Marriott + SPG Combined Program – Winners and Losers

So we just heard from Marriott + SPG on how they are going to officially combine the programs under one banner. I don’t want to go too far in depth because Gary and Lucky have already done a great job at commenting on this (as usual), but I will just come out and state the winners and losers.

First I would like to say that the news isn’t as bad as I thought it would be and it certainly wasn’t an overnight devaluation of points. Without further adieu, here is what we found out:

–> One combined program as of Aug 1, 2018

The Losers:
  • SPG credit card spenders who now receive just 2 Marriott points per $ spent as opposed to 3. So earning airline miles via the SPG credit card isn’t that great anymore. (THIS HURTS THE MOST)
  • Marriott Rewards members can no longer earn elite stay credit for more than 1 room per night. This makes status much harder to reach for families
  • SPG AMEX Business Card Members will no longer get Sheraton Club Lounge Access as of Aug 1, 2018
  • SPG Gold Members no longer get 4 pm late check out or breakfast benefits as Marriott Gold members
  • Starting in 2019 those qualifying for top tier status can no longer do it via stays . There is a spend requirement for Ambassadors @ $20,000 and Platinum members have a 50 night requirement.
  • SPG Platinum members no longer get 10 suite night awards, just 5
  • Off-Peak/peak Pricing as of 2019 for members of both programs
The Winners:
  • People who spend a lot of money at SPG hotels get an extra 30-50% points depending on status or tier. (eg. base SPG member now earns 10 points/$ spent vs 6 points/$ spent)
  • SPG Members looking to redeem points at aspirational properties (eg. St. Regis Bali etc) will see themselves paying the equivalent of only 20,000 SPG points vs 30-35k spent before Aug 1
  • Marriott Lifetime Gold Members receive Marriott Lifetime Platinum under the new program
  • Marriott Platinum and higher members can get upgraded to best available suite or room based on availability.
  • Suite night award benefits comes to Marriott Platinum members (5 every year)
  • For those who stay at both SPG and Marriott properties, you can combine number of nights to qualify for elite status under the new program rules.
Hasn’t Changed….. Yet
  • SPG point transfers to airlines effectively remains the same with the 20% bonus.
  • Marriott Flight + Hotel Packages are here to stay
  • Marriott’s United Airlines partnership is unchanged
  • Not all Marriott standard rooms are available for points redemptions just yet
Likely Ending or Ending this year
  • SPG-Emirates partnership
  • SPG-China Eastern partnership
  • SPG-Delta partnership
What we are still waiting on
  • We have no clue what properties will be put into what categories under the new program. If current category 9 Marriotts turn into Category 8s under the new program, it could mean 100% increase in prices. SPG properties could get cheaper, but this all depends on the hotel category system. I refrained from putting that in here because we don’t know where what is going yet. 
  • Apparently there are some changes coming for the Marriott Flight + Hotel Packages. Who knows what that will be?

Bottom Line:

Overall, I would say these changes are fair with one caveat: the devaluation of the number points earned per dollar using the SPG AMEX Card. We are yet to hear about hotel categories and the changes there so we aren’t out of the woods yet. If you have any doubts about that aspect, book now and get a refund later if it costs less after the merging is complete. 

Let me know if I missed something because I hurriedly put this together…..

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