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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