We are now ten days short of two months since Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) accounts were moved to the Marriott Rewards platform and pretty much everything that could have gone wrong… did.
I noted at the time, that one of the pitfalls which was when SPG members were issued all new membership numbers. This meant that the stay history associated with the legacy number was lost unless Marriott ensured that proper mapping was done at the property level (new number linked with the old one – stay history followed).
You can access Marriott’s page for the combined program here.
Can you guess what is happening to some guests now at the properties they have previously spent months? Hotels see them as new, staying there for the first time, all stay preferences lost and no upgrade priority given.
This also affects Marriott Rewards members if their membership number was changed for one reason or another.
Also, Marriott Rewards still has not fixed the issue that has plagued some accounts since August. Hotels don’t always see the member’s correct status. Even if you have Platinum, Platinum Premier or Platinum Premier status with an Ambassador, the PMS (property management system) may show that you are no-status guest. The front desk agent can fix this by refreshing your account but those better upgrades are already processed by that time.
The only way to ensure that the hotel has your correct status on file is to contact them prior to your stay. The problem with this approach is that Marriott has hidden hotel email addresses from their website (previously widely available for Starwood properties). They do, however, list the fax numbers (welcome to the 1980’s!). You can usually find them from TripAdvisor review replies or by using Google search.
Hotels prioritize the upgrades within the tier based on the number of stays or nights you have spent with them. Obviously smaller hotels will recognize your name but bigger ones with a high staff turnover rely more on these PMS (usually Opera).
I am not sure why Marriott Rewards didn’t think this one through better and why some hotels still have high-status members showing on their systems with no status at all? It makes no sense at all like many other things with this program merger that has been badly executed.
I have not merged my Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts (and likely never will – both will be lifetime Platinum Premiers on their own) for this reason. I do not want hotels with whom I have extensive stay history with to lose that due to Marriott’s account screw-ups.