Marriott SPG transition: More answers & more questions

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With Marriott and SPG merging programs in August, people naturally have lots of questions.  To help with this, I created the Marriott SPG Ritz Transition Guide.  My goal with this resource is to answer all of your questions, but it is a work in progress.  As answers from Marriott trickle in, I’ve been updating the guide.

Yesterday, Marriott finally answered questions about how elite status from credit cards (e.g. Amex Platinum, Chase Ritz) will transition into the new program.  They also made a positive change in lifetime status requirements.  Here are the details (all of which have been updated in our guide):

Amex Platinum –> SPG Gold –> Marriott Gold –> ??

Q: If I obtained SPG Gold status through a credit card (Amex Platinum card or $30K spend on an SPG card), and now have Marriott Gold status thanks to linking my SPG and Marriott accounts, what status will I have in August when the programs combine? [As a reminder: SPG Gold will map to new program Gold, but Marriott Gold will map to new Platinum]

A: You will have Gold status in the new program.

The above question had been previously answered by Marriott executives, but their answers were contradictory.  We now have a single answer.  It’s not the answer we hoped for, but at least it’s now certain.

Ritz Carlton Credit Card status questions…

Q: If I currently have Marriott Gold status from the Ritz Carlton credit card, what status will I have in August?

A: You will have Platinum status in the new program.

Q: If I currently have Marriott Platinum status from $75K spend on the Ritz Carlton credit card, what status will I have in August?

A: You will have Platinum Premier status in the new program.

Q: If I earn Gold or Platinum status with the Ritz card once the merged program begins, what status will I have?

A: You will have Gold or Platinum status in the new program.

For those watching carefully, the above represents a big devaluation in the Ritz card’s benefits.  Currently, $10K spend gives you the equivalent of 50 elite night status (with free breakfast), but in the new program $10K spend will only give you the equivalent of 25 elite night status (no free breakfast for you).  Similarly, $75K spend currently gives you the equivalent of 75 elite night status, but in the new program it will only give you 50 elite night status.

If you were thinking of spending your way to elite status with the Ritz card, be sure to complete the spend before August 1!

Lifetime Status

In the original announcement, only those with lifetime Marriott Platinum status could get new Lifetime Platinum Premier status.  This irked many long-time SPG elites.  Fortunately, Marriott has listened to the complaints.  Now Marriott has updated the criteria to include a second way to get Lifetime Platinum Premier status this year only: 750 elite nights plus 10 years Platinum status (combined across programs) will get you there.  The new program website now says this:

NOTE: Members that reach 750 nights and 10 years at Platinum by December 31, 2018 will be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status (notified January 2019). In addition, members that achieve Marriott Rewards Lifetime Platinum under the legacy requirements by year end will also be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status. And, don’t forget that we’ll combine Lifetime activity across both Rewards and SPG toward qualification when members combine accounts in August. Beginning in 2019, qualification into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status will not be available.

Questions Not Yet Answered

I’ve submitted quite a few questions to Marriott reps.  Here are the questions that I’ve asked, but that haven’t yet been answered.  Note that in some cases we think we know the answer, but we don’t yet have official confirmation…

  • Marriott Vacation Club questions:
    • Marriott Vacation Club owners currently get elite status based (I think) on how many club points they have.  What will be the mapping of vacation club destination points to elite status in the new program?
    • Will 5 night travel packages still be available to vacation club owners?
  • Points to miles:
    • I see that the minimum transfer amount will be 3,000 rewards points to 1,000 airline miles.  SPG Platinum elites have been able to transfer as few as 1 point to 1 airline mile. Will there be anything similar in the new program?
  • RewardsPlus:
    • How will United Premier status levels map to Marriott status in the new program?
    • How will new program Marriott status map to United Premier status in the new program? [Note: We know that Platinum Premier members will get United Silver, but what about Premier 100 elites? Will they get United Gold?]
  • Annual Choice Benefits
    • Are choice benefits awarded once per year based on your status level, or awarded at the time you reach 50 or 75 nights?  This question is particularly important to lifetime Platinum elites: will they get Choice Benefits each year even if they don’t earn 50 nights?
  • Elite nights from credit cards in 2018
    • I understand that elite nights granted by holding a credit card will add together in 2018 but not in 2019.  Does that hold true after August?  e.g. if someone gets 5 nights from their SPG card, and then in October is awarded 15 nights from their Marriott card, will they then have 20 nights this year?
    • The Marriott Rewards Premier Business card application no longer mentions giving 15 elite nights credit, but it does say that it offers Silver status.  Can you confirm that the card still offers 15 elite night credits each year?
  • Credit card spend cut-off dates
    • I understand that the SPG cards earn base 1X Starpoints / 3X points until August.  Then the cards will earn 2X points.  A number of readers have asked what happens if their statement end date is mid-August?  What happens with their spend that is dated July 31? What happens with their spend that is dated August 1?  My assumption is that their statement date doesn’t matter, but I’d like confirmation.
    • Ritz-Carlton card: What happens if someone begins their $75K spend before August, but completes in after August 1?  Will they get Platinum or Platinum Premier status?
    • Ritz-Carlton 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?

