It has been a long week for Marriott Rewards and SPG members (feels like a month). It started with Marriott Rewards teasing with members on Messenger about an “exciting” announcement coming and simultaneously someone leaking proposed combined elite levels (read more here).
Then there was this (read more here) partial leaflet posted on Chinese Weibo/internet forum that properties will start handing out at sometime on Monday to guests. Marriott Rewards/SPG then posted on their Facebook pages (read more here) that they would broadcast an announcement starting at 430PM EDT on Monday.
You can access Marriott’s page for member changes here.
READ MORE: SPG Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions
Here’s what I have learned over the weekend from a trusted source (not confirmed with Marriott). The announcement may not be as big of a thing as we all have lead to believe with all this leaked info.
It may be all about about that SPG members can start booking (both paid and awards) Marriott properties using the SPG booking interface and Marriott members SPG ones using theirs.
There is no need to move points between accounts to book awards and it would be easier to get SPG members to book Marriott hotels (and vice versa) when they actually count towards your elite qualification.
The point currency between these two programs is standardized, however, as are the elite benefits.
The combined elite tier info wasn’t planned to be launched at this time but later in the fall. Marriott had considered to have dollar requirement at each level in addition to nights (not just at the Ambassador level like on the leaked doc).
This interim solution (SPG members booking Marriott hotels on their booking engine and vice versa) would allow Marriott/SPG to work more on the backend and sunset program features while moving some to the combined platform like how Marriott works with United and SPG with Delta.
The spend requirement may or may not come to fruition or may be introduced at later time once Marriott has better visibility if they are able to increase the SPG/Marriott Rewards member spend (and hold on to the higher spending SPG ones).
It was interesting to learn that Marriott Rewards had at least planned to introduce this at every elite level of their program like all the US airlines have done.
Not sure how this could work considering that Marriott has historically been very strong among government travelers with very low rates. They would never qualify for status requiring ADRs north of $150 – $200 per night (if the leaked Ambassador requirement is of any indication).
So, the announcement that come on Monday, may not be anything else than breakfast benefit at more Marriott properties, standardized earnings, and the booking of SPG/Marriott hotels both awards and revenue on each others platform while they work on the full integration and program features that are announced later in the year.