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Marriott Merger Details – Effective August 18, 2018

Marriott announced more details of the merger with Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. According to my sources, the official effective date is now August 18, 2018. Initially Marriott just said in August 2018, without a specific day.

Either way, below are some of the expected changes to watch for.

Earning Points

  • Earn 10 points for every $1 spent for stays (exceptions below)
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Element
  • Earn 2.5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay properties
  • Earn points on full-folio room rates, restaurant and bars and qualifying incidentals charged to the room

SPG members will see their points balance triple on August 18, 2018 as a result of the merger.

Elite Status

The new elite status benefits and qualifying requirements are as follows:

Note that existing lifetime status elite members will be honoured as follows:

  • Lifetime SPG Gold Preferred = Lifetime Marriott Gold Elite
  • Lifetime SPG Platinum Preferred= Lifetime Marriott Platinum Elite
  • Lifetime SPG Platinum Preferred with more than 750 nights = Lifetime Marriott Platinum Premier Elite
  • Lifetime Marriott Gold Elite = lifetime Marriott Platinum Elite
  • Lifetime Marriott Platinum Elite = Lifetime Marriott Platinum Premier Elite

Award Chart

The new Marriott award chart will have 7 categories until the end of 2018. Starting sometime in 2019, they will add an 8th category. Below is the chart for a free award night.

Also note that nearly 70% of the hotel properties are going to cost less points to redeem, when this comes into effect.

Airline Transfer Partners

The transfer ratios will be at a 3:1 ratio (which is essentially the same as the current SPG transfer ratio), along a 25% transfer bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott points. Note that several airlines will be added to the existing SPG list.

The airline transfer partners will be:

  • Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus
  • Aeroflot Bonus
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air China PhoenixMiles
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • Alaska Mileage Plan
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Asiana Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • China Eastern Eastern Miles
  • China Southern Sky Pearl Club
  • COPA ConnectMiles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • El Al Matmid
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Quest
  • Frontier Airlines myFrontier
  • GOL Airlines Smiles
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Korean Skypass
  • LATAM Pass Miles
  • Lufthansa Miles and More
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Saudia Airlines Alfursan
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • South African Airways Voyager
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • TAP Air Portugal Victoria
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Virgin Australia Velocity

Co-Branded Credit Card

It looks like American Express Canada will continue to offer is co-branded credit card. Below are the expected changes to their cards.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

  • $120 annual fee (no change)
  • No annual fee for supplementary cardholders (no change)
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at SPG and Marriott Rewards properties (currently offering a promotion of 2 points for every $1 spent)
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 on all other purchases (currently earning 1 point for every $1 spent)
  • Receive an Annual Free Night Award redeemable at any room up of up to 35,000 points (will no longer require the $40,000 spending requirement)
  • Receive complimentary upgrade to Silver Elite Status (none before)
  • Receive upgrade to Gold status after spending $30,000 each year (receive Silver status before)

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card

  • $150 annual fee (no change)
  • $50 annual fee for supplementary cardholders (no change)
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at SPG and Marriott Rewards properties (currently offering a promotion of 2 points for every $1 spent)
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 on gas, dining and travel (currently earning 1 point for every $1 spent)
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 on all other purchases (currently earning 1 point for every $1 spent)
  • Receive an Annual Free Night Award redeemable at any room up of up to 35,000 points (will no longer require the $40,000 spending requirement)
  • Receive complimentary Silver status (none before)
  • Receive Gold status after spending $30,000 each year (receive Silver status before)

If you calculate it more closely there is a devaluation in the earning ratios. Currently you earn 2 point for every $1 spent at SPG/Marriott properties (which should have converted to 6 points per dollar). Also, you currently earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases (which should have converted to 3 points per dollar, not just on gas, dining and travel).

American Express Membership Rewards Transfer

Another annoying devaluation by American Express is that effective August 4, 2018, the current transfer option of Membership Rewards points to Starpoints will end. The new transfer rate will be

  • 1,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points = 1200 Marriott points

Currently, 1,000 MR points = 500 Starpoints (which converts x 3 to 1,500 Marriott points). So if you are sitting on some American Express points that you were planning to convert to SPG, I suggest doing this before August 4.

Thoughts

I think that Marriott has done a relatively great job integrating the top features of SPG (namely the airline transfer ratios).

American Express Canada, on the other hand, has done a devaluation.

For now, most of these changes are just to get the ball rolling. We will see how things change over time. Either way, I am excited by this merger!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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