Advertiser Disclosure

Marriott and SPG to Combine on Aug. 18: 5 Things You Need to Know

July 26, 2018
Loyalty Programs, Travel
Marriott Atlanta Airport - Courtesy Marriott International
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Members of Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest now know when the three rewards programs will become one. According to Marriott International, all three will become unified on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018.

The combined program was announced earlier this year, but no date was set for the official switchover. With the merge, frequent guests of each brand will gain the ability to use their points at 6,500 hotels across 29 brands, but will lose benefits unique to each program.

» Learn More: Which kind of traveler benefits most from the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card?

The backstory

All three programs unified under Marriott Rewards will become simpler to use. Instead of using three different websites to book awards, members will receive one account, member number, profile and login to manage rewards.

In addition to earning up to 10 points per dollar spent on most stays, members will also earn points for all their spending at select properties after the programs merge. Qualifying charges include food or drink at hotel restaurants, spa services, as well as up to 5,000 points on Hertz rentals.

However, Starwood Preferred Guest members may find their points were not as valuable as they once were. On Aug. 18, all points will turn into Marriott Rewards, with remaining Starpoints converting at a ratio of one Starpoint to three Marriott Rewards points.

How to prepare

Before moving to a single loyalty program, members of all three can make the most of their points by preparing for the shift:

  1. Book awards before Aug. 18
    When the unified program goes live, all hotels will be unified under one award chart. In this situation, some reward prices will increase. To ensure you get the best rate, be sure to compare the current and future award chart to understand the most effective use of all your points.
  2. Before and after: Check awards for lower pricing
    When the hotels shift categories, not all will increase in price. Some will align in lower categories, meaning planned or booked awards may drop in price. Before committing to an award, check the new award chart to see if your points can go even further.
    Marriott Award Chart starting August 18, 2018
  3. Prepare for downtime on Aug. 18
    As with any transition, technology downtime is to be expected. Marriott is asking guests to avoid logging into their accounts or booking awards when the new award chart goes live. The system transition will start at 6 a.m. Eastern time and is expected to affect the website and call centers for most of the day.
  4. Check lifetime elite status before switchover
    Those who have lifetime status with either Marriott Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest should check their progress before the merge is complete to ensure they are getting the optimal status. While those with lifetime Gold or Platinum in SPG will automatically get the same lifetime status in Marriott Rewards, those who have 750 nights and 10 years of platinum by the end of 2018 will get grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite.
  5. Book Marriott Travel Packages before Aug. 18
    Finally, if you have any Marriott Travel Packages outstanding, consider using the certificates before Aug. 18. In a statement to NerdWallet, a spokewoman for Marriott Rewards confirmed unused certificates from the Chase Marriott Rewards Card will convert to their points equivalent. This will also apply to Marriott Travel Experiences certificates.
    “We are encouraging members with existing travel package certificates to book before August 18,” the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement. “We are currently working on a post-August 18 solution for those who haven’t attached stays to their existing certificates.”

Feature image and reward chart courtesy Marriott International

 

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:

 

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card: Good Fit for Loyal Travelers
7 Guaranteed Ways to Find Cheap Hotel Rooms
5 Items That Make Any Hotel Room Feel Like Home

About the author