would be that this was used so infrequently that it won’t move the needle much. Marriott has a huge portfolio of business travelers (wide availability, lower costs) Where even in a group everyone wants their own points and status credits.

  2. That surely is a bummer. I always tried to book SPG properties with travelling with friends, family and colleagues and will also look for alternatives now. This together with the unclear suite upgrade non-guarantee leave a bad taste…

  3. Similarly, when booking a room under my SPG number for another guest, that guest has always been provided with all benefits as if they were me. In other words, what mattered to Starwood in terms of providing stay benefits (breakfast, late checkout, amenity, etc.) was who booked it, not who’s staying there. Will that continue?

  4. Sounds like all my mistresses will have to share the same room now. I can see the silver lining here.

    Long live Trump! As a vegetable!!

  5. Thanks Lucky,

    I was one of the ones asking about this so super appreciate your following up. I often travel with family, especially to Europe where you NEED two rooms, and SPG had a strong portfolio. This basically means I don’t get elite qualifying benefits from my point redemptions on the second room anymore and perfectly plays into the hands of other hotel groups and/or AirBnB who were already more competitive when it comes to family travel.

    Truly shortsighted and I hope that Marriott reconsiders. It’s a small “give” to a community that they can afford to be a bit more generous with given all of these change.

  6. Meh, yeah its a thing but reasonable in the scope of all of this. Hyatt has the same policy. You could stay at a Hyatt… but you will get less points (even factoring their higher value).

    Marriott had the best earn in the business and they just made it better for top level people, 17.5 points is absolutely outstanding, I will take that over this factor. Do the math and 4 night Citi prestige stay with Marriott is basically a 50% discount on any hotel anywhere (25% discount + Marriott points + credit card points).

  7. If you get new Marriott Platinum status after spending $75k on the new credit card…. are you still not eligible for the 5 Suite Award Nights?

    On the official website it has a remark next to the 5 Suite Award Night for Platinums: “*Awarded with 50 qualifying nights”

  8. David is right, this pretty much makes Airbnb and the rest more enticing. I for example probably won’t look to stay at SPG properties anymore when with family. It’s helped me qualify for Platinum in the past. I guess that won’t be the case anymore.

  9. If I book two rooms as a Plat, will people in both rooms get breakfast? That’s the question that isn’t answered in this post. If no, it really discourages family travel.

  10. Thanks. Can we also get clarification the issue here regarding LTP -https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/starwood-starwood-preferred-guest/1309206-discussion-spg-lifetime-gold-spg-lifetime-platinum-status-46.html

  11. Honnestly, this is very low on the list of features and applies to few people. Familles are just going to be happy to earn all the points. I used this feature once with SPG when I booked some rooms for a bachelor party.

  12. @Lucky, any news about the character or suite upgrades? Guarantee of best available room incl. suites if available or just at the discretion of the hotel?

  13. @Cedric, I know a lot of people (including myself) who have actively used this feature quite a lot… I don’t think it’s a minor thing. Certainly a good argument to move those stays elsewhere.

  14. Yeah, I don’t quite understand the logic behind not awarding elite nights for more than 1 room. You are paying for the extra rooms and the decision to buy those rooms is being made by the loyal customer, because of that loyalty they have built with them. What difference does it make if the customer buys 3 rooms from you on the same night or on different trips? Just seems like a disincentive to book your family travel with them, which I have to imagine are the more lucrative bookings for Marriott since family vacation are likely longer stays with more incidental spending on restaurants, spa and excursions. At least for me that’s the case. Silly shortsightedness if you ask me.

  15. Competitors stock price (airbnb) included will rise after these changes. Giving out some basic egg bread for free vs. losing millions of travelers… cannot say Marriott has made a smart move here. Hotel choices are plenty in most areas… Loyalty program should be a way to entice more customers and more spends, especially for those who are on the fence. Now those, not so few, people are gone. Hilton, Hyatt, even IHG and airbnb will edge ahead after these changes. Not so smart, Marriott.

