It’s coming soon… In August, Marriott, SPG, and Ritz will combine their separate rewards programs into a single unified program. We don’t yet know when exactly in August this will happen, but if there are things you want to get done before the programs merge, now is the time. Take a look at the following checklist items to decide which you should do before it’s too late:
Table of Contents
Buy points at a discountExpired July 20th
- Buy Marriott travel packages (Last chance at current prices)
- Book awards which will be going up in price (Lock in current award prices)
- Book awards which will be going down in price (Hold award availability. Call in August to re-price)
Sign up for the Ritz card (Get Platinum status & 2 free nights anywhere)The Ritz card is unavailable for new signups as of July 26 2018
- Complete $75K spend on Ritz card (Last chance to earn Platinum Premier status with Ritz card)
- Spend with SPG cards (Last chance to earn 3X rewards)
- Earn 50 SPG nights by July 27th (Get 10 suite night awards plus chance to get 5 more later in year)
- Book multiple SPG rooms per stay (Last chance to get elite credit for up to 3 rooms)
- Join RewardsPlus if you have United Gold status or better (Get Platinum status in new program)
- Book multiple Marriott meetings (May be last chance to get more than 10 elite nights per year)
- Transfer all household points to one account
Buy SPG Starpoints for 35% off (ends today)
Today is the last day to buy Marriott Rewards points cheaply via SPG. Starwood is offering 35% off the purchase of Starpoints, but the sale ends today.
- Direct link to this promotion (this is our affiliate link, though keep in mind that you can shop through a portal to go to Points.com to save a bit more)
Via this sale, you can buy Starpoints for 2.275 cents each. And, since Starpoints convert to Marriott Rewards 1 to 3, this is equivalent to buying Marriott Rewards points for only 0.75 cents each. That’s 40% off the usual purchase price for Marriott Rewards of 1.25 cents per point.
But… Is it really worth buying these points? In the post “Should you invest in Starpoints now?” I argued that the answer depends on how you’ll use the points. For some purposes, it makes sense. For others, not so much. The best deal, in my opinion, is to buy enough points to be able to purchase a Marriott Travel Package. See: “Greg’s Travel Package Advice” for complete coverage of this option.
Buy Marriott travel packages (Last chance at current prices)
Marriott travel packages currently offer a way to convert Marriott points to airline miles at an attractive conversion rate. This will change when the new program is introduced sometime in August. If you have lots of Marriott and/or SPG points and you can make good use of airline miles, you should jump on this now.
When you purchase a travel package, you get airline miles plus a 7 night stay certificate that can be used at a later date. To-date, we still don’t know what will happen to unused stay certificates after the merger. Marriott has been secretive about what will happen. My guess is that the certificates will become more valuable either because they’ll be converted to enough points to book the same stay, or because Marriott will be generous in how they map the old certificates to the new award chart.
Complete coverage can be found here: Greg’s Travel Package Advice.
See also: Potential huge win with Marriott Travel Packages before August.
Book awards which will be going up in price (Lock in current award prices)
Many of the best hotels in the Marriott portfolio will be going way up in price with the new program. Fortunately award prices will be capped at 60K per night for the first 6 months or so, but that’s still a significant increase over Marriott’s current award chart that caps at 45K per night. Marriott’s website showing the new award pricing makes it easy to identify the hotels going up in price (found here), but as I write this, that page isn’t working. Instead, here are lists of hotels that will be increasing more than 10K per night…
Marriott hotels increasing more than 10K per night:
|The Cove Atlantis, Autograph Collection|
|Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel|
|Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection|
|Domes of Elounda, Autograph Collection|
|The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel|
|Boscolo Exedra Roma, Autograph Collection|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Marriott’s St. Kitts Beach Club|
|Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection|
|Marriott’s Club Son Antem|
|Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort|
|Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel|
|London Marriott Hotel County Hall|
|London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square|
|London Marriott Hotel Park Lane|
|Fairfield Inn & Suites Virgin Zion National Park|
|JW Marriott Essex House New York|
|JW Marriott Nashville|
|JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot|
|Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, Boston|
|Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Diego|
|Marriott’s Crystal Shores|
|Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas|
|Marriott’s Fairway Villas|
|Marriott’s Imperial Palms Villas|
|Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u|
|Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas|
|Marriott’s Royal Palms|
|Marriott’s Sabal Palms|
|Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club|
|Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club|
|MVW Streamside Douglas at Vail|
|MVW Streamside Evergreen at Vail|
|SpringHill Suites Springdale Zion National Park|
|Union Station Hotel Nashville, Autograph Collection|
|Vail Marriott Mountain Resort|
|Virgin Islands (British)|
|Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection|
|Virgin Islands (US)|
|Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove|
SPG hotels increasing more than 10K per night (after converting current prices 1 to 3):
|Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buenos Aires|
|Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna|
|Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant, Quebec|
|Sheraton on the Falls Hotel|
