After yesterday evening’s announcement about the future of the Marriott/SPG/St. Regis loyalty programs, I spent a few hours pouring over everything I could find. Between reading the information from the Marriott website, Dan’s post about the things you should know, posts on Doctor of Credit, Mommy Points and other blogs, and haring what a number of you think over on the Points With a Crew Facebook page, I feel like I have a decent handle on the situation. Even after all of that research, there are still a few things we are waiting to find out.
Which Hotels in Which Category?
With the new changes comes a new award chart. Hotels will now fall within the category 1-7 range with category 8 being added in 2019. As of now, we don’t know where any specific hotels will land.
I enjoyed reading this article from the New York Times regarding the changes. mentions that Marriott’s SVP of Global Loyalty, David Flueck made the point that, “There are more properties where standard award pricing will fall than there are where they will rise.”
Booking Sweet Spot?
If you aren’t familiar with the current SPG or Marriott/Ritz Carlton free night award charts, you might be particularly interested to know that the highest category in each program is as follows:
- SPG: Category 7 for 35,000 SPG points or 105,000 Marriott Rewards when transferred at a rate of 3 Marriott Rewards per 1 SPG point
- Ritz Carlton: Category 5 for 70,000 points
- Marriott: Category 9 for 45,000 points
If you take a look at the new combined chart above, you can see that the highest category between August and December will be category 7 which can be redeemed for 60,000 points per night. There is some real potential for saving points if you will be booking stays at higher end luxury properties like the W Bali – Seminyak (pictured below) that regularly goes for 35,000 SPG points (or 105,000 Marriott Rewards points).
Peak and Off-Peak Awards?
Personally, this is the aspect of the program that I dislike the most. At this point, we don’t know if all hotels will have peak/off-peak times. We also don’t know how broad “peak” might get. Will the full summer season have peak redemption rates? What about spring break or Christmas?
In the same New York Times article I mentioned above, Flueck pointed out that, “There will be roughly the same number of peak and off-peak nights.” It’s unclear if that will be overall or for each property. For some reference, you can take a look at the current peak season dates for SPG properties here.
SPG Flights Program Sticking Around?
SPG members have the option to book flights directly through SPG. This program doesn’t seem to be as popular as the Marriott Nights & Flights program (which IS sticking around) but it still has some value. If nothing else, it can help give a base value to your points. So far, there is no word about if the new program will allow the same ability.
Here is a segment of the redemption chart. You can find the chart in full here.
Earning Elite Status Through SPG Stays
On the main page for the new Marriott program, they suggest combining SPG and Marriott Rewards accounts by August. They also mention that the new program will allow members to earn elite status through nights instead of stays.
The current SPG program lets you earn platinum status after 25 stays. According to this page, SPG members can continue to earn status with 25 stays at SPG-associated properties. This New York Times article suggests that all members can earn status through the new or old program.
It’s somewhat unclear to me exactly how this will shake out. If you combine your accounts in August, will that impact your ability to earn stay based status? What about if you are currently only a Marriott Rewards member, can you still earn status with 25 stays at SPG properties?
How Long Will Status Last?
In the past, both SPG and Marriott Rewards have given status for 14 months after the year in which the status was earned. That means that status earned in 2018 would continue through the end of February 2020.
So far, there hasn’t been an announcement regarding the new elite status expiration date. I think it would be likely that they will keep it at the same 14 month period since both programs have operated that way.
What are your thoughts on the new SPG/Marriott Rewards program? Do you have any questions that you haven’t been able to find an answer to? Leave them in the comments and hopefully we can help answer them!
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Any word on the Ritz-Carlton credit card 100 usd discount on flights (buying 2 tickets)??
You know, I haven’t seen any information that would indicate that is changing. I’ll look into it some more and let you know if I find anything.
there is no evidence that the W & St Regis (which btw is part of SPG, not Marriott, as your “Booking Sweet Spot” paragraph would seem to imply) that are category 7 will book into the new category 7, In fact, it is an almost-certainty that these all-suite resorts will have an additional payment.
Sorry for the typo Arnaud, you are correct, I intended it to say Marriott/Ritz Carlton instead of St. Regis. It has now been fixed.
While I agree that all-suite properties are likely to continue to require an additional payment, not all properties at the top tier of either program are all-suite. The W Bali that I mentioned in the post is currently an SPG category 7 property but does have standard award availability. Since there won’t be a category higher than 7 when the new chart begins in August, it would seem that particular W would have to be a category 7 or lower which could mean substantial point savings.
Why do you refer to Ritz Carlton as St. Regis?
Sorry for the typo Matt! It has been fixed now.
It was a late night of writing 😉
The new policy of suite upgrades is (typically Marriott) ambiguous and unclear. While SPG had a neat and clear guarantee of the best available room
incl. standard suites, I don’t see this character reflected here. As an SPG Plat 50/75 for many years I know that having a concise guarantee on your side is a major benefit. This will probably be gone, I just don’t get how the whole blogosphere has bought the glossy presentation while there are so many unclear and probably worse points to the new programme.
I fully agree. The more clear the policy, the better for everyone in my opinion. I think it will be interesting to see what actually happens when the changes start rolling out. I’m trying to withhold judgement until I can see things in action. Right now, there are still lots of questions about how things will actually work out.
True, we will have to wait until a final judgement – yet we have known the Utah Mormons (and in my case avoided them) for years and I have absolutely no trust in them.
I know I shouldn’t take the bait but… I’m curious what about their Mormonism (or their Utahism) makes you have no trust in them?
The fact that they are from Utah and mor(m)ons has nothing to do with the lack of trust they deserve – it’s just a way of identifying them.
The complete lack of trust in their way of doing business is something they have built up over many years and I tried to avoid them as much as it was possible.
Erica, Marriott has category 8 hotels now costing 45K points. If those go to 60-70-80K, then that will be a huge devaluation. Sure there will be some drops, but what we want are the great aspirational hotels and I see a major increase coming for those.
I plan to purchase a vacation package late in July to hedge against the anticipated big increase in points and peak time.
Byron – you are right! I’ll admit, I’m a bit embarrassed that I missed that. I’m less familiar with the current Marriott reward structure than I am with other hotel chains. Thanks so much for pointing it out so I could fix it!
It will be interesting to see what happens to some of those higher tier properties. It doesn’t seem reasonable to think they would make them a category 5 or 6 in the new program but I suppose it is possible…