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Update: It appears as if those who earned SPG Gold through the Amex Platinum won’t be receiving Marriott Platinum status. I’m working on confirming at the moment who exactly does earn SPG Platinum status, so stay tuned.
Yesterday we learned the full details of Marriott’s new loyalty program, which is launching this August. Personally I think the program is the best case scenario, as I was expecting the new program to be much worse. Instead the new program looks a lot more like Starwood Preferred Guest than Marriott Rewards, with the benefit of improved points earning for hotel stays.
I covered all the changes in detail yesterday, and today want to write a series of posts about some of the changes that I find most interesting, and the things that people seem to be most interested in. I’m in the Seychelles at the moment, so suffice to say that 4:30PM ET time yesterday wasn’t the ideal time for this news to break. 😉
In this post I wanted to talk about how readily available Marriott Platinum status will be this year. It’s something I’ve received tons of questions about, so let’s talk about exactly how this will work.
Marriott is offering transitionary status
As of August of this year, all three loyalty programs are moving to Marriott’s platform, which will obviously be a huge transition, given the number of members we’re talking about. Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are very different loyalty programs, and in order to avoid pulling a bait-and-switch and hugely changing elite benefits mid-tier, a lot of people will see a short term status boost.
Specifically, here’s how status transitions will work this year for those who earned Marriott Rewards status:
The most noteworthy thing here is that Starwood Preferred Guest Gold and Marriott Rewards Gold members will be upgraded to Platinum status in August, and that will be valid through the end of the membership year (which is early next year).
Yes, just about everyone is getting Marriott Platinum status this year
Between August 2018 and January 2019, the ranks of Marriott Platinum members will be massively inflated. Who is getting Platinum status, other than current Marriott Rewards Platinum and SPG Platinum members?
- United MileagePlus Premier Gold members and above who are registered in RewardsPlus receive Marriott Rewards Gold status, and that will be converted to Platinum status
- Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN receive free SPG Gold status, which can be matched to Marriott Rewards Gold status, which as of August will be matched to Marriott Platinum status
- Those with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express who spend at least $30,000 on the card in a calendar year receive SPG Gold status, which as of August will be matched to Marriott Platinum status
- Those who earned 50 elite qualifying nights between the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs will earn Platinum status (for example, those who may have earned 25 elite qualifying nights with each program)
As you might expect, this includes a huge pool of new Platinum members, given that any United MileagePlus Gold member and above, and anyone with an Amex Platinum Card, will suddenly be eligible to receive Marriott Platinum status. Just make sure that you match your current status so that you’re Marriott Rewards Gold prior to August.
What will Amex Platinum & RewardsPlus members receive going forward?
In the future, United elites participating in RewardsPlus and Amex Platinum cardmembers who are enrolled will receive Marriott Gold status. This is obviously a downgrade for those members, as currently Gold members receive free lounge access and breakfast. That’s also the reason that Marriott is upgrading people from Gold to Platinum between August and the end of the year, since they don’t want to pull a mid-year bait and switch.
What benefits will Marriott Platinum members receive?
Marriott Platinum members will receive the following benefits, among other things, as of August:
- Room upgrades subject to availability, including standard suites
- Executive lounge access, and the ability to choose restaurant breakfast as your welcome amenity at most brands
- 15 points per dollar spent (a 50% points bonus)
- Guaranteed 4PM late check-out, except at resorts
The Choice Benefit (which gives you the choice of five Suite Night Awards) can only be earned with 50 elite qualifying nights, so you don’t earn that if you’re just being upgraded to Platinum status. Those Suite Night Awards offer confirmed suite upgrades in advance, rather than suite upgrades subject to availability at check-in.
Suite upgrades subject to availability are going to be done in the same way that SPG has historically done it, where you get a suite as long as it’s available. However, I suspect there will be a learning curve for many Marriott properties, given that this isn’t a benefit the program has historically offered. Furthermore, given the number of Platinum members starting in August, I’d expect these to be pretty rare at first, until the elite ranks are thinned a bit.
I think it’s fair that Marriott is upgrading current Gold members to Platinum status, given that the new program is being implemented mid-year. This is especially generous for those earning the status through the Amex Platinum Card or RewardsPlus. However, those members also won’t be getting as much value out of the program going forward.
The good news is that even going forward, Platinum status won’t be that hard to qualify for, given Marriott’s global footprint. It will take just 50 nights, and you can receive 15 elite qualifying nights just for having a co-branded Marriott credit card.