|The Westin Grand, Vancouver|
|The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain|
|The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa|
|Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers|
|Twelve at Hengshan, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Shanghai|
|Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague|
|Le Metropolitan, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Paris|
|Falisia, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Portopiccolo|
|Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo|
|The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun|
|The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya|
|Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove|
|Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa|
|United Arab Emirates|
|Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina|
|Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa|
|Great Northern Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, London|
|Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh|
|Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow|
|Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive|
|Le Meridien Cambridge-MIT|
|Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica|
|Royal Palm South Beach Miami, a Tribute Portfolio Resort|
|Sheraton Boston Hotel|
|Sheraton Broadway Plantation Resort Villas|
|Sheraton Commander Hotel|
|Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel|
|Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort|
|Sheraton Lakeside Terrace Villas at Mountain Vista, Avon, Vail Valley|
|Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel|
|Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel|
|Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Lake Buena Vista/Orlando|
|Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas, I-Drive/Orlando|
|The Ballantyne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte|
|The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa, Vermont|
|The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa|
|The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland|
|THE US GRANT, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego|
|The Westin Boston Waterfront|
|The Westin Copley Place, Boston|
|The Westin Desert Willow Villas, Palm Desert|
|The Westin Kierland Villas|
|The Westin Mission Hills Resort Villas, Palm Springs|
|The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth|
|The Westin Nashville|
|The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas, Beaver Creek Mountain|
|The Westin San Diego|
|The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter|
|The Westin Seattle|
|The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square|
|Vistana Beach Club|
|W Fort Lauderdale|
|Walt Disney World Dolphin|
|Walt Disney World Swan|
Book awards which will be going down in price (Hold award availability. Call in August to re-price)
When the programs merge, many top tier SPG properties will suddenly plunge in price. If you have your heart set on booking one of these properties, one strategy is to book now to hold the award space, then call to get a points refund when the programs merge.
SPG hotels dropping 25K points or more per night:
|Schloss Fuschl, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg|
|Kenoa Exclusive Beach Spa & Resort, Barra de Sao Miguel, a Member of Design Hotels|
|The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal|
|Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol|
|HÃ´tel de Berri, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris|
|Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris|
|Le Meridien Bora Bora|
|The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort|
|Mystique, A Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini|
|Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos|
|The St. Regis Bali Resort|
|W Bali – Seminyak|
|Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina d’Ampezzo|
|G-Rough, Rome, a Member of Design Hotels|
|Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda|
|Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice|
|Hotel Pitrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda|
|Hotel Romazzino, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Costa Smeralda|
|PalazzinaG, Venice, a Member of Design Hotels|
|The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice|
|The St. Regis Florence|
|Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto|
|The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel|
|The St. Regis Osaka|
|The St. Regis Astana|
|The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort|
|The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort|
|The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico|
|Sir Joan Hotel, Ibiza City, a Member of Design Hotels|
|The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort|
|Giardino Ascona, A Member Of Design Hotels|
|Giardino Mountain, a Member of Design Hotels|
|Hotel President Wilson, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Geneva|
|Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui|
|W Koh Samui|
|United Arab Emirates|
|Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai|
|The Wellesley Knightsbridge, a Luxury Collection Hotel, London|
|11 Howard, New York, a Member of Design Hotels|
|Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Napa Valley|
|Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale|
|The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale|
|The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, New York City|
|The St. Regis Aspen Resort|
|The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort|
|The St. Regis Deer Valley|
|The St. Regis New York|
|The St. Regis Princeville Resort|
|The St. Regis San Francisco|
|W South Beach|
Sign up for the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card
The Ritz card is unavailable for new signups as of July 26 2018
The Ritz Carlton credit card offers a sign-up bonus of two Tier 1-4 free nights. Plus, it automatically grants Ritz/Marriott Gold elite status for the first year. If you sign up now, both of these will be more valuable than if you sign up once the new program kicks in.