  16. @Rob. I am with you on this. I am SPG platinum 50 (usually just barely) and have made it to this level by combing business trips (only 1 room) with family trips (multiple rooms). This could cost me Platinum status. I really hope Marriott reconsiders. I would prefer to continue staying at hotels vs going the airbnb route.

  17. I’m a Plat100 who took advantage of the 3 rooms earning 3 elite nights a lot! This hurts, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Marriott likely wants to keep the same tech platform they already use, and they likely did the math to realize that not offering this benefit likely doesn’t cost them too many customers or room nights in the overall scheme of things.

    I can’t win ‘em all.

  18. @Lucky, many thanks for all the information. You must be exhausted! One thing I have not seen an answer to is the following; I am currently Platinum Premier. What does that make me come Aug 1 and until year end? Platinum premier wasn’t a category with explicit criteria prior to the August changes, at least as far as I’m aware.
    Thanks!

  19. I have a family of 5 with teenagers. I now have to book two rooms.
    I have a European trip this August that will be affected by this. One 2 room 5 night stay at a Marriott and one 2 room 5 night stay at a Sheraton.
    I have read that existing bookings will follow existing policy.
    Therefore I should get 10 nights credit for the Sheraton stay and 5 for the Marriott.
    Can someone confirm?
    I also think this is shortsighted. As the amount I pay in cash or points does not change whether its 2 rooms at once or 1 room 2 separate times so why the difference in benefits extended?
    I also have an airbnb stay during this same vacation, and I am tempted to switch the Marriott property over to one if I find a property I like.

  20. Marriott is just doing what every other hotel chain has been doing the past few years…making us all free agents. Gone are the days of loyalty, now we’re all just after the best overall deal. Add in a couple of credit cards for mid-level status and we’ve got all we need. It’s stunning that chains are foolishly pushing away regular guests! Especially when many benefits, like this one, are probably not widely used and thus would have little impact on the bottom line. Curious that they’d devalue a guest, let alone a guest booking multiple rooms.

    I used this benefit just 2 weeks ago, and I paid more for the hotel stay than some nearby VRBO properties…this will sway me in the future, I’ll pick cheaper over benefits 🙁

  21. @Robert – I agree but Hilton has been the least worse. I get treated very well as a diamond and am upgraded more times than not and no I don’t wave the terms and conditions at them.

    Long gone are the gravy train days of yore. Now it’s show me the money. With airlines and hotels. They don’t care if it comes out of your pocket or your companies and they shouldn’t.

    All these changes largely hurt the recreational traveler and the infrequent business traveler.

    Regardless, I’ll take a Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton any day of the week over Airbnb. I don’t like to stay at my relatives houses let alone a stranger (whether they’re there or not).

  22. 75% of Hilton and Marriott business is business travelers. I doubt this will be a big impact, but I share your sentiment when traveling to Sandals resorts – you can get credit for 2 other trips per year but it can be a pain in the butt to do so.

  23. With Lifetime status, how is the ‘years elite’ aspect calculated?

    For example: if I qualify for platinum in 2018, fail to requalify in 2019, and earn it again in 2020, is this 3 years elite (since I was platinum for 3 years), or only 2?

    Thanks!

  24. @KMLC – I had the same question and the SPG PLT line told me it is based on qualifying years only. So, 2017 at this point is the last year they are counting. You would need to qualify for 2019 this year for 2018 to count.

  25. All of these changes both the good and the bad, are poorly timed. I’ve got my travel for 2018 already planned through the end of the summer and starting to think about fall/winter. My plans thus far have been to re-qualify for SPG Plat, by using current rules, which if I understand correctly, will be a moot point. Why not commence all these changes at the START of the qualification year? Not smack in the middle. The bad things, unfortunately are enough of a disappointment it’s hard to look forward to the good. As someone said… “so much for loyalty.”

  26. I think people are underestimating how huge this was for people. I just used this for my parents when I made a booking so I got additional nights. If I wanted to book 2 rooms bc I had 2 kids I should get credit for that. This whack and a major disappointment.