More Questions?

If you have other questions about the Marriott / SPG / Ritz merger, please see our guide: Marriott SPG Ritz Transition Guide.  If the answer isn’t there, please ask your question in the comments of that post.  Thanks!

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Tiffany

I have read all the posts about the merger. However, I can not seem to find what the points you can transfer to a household member limit will be after 8/1/2018? Currently, SPG is unlimited and Marriott has a 50k transfer limit. Sorry if I missed a post. TNX

Chris

Greg,

Question regarding the strategy you outlined on how to reach Lifetime Platinum if you have the 750 nights with Marriott but are short of hitting the 2 million points. I’m currently at about 1.3 million points and 770 nights lifetime, but currently have only about 100k points to transfer to a household member from my account via SPG. With the 50k transfer limit, do you think I could keep transfering around 50k points until I reach the 2 million? If not, do you have any other ideas? I would really like to get grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premiere ;).

NinjaX

so im assuming you do NOT have 10 years Platinum status (combined across programs)?

Chris

That is correct. Only have 7 🙁

[…] the recent post “Marriott SPG transition: More answers & more questions,” I presented answers from Marriott about a few key questions, and I listed many more […]

LosAngeles

What happens to the 2 elite night credits Ritz members get for each night stayed at a Ritz property? Is that benefit getting cut, being grandfathered over for legacy Ritz members only, or being extended to legacy Marriott Rewards and SPG members also?

NinjaX

greg, nobody talks about it because RCs are expensive in general and it only benefits those who already spend rev. many times, you are paying for 2 nights worth of cheap marriott anyway. but not always so its YMMV. not only that, ONLY rev is 2 EQNs. certs still only give 1 EQN at RC. meaning its good for rev stays and arbitrage is limited. of course, if you find a super cheap RC and get 2 EQNs, sure, its awesome.

Hilton_hereIcome

Heh, once I lose my Marriott Gold perks through Amex Platinum, I think it will be time to switch back to Hilton. Unless, the packages will still be a go.

[…] However, US site Frequent Miler submitted a written question to Marriott and got this statement back: […]

Michael

Just received the benefit booklet today for my new Marriott Premiere Business Card and it does list 15 nights credit toward elite status after the 1st anniversary.

Mike Han

I never opened RC CC yet; so if I open it before Aug 1, I will get new Marriott Plat even I currently have matched gold from Amex Plat?

NinjaX

unfortunately or fortunately, it seems that way because marriott is favoring their own people. meaning RC CC gold will be PLAT but SPG gold will be gold. ARGH! so there should be a huge rush of pple apping the RC CC.

but guess what? i dont know ur stats but many should not risk a chase shut down.

G k

Would getting RCC now make sense? You will get gold status right away which will change to platinum at least untill next year, plus you will get two nights certificate .. seems like a winner to me for 450$. What do you think ?

Josh

@Greg, piggy backing off of G k, it does seem like this is a winner for those who are looking for an easy Marriott Platinum for 2019.
1) So just to clarify I understand this correctly, because it’s a new account, we would get Gold for the first year (and not even have to spend $10,000 on it). If achieved before Aug 1, this gold maps to Platinum in the new program.
2) On the application, we simply apply with our Marriott number where it asks for the Ritz number?
3) Not really a question, but like others here mentioned, hopefully not already having Marriott Gold from a SPG linked account messes with the status from this card.

(sorry for not posting this in the other thread!)

NinjaX

1) yes
2) yes
3) YMMV. u never know but it should be an easy fix. marriott CSR is not like IHG altho not at the level of Fairmont or the Hyatt Diamond Desk.

and yes, you should post in the other thread so others can clearly see it. thats why greg was asking people to post there as a one stop guide.

Josh

Final q: how long should I expect to have Marriott “Platinum” if I get the card today? I will post my findings to other thread if that helps.

Josh

Okay, I just wasn’t sure how that worked and couldn’t find much information researching it. The account website says “Automatic Gold Elite status your first account year”, so I wasn’t sure if it meant Gold until the account anniversary next year.

Josh

and in practice it lasts until the end of the next calendar year I’m assuming

Josh

Final Q: Do I have to spend 10,000k on the card before Aug 1 of this year to retain Platinum through Feb 2020 or is opening the card merely enough? The terms say the gold for the first year is through account anniversary year, but the 10k is through Dec 31 of the following year. Just slightly confused on this.