Full details here: Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now.
Complete $75K spend on Ritz card
If you already have the Ritz card and if you’ve been working towards Platinum status through $75K spend, it would be great to complete the spend before August. This way you’ll get Platinum Premier 75 night status in the new program. If you complete the spend after July 31, you’ll only be granted Platinum 50 night status which you would have gotten anyway.
Spend with SPG cards to earn 3X rewards points
Currently, SPG cards earn 1 Starpoint per dollar, which is equivalent to 3 rewards points per dollar. Beginning August 1, the same cards will earn only 2 rewards points per dollar. Note that it does not matter when your statement close date is. Purchases that show a transaction date of July 31 or earlier will earn at the current rate, and August 1 and later purchases will earn at the new lesser rate.
If you put a lot of spend on a consumer SPG card rather than a business SPG card, there may be an opportunity to upgrade the card to the new SPG Luxury card. This way, the 3X spend you do now will count towards the $75K spend required for Platinum status.
Earn 50 SPG nights by July 27th
If you are close to earning 50 elite nights with Starwood, there’s a benefit to completing the 50th night by July 27th (that’s the odd date told to us by Marriott). This way, you’ll earn 10 Suite Night Awards at 50 nights (or other benefits such as a free night award). If you wait until after that date, you’ll earn only 5 Suite Night Awards with 50 elite nights. Either way, you will get a chance to get 5 more Suite Night Awards if you reach 75 elite nights combined between Marriott and SPG by the end of the year.
Details here: Earn up to 15 Suite Night Awards with Marriott SPG this year only.
Book multiple SPG rooms per stay
Currently, SPG offers elite credit for up to 3 rooms at once. For example, if you book 3 rooms for 2 nights, you’ll earn 6 elite nights from that stay. Once the programs merge, you’ll earn elite credits for only one room.
Join RewardsPlus if you have United Gold status or better
If you have United Premier Gold Elite status, or higher, it’s a good idea to join the RewardsPlus program before the programs merge. This way you’ll be temporarily matched to a higher level of elite status with Marriott.
Details here: United Premier Elites — Sign up for RewardsPlus before August.
Book multiple Marriott meetings
It’s possible to earn 10 elite nights credit for each meeting booked with Marriott. People have found that it is often possible to negotiate a very low rate to book a meeting at a local hotel. This can be much cheaper than booking stays just to earn elite nights.
The ability to earn 10 elite nights from meetings will continue in the new program, but some have speculated that we will only be able to do this once per year going forward. I doubt that’s true, but if it’s all the same to you, do it now.
Transfer all household points to one account
Today, Marriott lets you move points to anyone’s account, but there’s an annual cap of 50K points. You can get around that cap by booking an award together with the person who wants to share points with you, but Marriott phone agents might not know how to do that. Meanwhile, via SPG, you can freely move points from one member of the household to another with no cap. My bet is that the new program will adopt Marriott’s model and abandon SPG’s.
If I’m right about the future of point sharing, then now is the time to consolidate points across your household. This does require that household members have previously established SPG accounts and that everyone has had the same address on their account in the past 30 days.
You can combine household points as follows:
- Each household member should move all of their Marriott points to their SPG account
- Each household member should initiate a transfer of SPG points from their account to one person’s account (ideally to whoever will most likely have elite status in the new program). This step can be initiated online at SPG.com, but may take up to 7 days to complete (it’s usually faster than that).
[…] get started, (on the very good advice of Greg at Frequent Miler) you should first take screen shots of everything i.e. both of your accounts, activity, points, […]
[…] much material on the Marriott SPG transition on the blogs lately. Which is understandable. Last minute checklist for the Marriott SPG transition. I wonder what blogs will discover to blog about after this merger is complete and the precious SPG […]
Thank you for the informative article! I’m hoping you can give me your professional opinion?
Based on my account profile, can you give me some advice as to the best way I should capitalize on my point before the SPG/Marriott merger?
Marriott- Gold Status, 280,000 pts
SPG-Gold Status, 155,000 pts
Gain more points by booking awards/certificates that will be valued more after the merger.
Book a Marriott Travel package to obtain airline miles and a certificate stay- Are there benefits to booking a travel package at Cat 6 or 7?
