At some point this August the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs will be merged. While Marriott has shared their vision for what the program will look like, there are so many little details that we’re still not sure of. I believe Marriott is doing everything they can to provide clarity on things, though I’m guessing they’re quite overwhelmed trying to figure this all out themselves.
In the short term there are some pretty cool opportunities due to the new program. For example, starting in August the cost of redemptions at Starwood’s top hotels will go way down for the remainder of the year. It looks like there’s another potential opportunity where SPG members may be able to benefit this year.
SPG’s 50 Night Choice Benefits
Currently SPG Platinum members who earn Platinum status by staying 50 elite qualifying nights (and not 25 stays, or through any other means) receive their pick of a Choice Benefit. The most popular option is 10 Suite Night Awards, though members can instead choose to nominate someone to Gold status, receive a free night award, earn five elite qualifying nights, etc.
Marriott’s 50 & 75 Night Choice Benefits
When the new Marriott program takes effect in August, the good news is that they’ll be introducing Suite Night Awards, which Marriott Rewards otherwise never offered. The way this is structured will be different, though:
- For earning 50 elite qualifying nights you’ll receive five Suite Night Awards or a gift option
- For earning 75 elite qualifying nights you’ll receive five Suite Night Awards or a gift option
So this is great for Marriott Rewards members, since they didn’t receive these in the past, while it’s bad for Starwood Platinum members who ordinarily stay 50-74 nights, since they’ll receive half as many Suite Night Awards. On the plus side, they’ll have more properties at which they can use them.
This year members can earn up to 15 Suite Night Awards
Given the mid-year program transition (which I find to be puzzling), there are some short term opportunities available with the program. Frequent Miler notes one of these opportunities for Starwood Platinum members. Historically Starwood Platinum members can earn up to 10 Suite Night Awards per year, while this year it should be possible to earn up to 15 Suite Night Awards. Specifically:
- If an SPG member has 50 elite qualifying nights before July 27, 2018, they can choose 10 Suite Night Awards as their Choice Benefit
- Then if that member passes 75 nights once the new program launches, they can once again select a Choice Benefit at that 75 night threshold, meaning they could choose a further five Suite Night Awards
This opportunity is only available this year, because in the future you’ll only receive five Suite Night Awards at both the 50 and 75 night threshold. It also seems like the only way you can potentially get all 15 Suite Night Awards is if you have 50 or more elite qualifying nights by late July, but have fewer than 75 nights (if you’re over 75 nights then you wouldn’t receive another Choice Benefit under the new program).
Suite at the St. Regis Dubai Polo Club
This doesn’t necessarily make a huge difference, though this is something to be aware of if you’re expecting to be anywhere close to 50 or 75 nights around late July.
For those of you not familiar with Suite Night Awards, each of them can confirm a one night suite upgrade up to five days in advance, subject to availability. All Marriott Platinum members will receive complimentary suite upgrades subject to availability at the time of check-in.
Will you benefit from this opportunity to earn up to 15 Suite Night Awards this year?