Marriott Announces New Combined Marriott Loyalty Program

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Marriott Hotels acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September of 2016. And that created the world's largest hotel company. Now with 30 brands of hotels and three separate reward programs, we knew a consolidated rewards program would be coming. And as of yesterday, it's official. Marriott announced a new combined Marriott loyalty program coming August 1st.

New Combined Marriott Loyalty Program

Starting August 2018, Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards and Ritz Carlton Rewards will combine into one loyalty program. Despite the anxiety with any loyalty program changes, the new program will put your points into one easy to use interface. And for the most part, there’s a lot less red tape than you’d expect from a new "enhanced" points program.

Overall, It’s Easier

For most travelers who hardly keep up with their exact points balances or know how to transfer points and what not, the program is easier. There’s one chart to tell you how many points you’ll need, there’s one points currency that covers all Marriott, Ritz and Starwood Hotels and you can use your points on almost any date, with greater ease. And in general, a lot of hotels and resorts will require less points for free nights. #Winning

No Black Out Dates

Another improvement with the new program is no black out dates. If a hotel or resort has a standard room available, you can now use your points to stay for free. This is an improvement on the previous Marriott program.

If You Had SPG Or Marriott Points Already

SPG & Marriott points will soon be equal. If you had 10,000 SPG points, you’ll soon have 30,000 Marriott points. Just multiply by three. If you have 30,000 Marriott, well you’ll still have 30,000 Marriott Rewards points. Going forward, basic members will earn 10 points per dollar on hotel stays. Frequent guests will earn up to 17.5! Definitely some improvements here too.

Easier To Earn Basic Status, Harder To Earn Platinum & Above

Silver Elite: Staying 10 nights in a year in just Starwood or just Marriott hotels was a bit tricky. But now that both groups count together as one, getting to Silver status after 10 nights at any Marriott, Starwood or Ritz property is much easier. And while silver status doesn't offer a ton of benefits, you'll still get a few extra perks like 10% points bonus and priority late checkout.

Gold Elite: The second tier in the new program is Gold Elite. And this is where things may get a bit confusing. This level is comparable to the current SPG Gold, not Marriott Gold. To earn this status, you’ll need to complete 25 nights in a calendar year, which is the same requirement currently in place for SPG Gold. With the new Marriott Gold Elite, you get complimentary enhanced internet, 25% points bonus, priority late checkout and a welcome gift of points.

Platinum Elite: The next tier in the newly combined program is Platinum Elite, which will require 50 nights in a calendar year. This is the new level for existing Marriott Golds and SPG Platinums, and it keeps most of the existing perks. Platinum Elite will come with complimentary enhanced internet, 50% points bonus, priority late checkout (4pm), welcome gift of points, breakfast or welcome amenity, lounge access, guaranteed room type and up to 5 suite night awards per year.

Platinum Premier Elite: Finally the fourth elite status level in the new program is Platinum Premier Elite which you'll earn after 75 nights. These elite members will also receive complimentary enhanced internet, 75% point bonus, priority late checkout (4pm), welcome gift of points, breakfast or welcome amenity, lounge access, room upgrades (including suites), guaranteed room type, United Premier Silver status through RewardsPlus and up to 10 suite night awards per year.

Platinum & Platinum Premier Breakfast At More Hotels

One of the main reasons we strive to obtain hotel elite status is for the free breakfast benefit. And in most cases we aren't talking about a muffin and juice, but a full, delicious breakfast. And now 23 of the 30 Marriott brands will participate in the free breakfast program for platinum and platinum premier elite members in the new combined Marriott loyalty program. It would’ve been nice to see Ritz Carlton join the free breakfast game, but 23 brands is still an improvement. And we can't wait to utilize our free breakfast at hotels like St. Regis and Luxury Collection hotels.

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More Hotels = Better For Members

Starwood members will not be able to earn redeem points at Marriott Hotels. That includes brands like Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott, Courtyard, and Autograph Collection. On the flip side of things, Marriott and Ritz Carlton Reward members will not be able to earn and redeem points at brands like St. Regis, W Hotels and Aloft.

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Redeeming Points

Starting in August, the new combined Marriott Loyalty Program will start using a new combined reward chart. Overall, we are pretty happy with the changes. And in particular, most SPG properties like St. Regis and Luxury Collection hotels will actually require less points for free nights under the new combined program. Here's the reward change that will take effect in August.

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Our Take

Travelers were on edge for the past week in anticipation of Marriott's announcement. And most thought Marriott would rip apart the two reward programs. When in fact, the new combined Marriott loyalty program actually brings some positive changes. And overall, there are very few negatives we can find with the merged program. And you'll be able to earn and redeem points at 30 brands of hotels and at over 6,000 properties!

There are still a lot of other changes to work through including all kind of changes to the existing SPG and Marriott Credit Cards plus new Credit Cards launching later this year. We will detail those changes in an upcoming blog post.