If you link your accounts and move your SPG points to Marriott, you’ll have 745K points to work with. That’s more than enough for two packages. Since we don’t know what will happen, I’d recommend picking two different ones as a way to hedge your bets.
I would like to get a 7 night certificate good at a future Cat 8 hotel. Can you tell me what category to book now (I want to get a travel package before the price jumps)?
Unfortunately I don’t know. The Tier 4-5 Ritz package is the one most likely to be usable for category 8, but that might be more expensive than you need to pay in case Marriott is generous with the category mappings.
Looks like the Marriott link for the hotel category is working again. I had booked a 7-night stay using a Category 6 certificate in JW Marriott Juhu in Mumbai, India. It looks like it’s becoming a new Category 4 hotel (down from 30K to 25K points per night). What should i do? How will the points be refunded? I definitely don’t want to pay extra!
I really don’t know how it will play out. If that particular stay is important to you, I’d keep the stay booked as is and then wait to see if there’s an option to downgrade the cert or cancel to get points or whatever and see if that benefits you at that time.
Will ritz properties temporarily lower to 60K come August?
What about lower cat ritz that currently run less than 60K?
Would one be better to book those before August? Or will they not be impacted by this?
Yes, there are quite a few going up in price, so book those now. You can find them here: https://points-redemption.marriott.com/category-change
[…] Last minute checklist for the Marriott SPG transition […]
Sorry one more question, my wife has a Marriott account and status but didn’t have an SPG account. I have both, but no status. I just made her an SPG account but can’t transfer into it until 30 days pass according to the website. Suggestion for the best way to combine our points for a pre-August SPG booking? Any idea if they can bypass the 30 day rule if I call in? I could transfer her Marriott points to me but it would cost $10 and I’d have no status…so not ideal. Thanks
I’d try calling SPG first to see if they have a solution. Backup plan is a bit convoluted:
1) Pick out a cancel-able Marriott award that requires all of your and your wife’s points
2) Call Marriott Rewards to book it with points from both accounts (you may have to ask for a supervisor if they don’t think they can do that), but make sure that the reservation is in your wife’s name/account.
3) Cancel the award. All points should return to your wife’s account.
4) Move wife’s Marriott points to wife’s SPG account
You’re the man! Thanks
Did you have success getting your Ritz certificates expedited, and do you still think it is reasonable to expect it’ll make a difference in how they are converted? I bought some GC’s to rush the spend and SM’d them to ask about getting the certificates expedited but they said they can’t. This would be helpful info for this post.
It turned out to be unnecessary. The certs appeared in my account a few days after I completed the spend.
Trying to figure out how to frame my current dilemma to clarify my own priorities…maybe the hive can help.
Currently sitting on one Cat1-5 package with 201 Marriott points and another 140k coming down the pike BUT with an unknown arrival date (100k, 20k, 20k).
Obviously I can just book my other Cert now and take the minimum number of miles using the incoming points for upgrading the certs depending on when they arrive.
1. How worried am I about my 1-5 certs not sliding in at a high enough category? Enough to transfer MR or UR and ensure that I’m up to Cat 6s on both?
2. How badly do I need those extra miles? I am newly traveling as a family with 3 -4 paid seats (mostly on school vacations) so all flights end up being points expensive one way or the other.
Im not convinced that any or all of my pending 140k will post before the 1st. I have 2 obvious concerns; that I will end up with extra (devalued) Marriott points in place of miles or UR/MR and my certs will be too tricky/expensive to upgrade after the 1st.
Obviously, I’m working on pushing the remaining points through and will transfer points at the last minute if necessary but I’m worried about worst case scenarios.
P.S. I have no specific redemptions in mind for my certs, haha, ridiculous.
Thanks to anyone who wants to help me get some perspective.
I used my 7 night package to book a reservation at the Residence Inn Anaheim in late August (Category 8) It looks like it will be a Category 7 on August 1st. Based on your post am I correct in assuming that I will either come out ahead or at worst break even on points if I cancel my reservation after 8/1?
Well, 8/1 isn’t necessarily the date of the changeover. It’s probably best to keep it as is until we know more
Was on two calls with Marriott’s Loyalty Care this week, both times reps claim posted post-8/1 hotel MRPs/night and categories are subject to change. Hard to believe but this is what they both said.