    I have to guess they didn’t think I this one through. I agree with Rob.

  27. Hello Lucky,

    Thanks for your update on earning multiple rooms per night.

    I often travel with my family during my business trips (especially during the summer), thus usually book 2 rooms per stay. I can say that in the last five years, my second room booking has helped me to achieve SPG Platinum status yearly and that is why all my hotel stays had been with SPG properties.

    Now, with this new policy, Marriott will definitely make me book more stays with Hilton since I can credit all rooms toward my Hilton elite status.

    I truly think Marriott is shortsighted on this matter since people in this group has been bringing additional business to SPG in past years and now they will leave since it does not benefit them anymore.

  28. This policy has led me in the past to book my team at an SPG property many times, as long as the other members of the team don’t mind my getting the points and credit. This means that I will no longer push to have us all at an SPG (or whatever it will be called) property. Hard to see that they are coming out ahead with this, in my case at least they are losing a lot of booking nights for little cost. If it’s worth it to give out points for one night why not for three? The other aspect is vacation, where I have often booked two rooms at SPG properties (and have stays booked in Italy next Christmas with the family). I will rethink this now that I don’t get the credits, and VRBO becomes much more attractive (no free bfast but we will have a kitchen and a much homier environment, and also probably save some $$).

  29. This was a huge thing for me since I frequently traveled to conferences with work colleagues (scientists do less travel than business travelers) who were happy to let me book and also enjoyed the platinum benefits. For me, it secured my platinum status.
    It was also the reason we chose SPG properties over potentially better or cheaper hotels (especially in Chicago) but loyalty made me stay at Westin properties.
    If this was so infrequent, I also don’t see why it was removed then. Besides people doing mattress runs in Poland or Asia, I also don’t see how this was hurting business that bad. Really disappointed to see this go.

  30. @lucky

    Any chance you could share this thread and some of the comments with the powers that be at Marriott? Sounds like a pretty vocal community of people that would like this to be reconsidered? Thanks!

  31. What is going to happen with transferring spg points to an airline. Now for every 20,000 you get extra 5000. How will this work after change over?

  32. Also disappointed for the multi room booking not getting Elite night.

    Will not make the extra miles to book with SPG/Marriott anymore.

  33. As a compromise, why not extend the benefit for family multi-room bookings?
    ie Immediate family who exceeds occupancy of a single room.
    When booking on points, not all hotels make family sized rooms available or they are much more expensive than two ‘standard’ rooms.

  34. This is a much bigger deal than most see.. I have been SPG Plat for 12 years straight and in the Ambassador program for the last 8 years straight. I achieved a lot of this through my small business traveling with employees. We exhibit at several trade shows per year and I always book 3 rooms for this.

    Thankfully I am now lifetime Platinum and in the SPG Ambassador program, now unfortunately Marriott puts me as a top tier of SPG member around the middle of their new program. I am simply lifetime platinum, and above me is lifetime PREMIER platinum and then the Marriott Ambassador program which requires a minimum $20k annual spend and only counts 1 night per stay even though I am paying for 3 nights. SO PETTY!

    In addition to this big hit which will not allow me to reach 100 nights per year, I will lose my Ambassador status, I will no longer get 4pm late checkout (only 2pm), I will lose your 24, I will lose 48 hour guarantee and of course, reward stays no longer count towards elite qualifying nights.

    I beg anyone to tell me what Marriott has done to please SPG top tier members like me who have given a huge amount of loyalty over more than a decade. This is a complete slap in the face on all counts!

  35. This is ashame. It’s apparent Marriott cares for only the business travelers to achieve platinum status and not also families that book 2-3 rooms a night for a week vacation twice a year. These folks like myself can’t stay in a hotel 50-75 nights but are willing to pay for it. They should really reconsider this.

  36. I agree this is an unfortunate decision by Marriott. Like others said, this benefit has led me to book with SPG on more that one occasion because I have a family of five. And conceptually the SPG policy has always made more sense than the Marriott one because you are paying for the room either way.

