Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
Today is the day. The Starwood and Marriott merger is officially here. Now instead of worrying about what that merger might look like in some future that we hope doesn’t come to pass, let’s actually look at what it means to those of us who care quite a bit about our hotel points and/or elite status. We don’t know everything let, but some big questions now have real answers straight from Marriott.
Starwood Points Convert 1:3 to Marriott Reward Points
I’ll jump to the chase with this big part of the announcement and share that 1:3 is the SPG:Marriott/Ritz Carlton points transfer ratio, and beginning later today you should be able to transfer points between the programs at that ratio if you choose at members.marriott.com. This means that 30,000 SPG points could become 90,000 Marriott Rewards points and vice versa.
This number feels about right to me. Less would have certainly been a disappointment and more would have probably overly favored SPG points. Marriott award nights range from 7,500 – 45,000 points per night and Ritz Carlton properties go from 30,000 – 70,000 points per night.
SPG award nights range from 2,000 – 35,000 points per night. Also keep in mind that the personal Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card is offering a 25,000 point sign-up bonus after hitting the spending requirement and the Marriott card is offering an 80,000 point bonus, so that more or less jives with the 1:3 ratio. I’m honestly much more interested in Marriott points now that I could use them to book SPG properties than I was yesterday when I couldn’t.
You Can Link Your Accounts Now
I already linked my accounts and it was instant and beyond easy. They basically linked the accounts for me by just asking me to verify that my Marriott Rewards number ended in certain numbers after I logged in with my SPG number.
Elite Status Matches and Domino Effect
Once you link your SPG and Marriott accounts you will receive a status match across the two programs.
Marriott Gold = SPG Gold
Marriott Platinum = SPG Platinum
Mid-tier elite status is okay, but is not really anything to get overly excited about. However, if you are a top tier elite in either program, then you will now have the ability be a top tier elite with both programs, and that is pretty great. Top tier status is useful by itself, but the status ‘domino effect’ can also help you out in potentially surprising ways with other programs. For example, those who already have SPG Platinum status should now end up with United Silver status that they can get by linking their newly minted Marriott Platinum status to their United account.
Conversely, SPG Platinum members enjoy some elite-like perks when flying on Delta, so those who match their Marriott Platinum to SPG Platinum should now also be able to get in on that Delta action.
Spend Your Way to SPG Platinum
Previously it was also not possible to just spend your way to SPG Platinum status as the co-branded SPG Amex only awarded mid-tier Gold status if you spent $30,000 on the card each year. However, with the Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card from Chase you get Platinum status in the Ritz Carlton program if you spend $75,000 on the card each year. This should then match to SPG Platinum if you link your Marriott and SPG accounts. Spending $75,000 per year on one credit card to get top tier status may not apply to many of us, but it is at least worth a mention as now being possible with SPG via a bit of a domino chain.
Maintaining Two Programs at Least Until 2018
The FAQs state that the loyalty programs will continue to operate as separate entities for some time and that they don’t anticipate combining the programs until 2018.
What We Don’t Know
There are several things about the SPG and Marriott merger that we still don’t know. For example, I do not know what happens to the co-branded credit cards, how will lifetime status be handled, and will the SPG airline transfer partners be retained long-term. Perhaps some hints to some of these questions and other remaining questions will come in this morning’s press conference, but for now there are still many unknowns that we may not know the answers to for a while..
What do you think about the 1:3 ratio, status matching, and other info shared in today’s announcement regarding the SPG and Marriott merger?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.