Thanks for this reminder. Better value for me to buy the star points to get the 132k united miles then to buy the united mile difference that I would get buy transferring directly with the 5k bonus per 20k. its like I get a free 7 day voucher out of it.
Greg, do you know if the upgrade to Platinum status (which will be matched to Platinum Premier 75 after Aug 1 as you said) is instantaneous upon reaching $75K in spend on the Rittz-Carlton card? Or does it happen at the end of the statement period, which for me, is mid-August (too late)? Or worse, at the cardholder anniversary date?
Also, until when will this status be valid once it gets matched? till end of this year or end of next year?
Thanks for the very timely post on the transition.
It’s not instantaneous. Most reports indicate that it takes about a week after hitting the spend.
You’ll have “earned” your status in 2018, which means it is 2019 status. The 2019 loyalty year ends in Feburary 2020, so if you earned status today, it would be valid through Feb 2020.
I’m only doing $10K spend for current Gold to be converted to new Platinum. I realized that my statement cuts in a couple of days (and then wouldn’t cut again until late August), so I just completed my spend towards that just in case it were to post with the statement, but that’s not the experience I’ve read from others.
Thanks much for the prompt response. I’ll have to see how I can get it done with a week to spare.
The terms of the JPMRC card state that status is only good for the cardmember year, implying it’s not aligned with normal annual status earning. Can. You comment on that?
The way it works in practice is that you have to meet the spend requirements within the membership year and then the status you get will be valid for the rest of that calendar year and all of the next.
As Nick said, it’s not instant, but via email we were told that you only have to complete the spend by the end of July: you don’t have to have Platinum credited to you for it to then map to Platinum Premier. Could they have been wrong about that? Sure. But that’s the most concrete info I have right now.
For the record here is my email exchange with Marriott on this topic:
Me (regarding Ritz card): What happens if someone completes $75K spend in July for Rewards Platinum status, but it takes up to 8 weeks to get that status, so it’s not actually conveyed until sometime in August or September. Will they have Platinum or Platinum Premier status?
Marriott Rep: If you meet the spend requirements of the card program in advance of the change in August, your new status will be Platinum Premier Elite
Thanks, Greg! This is very helpful indeed.
Just an interim datapoint here: I did manage to complete the $75K spend on the Ritz card before July 31. I know you had mentioned that it normally takes about a week after the spend for the new status to become effective even though the terms say max 8 weeks, but in my case, it didn’t happen in that timeframe, and not even by the time the program change happened, perhaps because of the imminent program merger. A query to Chase got me the canned response that I should wait for 8 weeks.
Now that the new Marriott site is up (kinda sorta – latest stays still not credited), it shows me as Platinum (50) which is match to my Ritz Gold and not Platinum Premier (75) which I expect. I just hope that the correct status doesn’t get lost in the merger since Chase seems to be a bit clueless on the nuances and hasn’t even updated the Ritz card benefits (they may well claim we promised Platinum upon $75K spend, and look, you do have the new Platinum), and Marriott customer care wasn’t very easy to get hold of even during less crazy times. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a few more weeks.
But just out of curiosity, and because I may need to follow up if my elite status doesn’t update, who is responsible for ensuring the status change based on Ritz credit card spend? I would have guessed Chase, but they seem to be just pedantically reading outdated benefit terms. And you said (above) that you had contacted the Marriott rep and at least gotten a reasonable response. How come Marriott is the one dealing with credit card spend benefits? And was the rep you referred to above, a standard customer service rep or some direct internal contact you had?
I’m not sure who is responsible for the elite status change. My guess is that it’s a combination of Chase reporting the spend to Marriott and then Marriott enforcing the change. Has your statement posted yet for that spend? If not, it might work better to wait a few days after that happens and then call Marriott Rewards to ask them to adjust your status appropriately.
Greg, I have 40k points on SPG Business card. Any advise if and where to move them. No plans on traveling this year. Was thinking maybe taking advantage of transferring points to an airline where we get 5k for every 20k tranfered.
No reason to hurry on that. The ratio is the same in the new program.
Today, 20K SPG = 25K airline
In the new program, 60K Rewards points = 25K airline miles
20K SPG = 60K Rewards points.
It’s all the same. No rush in that instance. If you have a property in mind that’s going up in price, you’d want to book that now. Otherwise, just wait until you need to use them.
