UPDATE: Marriott Rewards & SPG Program Merger Coming August 2018

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Yesterday, I wrote (access here) about leaked information about apparent Marriott Rewards/SPG announcement that is coming next Monday and five status tiers in the combined Marriott Rewards/SPG/Ritz-Carlton Rewards program.

Marriott SPG

Now more information has surfaced on the Chinese forums/Weibo where the image above was posted that appears to be leaflet available to programs members at properties next week.

You can access Marriott’s website referenced on the leaflet here.

READ MORE: Marriott Rewards Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

The watermark on the image says 羊毛实验室 which means “Wool Lab” (Google translation).

Here’s the text:

One powerful programme.

Three different names.

Starting this August, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG will come together as one programme. For now, programme names will stay the same, but everything else will be consolidated. You’ll get easier access and even more opportunities at more than 6,500 hotels across 29 brands including:

  • Book, earn and redeem points at all participating hotels seamlessly
  • Aligned Elite status and benefits with all 29 brands
  • A simplified experience – one account, profile, log-in and points balance

Explore all the new changes at members.marriott.com

Here are my educated guesses what these might mean:

1. Book, earn and redeem points at all participating hotels seamlessly

SPG hotels are basically brought to Marriott’s platform and assigned award categories per Marriott’s charts. SPG’s website and partner redemption options that are not available on Marriott Rewards are retired.

2. Aligned Elite status and benefits with all 29 brands

Marriott Rewards has been very stingy offering breakfast for its Gold and Platinum members. The image posted yesterday indicated that breakfast would be complimentary at 25 brands so only 4 brands would be excluded. Breakfast was included at all SPG brands for Platinum members.

3. A simplified experience – one account, profile, log-in and points balance

This would mean that SPG becomes basically a “flag” in your Marriott Rewards account just like the Ritz-Carlton Rewards is. It is all Marriott Rewards but your account maybe called SPG. Starpoints are converted to this new points balance at 1:3 ratio (like now).

Here’s the image from yesterday:

Marriott Rewards Changes

Conclusion

Just really weird that Marriott would decide to merge accounts in August and not at the end of the year that would be more logical time of the year.

If the above new elite tiers are correct, do they apply for 2020 status starting in 2019? Announcing change in status requirements for 2019 this late would be very bad move.

SPG members have had access to award as long as there has been standards rooms available for sale. This has not been the case with Marriott Rewards. Now, they are using the word “seamlessly” when talking about redemptions. I truly hope that this is not a code word for dynamic awards that would destroy most of the value in the program.

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