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The time has come! The Marriott – Starwood merger will officially happen on August 18, 2018. That’s just a few weeks away, and we’ve all been waiting to hear more about what this would mean for both loyalty programs.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Marriott – Starwood Merger Is Happening
As of August 18, 2018, folks with both a Marriott and Starwood account will be able to combine those accounts into one unified profile, with a single points balance. Your elite night credits will also be combined.
Anyone with only a Starwood account (those without a Marriott account) will be given a new 9-digit account number, which will appear through a pop-up when you log in to your account. Your password will stay the same.
Some Marriott members may also receive a new account number. And if so, you’ll receive an email or call from Marriott with the updated information.
Calculating Your Combined Points Balance
The balance of your Starwood points will be multiplied by 3 and added to this total. So, for example, if you currently have 1,000 Starwood Points and 1,000 Marriott points, you’ll wind up with 4,000 points total (1,000 Starwood points X 3 + 1,000 Marriott points).
With a merged account including all of the points you’ve earned, you’ll be able to book hotels and earn and redeem points across all of the Marriott and Starwood brands, which include 6,500 hotels across the world! Hopefully, this makes redeeming points more seamless. Because you’ll no longer need to transfer points between accounts.
Earning and Using Points
You can check out the new award chart here. According to Marriott, “nearly 70% of properties are getting less expensive or staying the same when redeeming points for free stays.” Although, as Stephen from the Frequent Miler points out, while technically true, in practice it’s not quite that great given the devaluation that took place in March 2018.
You’ll now also earn more points for stays. You’ll get:
- 10 Marriott points per $1 spent for stays (except 5 Marriott points per $1 spent at Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Element and 2.5 Marriott points per $1 spent at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay properties)
They’ll also be introducing peak and off-peak rates in 2019, and a no blackout date policy. But we don’t yet know exactly what the peak / off-peak calendar will look like.
Aside from these updates, it’s important to note that Category 8 hotels (85,000 points per night) can be booked at Category 7 rates (60,000 points per night) throughout 2018. So if you’ve been on the fence about booking a luxury hotel stay, now’s the time to do it!
Plus, Marriott Travel Packages will be bookable through August 17, 2018.
There will also be new benefits and elite status tiers. Given there are now more hotels in Marriott’s portfolio, you’ll have more options through which to earn elite status.
That could help some achieve status faster. And combining the elite credits you may have earned through both Marriott and Starwood should give you a leg up on earning elite status. You’ll earn Silver Elite status at 10 nights, Gold Elite status at 25 nights, and Platinum Elite status at 50 nights.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you have an upcoming stay in mind, you should look over the new award chart and decide whether you’ll save more points by booking now or after the chart (and new pricing!) goes into effect on August 18, 2018.
Marriott has also informed us to anticipate a website and app outage on August 18, 2018. So if you want to make any reservations, be sure to do so before then. Or wait until later in the day to do it.
We’ve been watching and waiting as the details of the Marriott – Starwood merger continue to unfold. Does any of this news affect your upcoming travel plans? Are there any hotels you plan on booking before the merger is official? Let us know in the comments!