[…] SPG/Marriott Merger Checklist: Here’s a comprehensive checklist that you should check out before these loyalty programs become one. It could definitely save you some headaches down the road. […]
When can we expect the current hotel+mile packages to no longer be available? I just completed my MSR on the Chase Marriott but my statement does not close until Aug. 8 and then I will have enough points for a cat 1-5 redemption at current rates.
As Greg said above, we don’t think Marriott has any intention of letting us know before it’s too late. In other words, it seems that they will likely just stop offering the current packages at some point without warning. Have you tried calling Chase to see if you can move up your statement cut date? If you want a travel package, I’d give that a shot — I think booking sooner rather than later makes the most sense. It’s possible they will still be available at current prices on August 8th, but I wouldn’t place a wager on it.
Is there any reason to transfer my Marriott account points into my Starwood?
If you want to book a Starwood property, or you want to transfer to Amtrak before 7/31 or you want to pool with a family member (more points than Marriott will allow), those would be some reasons. There’s no reason to do it for no reason though :-).
I didn’t see it specifically mentioned above, but you wrote about it previously: If we have the Ritz card and spend $10K (to get Marriott Gold) before August 1st (or whatever the cutover date is), we’ll be upgraded to Marriott Platinum, correct? And to double confirm, this is even if we’re already Marriott Gold through the Amex Platinum/SPG gold matching?
Yes this was confirmed by Marriott. It shouldn’t matter if you also have Gold from an SPG source.
Greg, do you have a list of what is still in the air. It is out of curiosity. I think some as below:
what the old 7 night certificate would be converted/mapped to?
what the Ritz-carlton credit card signup two Tire1-4 free certificate would be converted to (still limited to Ritz hotels only?)
Also, sorry a little bit off the topic, but a strong idea in my mind so I have to say here: could you write a updated hotel credit card recommendation article (HH/Marriott/SPG/IHG/Radisson/Hyatt/Prestige/others) in future? In that article, I really am eager to see an “ultimate selection table”, of which the row is how many night the stay has, and the columns are four cases: domestic economy, domestic luxury, international economy, international luxury, respectively,
To give you a further idea, I have a rough thought about the best way to book hotel stays according to the night numbers:
1) 1-3 nights (free night certificate, you and your spouse can both have the card to increase the certificate numbers, but still which brand credit card is most valuable?);
2) 4 nights (citi prestige)
3) 5 nights (award stay due to 5th night free)
4) 6 nights (er, a combo of some of the above three? )
5) 7 nights (travel package, even new one is still fine)
One missing part in the table is free breakfast/lounge access (e.g. HH Ascend (gold but non-free (15K spending) “free certifcate” vs SPG (useless gold+35K effort-free certificate). But it can be addressed separately.
OK, that’s all in my mind. Hope what I write could inspire an article from you some day:).
We don’t yet know what will happen to the unused stay certificates from travel packages or from credit cards. The safe bet is that they’ll issue new certificates of equivalent point value (e.g. cat 1-5 certs will let you book hotels that cost up to 25K per night), but there is also a chance that they’ll simply give us the points instead (that would be awesome).
Or they can simply return a reduced amount of MRPs, like they do today of you called Rewards and tell them to cancel your hotel stay certificate that can as pay of an air/hotel travel package.
Thanks Greg!!! I just booked the 7 night package w/120K miles @ CAT 8!! I have been following your post on this transition since the beginning of the year. This is a no brainer, especially since Marriott has been keeping quite on the package certs, as of today. Waited this long for any new news. Had 450 rewards points since April and I have been following your post closely.
I can’t say enough how helpful your blog is!! I just started collecting miles/points since July 2017 and I can go on complementing your extremely helpful post, to say the least!!!
thank you Greg!!!
can’t wait until Aug 1!!
correction: had 450K+ rewards…Like my chances here!!
I cannot find a 450K reward. Did you mean 420k or 540k. I am trying to figure out which on will qualify for Cat. 8 booking.
Previously had 450K+ Marriott reward points, but now 90K+ reward points:
450K – 360K (CAT 8) = 90K (my current balance)
Thanks Greg. I got some category 1-5 travel packages but cleaned out my account doing so. If I use them it would be for more expensive properties, but no specific plans. Now I’m thinking of buying SPG points to have on hand in case we are able to upgrade the packages later on. Worst case I use the points for something else. Thoughts?
