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Earlier today 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)

Today’s announcement came with some serious hype and secrecy, and in the world of “extreme” miles and points travel hackers, we have been on edge with speculation for weeks.  You can read the official Marriott press release, or check out coverage from Doctor of Credit, View from the Wing, One Mile at a Time, Frequent Miler, Award Travel 101, and Miles to Memories among others.

But, for the abbreviated version, here are 5 things you need to know.  Our plan is to follow this up with some more detailed analysis over the next few days.

  1. NOTHING IS CHANGING UNTIL AUGUST 1ST!  There was a lot of talk over the past week of whether you should make any speculative bookings / transfers.  I am pleased that there was no unannounced devaluation (cough, cough, are you listening Alaska?)
  2. No more breakfast for Gold elite members – breakfast will be complimentary for Platinum members (50 nights).  No credit cards give any status upfront that translates to breakfast. As Charles over on the Points With a Crew miles and points Facebook said – “Biggest disappointment/anger point: breakfast is now completely out of reach for anybody except road warriors. That’s a massive hit for normal loyalists, especially families. “
  3. Combination of elite status levels from Silver (10 nights), Gold (25), Platinum (50), Platinum Premier (75), Platinum Premier with Ambassador (100 nights and $20K spend).
  4. No (major) changes to airline transfer partners or ratio – I know many of us were holding our breath on that one
  5. There will be 8 hotel categories, and staring in 2019 they will add off-peak, standard and peak pricing to each category
  6. Oh did I mention nothing is changing until August 1st?

Now it’s your turn.  What’s your take on the new Marriott Rewards program?  Anything stand out to you as especially good or bad?  Leave a note in the comments!

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