No joy from Bonvoy: Ritz cardholders downgraded to Gold

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Update: 10:31pm Eastern 3/4/19: Good news — we’ve received word that this has been fixed. See a full update here: Bonvoy restores joy: Platinum status being reinstated.

Update 7:18pm Eastern 3/4/19: Not much news to report, but we did hear back from our Marriott contact today telling us that they are looking into it and to stay tuned. Additionally, the Marriott Lurker on Flyertalk published this response to questions there about this issue:

This issue has been forwarded to the appropriate team to look into.
We will let you know when we have an update.

Best Regards,

Christina Zhou
Specialist, Social Media
Marriott International

marriott.bonvoychampion@marriott-service.com

Those who have been downgraded may want to consider sending an email to the Marriott Bonvoy Lurker.

Original post text follows:

Last year, we published a unique opportunity to get Platinum status in the new Marriott program via the Ritz-Carlton credit card. At the time, we published that via a new Ritz-Carlton credit card prior to August 18th, 2018, one could secure Platinum status until February 2020. However, over the weekend, many people who had Platinum status via new 2018 Ritz-Carlton credit card accounts have been downgraded to Gold status. This does not fit with what we were told and we are following up with Marriott.

If you had Platinum from opening a Ritz-Carlton credit card during 2018, you may have been downgraded to Gold this weekend.

The short story is that opening a new Ritz-Carlton credit card during 2018 but before August 18, 2018 would have given you 50-night status in the old Marriott program (called Gold at the time), which would transition to 50-night status in the new program (now called Platinum). See this post for more: [Too Late] Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now.

Those who had opened the Ritz-Carlton card prior to 2018 would have needed to have completed $10,000 in purchases between their anniversary date and August 18, 2018 in order to receive old 50-night status (old Gold) and thereby receive 50-night status (new Platinum) after the merger. In future years, 50-night status (new Platinum) will require $75,000 in purchases on the card.

Many (though not all) new 2018 Ritz-Carlton cardholders saw their status become Platinum after the August 18th merger as expected. As a reminder, this wasn’t really an upgrade in status, just a status level name change: the card offered 50-night status for the first year before the merger, which took on a new name, Platinum, after the merger. However, many of those members have now been downgraded to Gold status (25-night status) in the past few days.

That just does not match what Marriott told us on several separate occasions. Our contacts with Marriott began with David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, at a Marriott event in April 2018. Contacts with several other people from the leadership team sprouted from that conversation.

For the sake of clarity and transparency, here are direct quotes from an email exchange between Frequent Miler and Marriott that happened in June 2018 (ahead of the merger):

Frequent Miler: I previously learned from you that those who qualify for Gold with the Ritz card before August will get Platinum Elite and those who qualify for Platinum with $75k spend before August will get Platinum Premier. My question is how long that status will last. I assumed through Feb 2020, but a reader was told by a Marriott rep that it would only last this year.  If the rep was right I need to post a retraction ASAP. Thanks for any insight you can provide

Marriott: I have reconfirmed that you are correct. Status would continue through February 2020.

That is one clear example, but it is not the only time we confirmed this via email prior to the merger.

However, many readers are reporting that this has not happened as we were told. Many who opened the Ritz-Carlton credit card in 2018 and transitioned from Gold to Platinum in August 2018 have now lost that Platinum status this weekend unless they had completed 50 nights with Marriott during 2018. Here is one report (out of many) from Twitter:

In that Tweet, he linked to a Flyertalk thread with more datapoints. We’ve also had readers who have commented on the Ritz-Carlton post linked above as well as in our Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide and we have received emails from others. We are as surprised as anyone about these status downgrades.

Several readers have reached out directly with their account details. We have now forwarded on several specific cases to our Marriott contacts asking for a response/solution from Marriott, noting that there are many more people affected and that many likely have stays in the coming days and were counting on their elite status benefits. At the moment, this seems to only be affecting those who had newly opened Ritz-Carlton credit card accounts during 2018. I have had the Ritz card for several years and I completed $10,000 in purchases during 2018 to receive “old Gold” status, which transitioned to Platinum. I still have my Platinum status at this point, so I believe this issue is only affecting those who newly opened the Ritz card during 2018Update: Readers commented below shortly after publication that they completed $10K in purchases and their status has been downgraded, so this appears to be affecting everyone who received status from the Ritz card.

We will post an update when we have more information, but we wanted to let readers know that we are aware and that we are following up on it.

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