I think that’s a good idea. Worst case you would have bought rewards points at .75 cents each. Historically it’s been pretty easy to get that amount of value or better from award stays.
Did we ever get confirmation that we can book the more expensive rate now and get a refund come August?
If not, it feels like you might end up competing with your future self. For instance, if a hotel doesn’t re-release award availability, and you’re forced to cancel and rebook because it costs 10k less points than when you initially booked, you might have just screwed yourself out of one of the only points rooms that was available.
Yes. We’ve been told that the refund won’t be automatic, but that you can call and request the refund. I’m not sure what will happen if you book a room type now that is not considered standard in the merged program.
There is no way to book starwood hotels if you don’t yet have the points, right? (unlike with Marriott)
Any idea if people are still having luck booking 5 night vacation packages? I have a 5 night stay in early September where I think I could get some value out of the package but have been on the fence about it.
Yes, there have been a number of recent reports of success.
I thought the announced date was August 1st. I have a stay August 3rd and had assumed I would be able to use my upgraded platinum status from the Ritz gold. That would be too bad. I was really excited about breakfast at the resort. Figured I would have to explain the change for resorts to them, but I can’t explain that and the upgrade from Gold and expect them to do it.
That’s a shame. I don’t expect resorts to honor the breakfast benefit until the programs actually merge, but you might get lucky. Keep in mind that Marriott Gold does currently promise breakfast at most properties except for resorts, so I don’t think the fact that you’ll still be Gold is the issue. The issue is that the resorts won’t have yet been instructed to offer breakfast to elites.
I got a letter for my Marriott business card yesterday that has the first day of the new program as Aug 27th.
That sounds like when the new benefits on that card kick in (actually August 26th) — did the materials you receive specifically state something about the new program taking effect that day, or just the fact that the new earning structure takes effect then? I suspect it’s the latter. It certainly could end up being that day, but the info about that being the date for new benefits taking effect has been out for a few weeks:
Great summary. When do you think they will announce the exact date of the merger? I have a booking to make August 2019 for a property going up in points so I’d like to wait as long as possible.
I was thinking if it was going to be August 1st we should have received an announcement given that is 10 days from now…I’m hoping it will be end of August or early Sept.
I have no idea. Why do you want to wait as long as possible to book? If the property is going up in price, why not book it now?
it’s not yet available? I am also trying to book a hotel in July 2019, however on the Marriott website, it only released rooms now through first week of July.
Marroitt / New SPG only let you book like 11.5 months out. I also got a letter from Chase that my Marroitt Biz card benifits were changing on August 26th. That’s the only official date we’ve seen for a merge related change so far. Do you think it is likely that will be the date of the program merge as well? Otherwise why keep a different arbitrary date for rewards earning change? Thanks.. always appreciate your insight.
very well written, good info. Any chance we get an answer to the travel package certificate value BEFORE Aug 1….
I don’t think there’s any chance that Marriott/SPG will tell us anything until it is too late
Just wanted to say that I really like the thought put into this post. Nice work.
Is there any benefit to transferring Canadian Amex MR to SPG points prior to Aug 1st at 2:1 Amex:SPG ?
Great question. Yes it can make sense depending upon what you’ll do with the points. If you want to use them to book a travel package, it can be a good way to get airline miles that MR doesn’t support directly (e.g. Alaska, or United). Or, if you need extra points to book a high value award stay, it makes sense. Since Marriott/SPG award nights will cap at 60K rewards points per night (20K Starpoints) until early 2019, this is like booking top tier hotels for 40K MR per night. Whether that’s a good deal depends upon the hotel and how else you would use the points
Thanks Greg, I am wondering if Amex MR will still honor the transfer policy in place prior to August 1st. Right now it’s 2 MR : 1 SPG (or 3 Marriott). I cannot get information about Amex transfer policy after Aug 1. I use my MR points to transfer to Aeroplan for high value Star Alliance tickets. Without know how Aeroplan and Star Alliance will interact with Amex after the uncoupling of Air Canada from Aeroplan is the other reason the SPG transfer makes sense. Just looking for a second opinion.
Yep, I’m done, all cashed out and got one last Stay & Fly package for 7 nights and 120K miles. Marriott can keep the 52 points left in my account.