Reader Question: SPG Legacy Loyalty Qualification Criteria Not Honored By Marriott If Accounts Merged?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about yet another maddening situation with Marriott Rewards & SPG.

Marriott Where To

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You can access Marriott’s page for combined elite program here.

Here’s the email from the reader:

I refer to both your articles on the SPG Legacy Loyalty Qualification criteria:

Reader Question: Incorrect Information From Marriott Customer Service (SPG Legacy Qualification Criteria)?

Reader Question: SPG Platinum Qualification Dilemma For 2018

Despite ensuring that I stayed only at the SPG brands to clock my 25 stays, I am now informed by the SPG Platinum Associate that they do not acknowledge it anymore even after I attached all my documented stays as my account is now merged with Marriott?!! I am replicating their response to my email in full including my earlier email to them. I am not sure how many of your readers have also encountered this issue and if there’s anyway we can seek a collective recourse.

I have lost track on the number of the times I have corresponded with SPG on my missing nights, inability to redeem any of my Suite Night Awards and now my platinum status eligibility only to be met with meaningless apologies from the SPG staff without any compensation nor recourse. Apologies comes very cheaply from SPG/Marriott and I think enough is enough.

Here’s the reply that the reader received from Marriott:

Reader Email Marriott & SPG PLT Response

Here’s copy of the email that the reader sent to Marriott/SPG:

My SPG number is XXXXXXXX650 (recently merged to new Mariott Reward sXXXXXX338)

Under your Elite membership requirements 4.2b subpoint v., under the SPG legacy qualifications for Platinum Elite, 25 stays or more under SPG brands would qualify me for Platinum Elite. I have attached my documentation proof for my 25 stays for 2018. Do verify and confirm my qualification as I would like to proceed with my bookings soon for 2019. I have attached my last account statement from SPG in July and records of my subsequent stays under the SPG brands to qualify for the 25 stays.

I have also written previously on my request to change my Suite Night Awards to Elite Night credits due to the inability to convert them to actual Suite Nights despite meeting all the criteria. I have yet to receive an reply or even an acknowledgement of the issue besides a non-committal “do try again on your next stay” reply. I hope I can get a more satisfactory response this time round.

I understand that this merger has caused a lot of complications as this was also acknowledged by the hotel staff when I tried to approach them to resolve these issues and I hope you can assist to resolve my extension of my platinum status and my useless suite night awards.

Thanks and happy holidays!

Reference on Elite Membership requirements 4.2b V

In 2018, the Loyalty Program will continue to honor Elite achievement via Qualifying Stays at participating SPG Brands that occur in 2018.  Elite achievement via Qualifying Stays is only available until December 31, 2018 and will not be continued thereafter.  Participating SPG Brands include:  St. Regis® Hotels, The Luxury Collection®, W® Hotels, Sheraton®, Le Méridien®, Westin®, Tribute Portfolio®, Design Hotels TM, Four Points®, Aloft® Hotels and Element®.  Members can earn Elite Status via Qualifying Stays under the requirements listed below:

●     Gold Elite: 10 to 24 Qualifying Stays or 25 to 49 Qualifying Nights

●     Platinum Elite: 25 or more Qualifying Stays or 50 to 74 Qualifying Nights

There is nothing on the T&Cs that would indicate that a member should have retained his/her SPG account (numbers were changed for all) to qualify under the legacy method. Marriott Rewards has been pushing members to merge their accounts ever since August 18.

It is unclear in which jurisdiction the reader is. He should contact the consumer ombudsman and lodge complaint against Marriott International in this matter. Alternatively, he can open a complaint using Better Business Bureau (access their website) or Attorney General of the state where Marriott’s headquarter is or state where the reader lives if in the US.

Conclusion

It is really unfortunate that Marriott Rewards & SPG customer service employees at the Platinum Liaison level are not able to read and comprehend their 60 or so pages long program T&Cs.

It is clear that the reader has qualified per the text above to using the “legacy” method. If Marriott now suddenly claims that it is only available for accounts that were not merged, they should have clearly spelled that out as well.

Marriott Rewards has certainly caused huge amount of ill will among its program members since the August 18th. I don’t think that anybody can believe that this would be the recipe for long-term success of the company.

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