  37. Makes sense tbh; but still, it would certainly be very nice if they maintained multiple room credit for those with families even if they scaled it back to two instead of three rooms.

  38. This is a big disappointment for me as I often travel with family and have taken advantage of SPG’s policy in the past.

  39. What about SPG bookings made before the new program announcement but occur after Aug?
    One person on FT posted that they were told current bookings would use current policy.
    Similar to bookings made before a Cat change.

    @Lucky Can you add this to your questions as this is very relevant to the subject of this article.

  40. For me this is the game changer
    I am lifetime gold and for 5 years plat with 600 nights since 1992
    We have come to an age where we can invite our children and grandchildren on Vacation. We have done that several times. We have “paid a lot” for some of the SPG hotels, for example the Tribute Portofolio in Miami. We have done it because it’s a nice hotel, and it makes sure I keep my platinum.
    In all fairness to the hotels, almost everyone of them also let the privileges like breakfast, lounge access, late check out etc. be valid for all rooms, so everything taken into consideration it has been worthwhile for us to take the SPG’s hotel
    Remember in Europe we dont have the credit card possibilities, and in Scandinavia we hardly have neither SPG nor MARIOTT hotels

    Anyway, if this is the true, it will be very very difficult for me just to qualify for platinum. It will be almost impossible to reach the 75 nights, and it will be completely impossible to reach the 100 Nights and the ambassador service i have enjoyed the last two years.
    By the way i checked with my ambassador. My spend was 21K and 26K for theese two Years
    That means of course also, that if I cannot qualify as platinum, all the advantages goes away.
    Ole

  41. Perhaps leave feedback on this with your ambassador contacts. If enough complain and pass on feedback, perhaps they will come to a compromise (wishful thinking)…

  42. If Marriott is not reconsidering this plan, then they will loose a lot of business from small business owners who booked their team at SPG hotels over other chains. This would be very short sighted as most of these stays are at higher rates than leisure travelers and the points alone will not cut it for me. I would move all our business elsewhere.

    It does not cost them much to keep the elite might credit for 3 rooms. They took away the stay credit anyway, so at least the night credit for up to 3 rooms needs to stay especially as the more useful benefits don’t kick in until 75 qualifying nights now.

    Is there a petition we can start to ask them to reconsider this for the new program?

    The other thing I hope they reconsider is breakfast at ritz Carlton hotels. Why would they be different from say st Regis or some high end design hotels which now also include free breakfast for plats?

  43. Goodbye Platinum, goodbye Lifetime platinum. It’s impossible for a non-business traveller to ever achieve Platinum like this.

  44. This already applied to me. I booked a room for me and 2 more rooms for colleagues in the same hotel back in March. All booked and paid for by me and on my one bill. Only credited for my room nights. Very annoying as that was the whole reason for booking that hotel!

    In future if i don’t get credit for my families rooms when i travel with them then i will look for other hotels and chains. Been platinum for 5 years now with SPG but it seems Marriott just don’t know how to treat their loyal customers.

  45. Seems Marriott (and some people here) think that the points are important but to me and many others it is all about the status tiers. Sure the points are occasionally handy but what i really care about is the lounge access and late checkout from SPG platinum. I achieve this because i do several family trips a year with multiple rooms. I am then loyal on my 40 or so business travel nights a year,.

    Unfortunately seems a trend and Marriott will kill all the good of SPG. Even trying to get an answer from them on an issue is impossible.

  46. There isn’t a simple way to do Points pooling within the same household and not able to get credits on family trips for multiple rooms will make me turn to a Hilton. I loved SPG and have platinum status but I received status due to family trips not business. Therefore, with gold status on Hilton I can have breakfast for family as it will be near impossible to keep status with Marriott in the future. Ashame!

  47. I’m a life gold member with over 500 nights. I travel with my family. Always book 2 rooms and spend around 30 days a year, mostly in the summer. Was so happy with SPG as I always qualify for platinum. Now with Marriott new policy of not counting the other room night status I must say goodbye, unless they consider this.

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