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Yesterday Marriott and SPG made a “big” announcement regarding the future of their loyalty programs. Ever since the news broke over 2 years ago that Marriott was buying Starwood, there has been speculation about what their combined loyalty program would look like. Later on, they fixed the transfer ratio as 1 SPG point to 3 Marriott points, and we walked through 3 reasons to transfer SPG points to Marriott and 4 reasons to transfer Marriott points to Starwood (instead of the other way around)
We’ve already given the basics of what changed, so check that out first if you haven’t already
But now I wanted to take a deeper dive on some of the changes as we continue our series on this change
1. Reduced earning on the SPG credit cards
This is probably the biggest one for many people. I know there has been a lot of people that feel that SPG points are “pound for pound” the best points out there and for many people they are one of the main cards for every day spend.
Currently the 2 SPG cards earn 1 Starwood point per dollar spent, with very few bonus categories. Because of the ability to transfer 1 SPG point to 3 Marriott points, you’ve essentialy been able to get 3 Marriott points for $1 spent. But now the new and existing SPG cards will only earn TWO Marriott points for every dollar spent.
We’ll have more information comparing the different credit cards later this week
2. Introduction of “peak” pricing at hotels
We still don’t quite know what it will like, but one change from the announcement was that hotels will now have off-peak, standard and peak prices. Even though the details are still a bit hazy, I’m sure that some of the outsized value that we’ve seen (like late December nights at ski resorts where paid stays are through the roof but award nights cost the same) will be gone.
It remains to be seen how sophisticated the IT system will be to see how the peak and off-peak definitions are – whether they will be more timeshare-y (red / white / blue weeks) or whether hotels will have the ability to define periods themselves (AKA “blackout dates”). It may no longer be able to score World Series hotel deals or Super Bowl hotel deals at the last minute (see below for one such Super Bowl LI deal!)
3. People who get status from anything but LOTS of stays
United elites (Gold and higher) get matched to Marriott Gold which is no longer very useful. Delta Crossover Rewards are going away. The statuses that you get from cards like the American Express Platinum card are only Gold. Even the premium SPG and Marriott cards are only giving out Gold (with a way to spend your way up to Platinum).
So unless you’re a true road warrior spending 50+ nights a year at Marriott hotels (at least!) you’re not likely to get a ton of value from status at Marriott.
What do you think? What is the thing that you’ll miss the most from the new Marriott Rewards program?