Rob

Wow the Ritz card is looking like a guaranteed cancel for me. If they were going to beef up that card’s benefits they’d better do it soon.

Mahomed

I have a corporate account at SPG and believe it will be matched to Silver in the new program . Will it remain as Silver if I dont do the normal qualifying nights – What will happen ?

sam

So, it means no way to earn Platinum Premier via Credit Card spend starting 2019.

Raffles

Hi Greg

What is the source of your Amex Platinum –> SPG Gold –> Marriott Gold –> ??? comment? Did they send this to you directly? I can’t find it on the website or via Google.

Raffles

Thanks

goldritz

so do already gold members with the ritz card become platinum? you contradict yourself in the transition guide

goldritz

thanks!

James

How long until Hilton gets rid of gold breakfast 😉

NinjaX

probably not for awhile. first of all, if a program wants to get rid of mid tier breakfast, HH would be FIRST in line to do it. and they havent done it yet. why? because gold only gets breakfast at Conrad, Curio, DoubleTree, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, and Tapestry. thats pretty limited IMHO.

and now all Waldorf Astoria properties will offer complimentary continental breakfast to all Gold and Diamond members but now that everyone and their dog is Diamond, lets see how HH handles that and devals everything to hell. TBD.

NinjaX

***ATTN EVERYONE WHO CANT READ (ITS CLEARLY NOTED AT THE BOTTOM)***

“If you have other questions about the Marriott / SPG / Ritz merger, please see our guide: Marriott SPG Ritz Transition Guide. If the answer isn’t there, please ask your question in the comments of that post. Thanks!”

***THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO BE ASKING QUESTIONS***

Chucks

Will matched years of status across SPG/Marriott count doubly when calculating lifetime elite status years? If I was SPG Platinum and matched to Marriott Platinum (previously nothing) is that 2 years or one year of status?

NinjaX

thats a good question and you should ask greg on the specified blog post. not here. however, my guess is that matching status years do NOT count based on what i have read. Marriott did not address this issue specifically and I think its an interesting question. if it has been addressed, I have not seen it yet but I dont think so because Marriott is clearly rewarding REAL elite nights. Not from status matching.

NinjaX

greg. wow. are you being serious? is that clearly spelled out in the FAQ? i must have missed it. i need to take a look. that sounds overly generous. so for every 1 year of status, it counts as double dip from simply matching alone.? wow.

NinjaX

thanks greg. always appreciate your help here. but that language does not convince me at all. i understand where you are coming from tho. however, i dont want to ask that question because it could be a potential loophole on aug 1st!

esf

Please ask a question about nonrefundable OTA reservations made prior to April 6, for stays in August and after. Such reservations were made with elite benefits e expectations at the time of booking, and it is not possible to change or cancel them. Will Marriott honor the promised benefits for these reservations?

NinjaX

what are you talking about? ur joking rite? what makes you think booking nonrefund OTA honors ur elite status? who told you that? ur talking about hotel res right? not airline res? u need to book direct or use a TA. and no, Marriott does not need to honor the “promised” benefits for these OTA reservations cuz they didnt promise anything. if u have hotel elite status, u always must book direct.

esf

Calm down! Marriott Rewards has been different from other hotel reward programs. Marriott always provided elite benefits for third party bookings, as long as the member’s Marriott Rewards number was attached to the reservation. They also specified in Marriott Rewards T&C, this is how the program is intended to work.

esf

Well, they advertised a benefit, I bought it and made a booking, they switched and took away the benefit. Doesn’t remind you of something?
Marriott need some serious legal advice here.

Bill

1. Will SPG points converted in August count toward MR Lifetime status?

2. Are ALL SPG nights being added to MR, or only those from stays Jan 1 2018?

Unclear or conflicting answers on these.

NinjaX

answers to that have been clearly noted, but the issue is that the amount of info is massive. this merger is massive.

1) no. after AUG, there is no such thing as lifetime points for LT status. its only based on the nights and years of elite status

2) yes. ALL as it relates to LT status.

Bill

Actually, not clearly noted.

1. You csn qualify under existing rules (nights snd points) until end of 2018. No clear explaination if SPG POINTS will add the MR LT total.

2. Marriotts own page says “Don’t forget — when you combine accounts, you could also achieve a higher Elite tier — based on combined SPG and Rewards nights stayed at any of our 29 brands, starting from January 1, 2018.”

(From Jan 1 2018, not sll)

NinjaX

i get where ur coming from. matter of fact, i havent even seen that language until you had mentioned it. i can see why its confusing, but i have been reading other forms of their communication which makes it clear. hence my response. but now greg has also responded so now you know.

Mike

Anyone know why Lifetime Points no longer show up on your Marriott account? Only nights are reflected.

NinjaX

are you talking about on the web or via app mobile? check both.

Alex

“Q: If I currently have Marriott Gold status from the Ritz Carlton credit card, what status will I have in August?
A: You will have Gold status in the new program.”

Wait, your Transition Guide says just the opposite – it says you’ll get platinum status in August if you currently have gold from Ritz credit card.

Stannis

If they really don’t give us Chase Ritz folks who spent $10k the equivalent of new platinum then doesn’t that violate the CARD act? Come August 1, to whom do you suggest we complain – Chase, Marriott, CFPB? All of the above?

NinjaX

hahaha. then that means you can take every bank in this game to court. no. it doesnt violate anything. the CC isnt changing. the hotel programs are. RC CC said gold. u get gold. how gold is defined is not Chase Bank who underwrites the CC.

NinjaX

greg. thats a huge difference! holy crap. i had spent too much time thinking about the next steps. now it makes more sense. argh. thanks for the update.

so its very clear, marriott is favoring their own INCLUDING the RC CC but not SPG CC. sigh…

Alberto

What’s not clear is the incremental benefits of lifetime platinum premier vs lifetime platinum. I will be hitting my 10th year spg plat this year with 550 spg lifetime nights. N come 8/1 my 50 Marriott lifetime nights will kick in for a total of 600 combined. I now have that tough decision whether I should mattress run for 100 nights or not. The decision would be that much easier if I knew what the incremental benefits were of lifetime plat premier.

NinjaX

it doesnt matter. ur thinking too much. if i were you, I would 500% mattress run the shit out of SPG. this is LIFETIME status that you will NEVER get ever again. period. benefits will always change. ur thinking too short term.

Alberto

Miscounted. I need 150 nights. Your opinion still stays the same?

NinjaX

yes sir. my opinion stays the same and holds firm. you obviously stay at SPGs based on ur stats. i cant tell what the future holds for LTPP but i can say this, you can NEVER get that status again after this year. its a no brainer for me personally.

DSK

Greg–can you reconcile the second and third sentences of the NOTE above? If someone in the Marriott program has 2 million points, can they combine Marriott and SPG lifetime nights in August to get to 750 and Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite? You thought the answer was NO 10 days ago, but that was before the above NOTE was published. Any change? Thanks!

NinjaX

what part of the note is unclear?

Jeff W

If we just got SPG Gold from the Amex Platinum, should we be automatically matched to Marriott Gold once we link our accounts? I’m not seeing it, and the rep I called said no, not until August. But I thought we’d be Marriott Gold for the time being until August. Is this published somewhere?

Vet&Banker

You have to manually link accounts.

Jeff W

Thanks. We did link them a few days ago. And then called to ask to ensure that we’d be Marriott Gold. The rep told us no. I just checked our acct…and it’s Gold. I guess I should just trust you guys, and not the folks who work at Marriott 🙂

Dario

What does “If I earn Gold or Platinum status with the Ritz card once the merged program begins, what status will I have” mean? For example, I’m on year 2 of the Ritz card. Last year I spend 10K on it so did I “earn” gold or do I have your first bullet point “If I currently have Marriott Gold status from the Ritz Carlton credit card, what status will I have in August?”

A clarification regarding this would be helpful. Thank you

NinjaX

you may have read it wrong internally. its talking about RC CC spend AFTER AUG 1st. pretend its AFTER AUG 1st and read it again. using RC CC spend, if you get gold or plat, then you get gold or plat. has nothing to do with what you did last year.

Dario

This is the comprehensible answer I was looking for. Thank you!

James

Greg, so my question is when does that status end. I want to get the Ritz card before August so I have Platinum status starting in August will I have it for a full year? i.e. after March 2019? Thanks

Frank

So much info ! So I am spg lifetime Plat with almost 600 nights ! I also have 425 marriott nights with several years Plat. Will I be Lifetime Plat premier after August ?

Chucks

Sounds like it. You’d have over 1000 nights and over 10 years of top tier status.

Frank

Thanks Greg. I am SPG lifetime Plat so doesn’t that give me the 10 years right there? also have a few years Platinum status with Marriott. Not matched earned with nights..

john skater

i am a vistana “platinum 5-star elite” with westin villas, which guaranteed, by contract, spg platinum status (50 nights) as long as i owned my villa shares. what will happen in the new program? i note that the vistana has now jointed the marriott vacation club group. thanks.

NinjaX

jon. this has been extensively communicated by VSN staff. i suggest you call or visit various vacation club websites. its fully explained there. All owners should retain their existing SPG Gold or plat benefits.

5150d

Vistana (Starwood) Timeshare owners with 5 Star Elite status and have SPG Platinum will receive New Marriott Platinum AND 50 Night Credit which gets you 5 Suite Night Awards. Vistana has published this in print and FAQ.