BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update! 2 New Cards, 1 Loyalty Program, & More!

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BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update! 2 New Cards, 1 Loyalty Program, & More!

Million Mile SecretsBIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update! 2 New Cards, 1 Loyalty Program, & More!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Marriott has just announced several changes coming to the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood loyalty programs, and how they intend to unify the very different programs.  The good news is, it’s largely positive!

Marriott will soon finally consolidate everything into 1 loyalty program.  You’ll be able to earn points faster.  And there are even brand new fancy credit cards coming our way!

BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update 2 New Cards 1 Loyalty Program More
Expect a Major Overhaul in Marriott Hotel Categories!

Here are the details.

Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood to Soon Become 1 Loyalty Program

Link:   Marriott Members

Having all 3 loyalty programs in one place will simplify a lot.

One loyalty program will make it easier to search for a stay, as you can see both Starwood and Marriott hotels in one place.  And in August, Marriott will convert your Starwood points to Marriott points at a ratio of 1:3 (1 Starwood point = 3 Marriott points).  You can already do this yourself any time, but the change will be mandatory in August.

Here are 5 more changes coming to the program.

1.   One Combined Award Chart

Marriott will publish a new award chart of 8 categories.  We don’t have all the details yet, like which hotels will fall into each category, but we do know that this makes some Starwood hotels slightly more affordable!

Some hotels currently cost 35,000 Starwood points per night.  Because you can transfer Starwood points to Marriott at a ratio of 1:3, these hotels cost an equivalent of 105,000 Marriott points (35,000 Starwood points X 3).  The most you’ll pay for a hotel is 100,000 Marriott points.

BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update 2 New Cards 1 Loyalty Program More
Hopefully No Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Hotels Fall Under Category 8. That’s Significantly More than Any Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Hotel Charges Currently

We do know that more hotels are going down in cost than are going up.  And Marriott is introducing peak night and off-peak night prices.  With peak nights, you’ll spend 20% more points than normal.  And with off-peak nights, you’ll spend 20% less.

There will also be NO blackout dates for award nights.

2.   Improved Transfer Partners

You can transfer Starwood points to 30+ airlines at a ratio of 1:1, with a bonus 5,000 miles for every increment of 20,000 Starwood points you transfer.  Folks were worried that this benefit would disappear, but it is NOT!  It’s actually getting better.

You can transfer Marriott points to airlines at a ratio of 3:1 (3 Marriott points = 1 airline mile).  And you’ll get a bonus 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer (which translates into 5,000 bonus miles).  That’s a ratio equivalent to Starwood’s transfer rate and bonus, as 1 Starwood point = 3 Marriott points.

And there will be 10 additional transfer partners!  So you’ll be able to transfer your points to more airlines at a good rate than ever before.

3.   New Credit Cards

On May 3, 2018, Marriott will release a new Chase Marriott credit card, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus.  The card will have a 100,000 Marriott point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.  And we have lots of other details about the card.

You’ll get:

  • 6 Marriott points per $1 at Marriott hotels
  • 2 Marriott points per $1 on everything else
  • Free anniversary night, valid at hotels that cost up to 35,000 points per night
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status
  • Gold Elite Status when you spend $35,000+ on the card in a calendar year
  • 15 elite night credits each year (beginning in 2019)

The annual fee is $95.

There will also be a super fancy new AMEX Starwood credit card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card.  We don’t know the welcome offer on this card, but we know it comes with:

  • 6 points per $1 spent at Marriott hotels
  • 3 points per $1 spent on airfare and at US restaurants
  • 2 points per $1 on everything else
  • $300 statement credit for on-site hotel purchases
  • Free anniversary night, valid at hotels that cost up to 50,000 points per night
  • Automatic Gold Elite Status
  • Platinum Elite Status when you spend $75,000 in purchases in a calendar year
  • Priority Pass Select membership with guest privileges (maximum 2 guests per visit)
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $100 Global Entry credit

The card comes with a $450 annual fee.

4.   Elite Status

Every night you spend at one of Marriott’s 29 brands will soon fall under the same elite status structure.  And Starwood and Marriott will combine elite nights in August 2018.

BIG Marriott Starwood Merger Update 2 New Cards 1 Loyalty Program More
You Won’t Have to Juggle the Marriott and Starwood Elite Status Requirements Anymore

There is also an Ambassador elite level you can earn after staying 100 nights and spending $20,000 per year.  If you already have lifetime elite status with one of these loyalty programs, you will keep it.

5.   Marriott Moments Program Expands

Link:   Marriott Moments

The Marriott Moments program lets you redeem your points for more than just hotel stays.  You can do things like attend exclusive concerts, reserve box seats at sporting events, take private winery tours, etc.  Things you probably couldn’t do otherwise!

Marriott says there are currently 8,000 experiences you can use your points for with Marriott and Starwood points.  But they’re adding 110,000 more!  Time will tell how valuable your points will be toward these new experiences.

Bottom Line

Lots of changes are coming to the Starwood and Marriott loyalty programs!  By August 2018, you can expect things like:

  • A single loyalty program
  • A single award chart
  • New credit cards
  • More transfer partners with worthwhile transfer ratios
  • More options for Marriott Moments

Let me know what you think of these changes!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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on the new Marriott 100000 point credit card how much do you have to spend to earn the points

I have a reward stay booked for the St. Regis in Hawaii later this year (Early September). I had to transfer a bunch of points from Marriott to SPG to get the stay booked. Do you think the point values for that property will come down such that I can get some of my points back?

Also – Will the new program retain the 5th night free when booking an award stay on points?

Joseph Hostetler

Based on the new award chart, It HAS to drop. I’d check to see if there are still available nights after the new chart takes effect in August, and then cancel and rebook. It will likely cost 60,000 points in September. And Marriott is keeping the 5th night free program.

My husband and I both had the SPG cards and used up all the points to take our kids to Disney world. We have never had a marriott or Ritz card and usually stay at Hyatts, which we use a lot of points at. We are both 5/24 with chase right now. I read that Marriott Business and Ritz do not count towards this…. Would we benefit from getting these cards now or should we wait? what would you suggest for us to do? Thank you

It’s hard to say because we don’t know what the bonuses on the new cards will be and whether or not they will be restricted by “5/24.” And AMEX will be issuing new SPG-Marriott cards so you might want to wait to see what those bonuses are before making a decision.

Starwood points used to be worth approximately 3 cents/point and we would get 1 point per dollar spent for most everyday purchases. . . so, each $1 spent would get us 3 cents back. In the new point system each point is worth 1 cent/point and we will earn 2 points for each dollar spent. . . so, each dollar spent will get us 2 cents back. How is this new point system better for earning points with any of the credit cards offered? They cut our future earning value for each point by 33%. Anyone have an answer to this issue? The transfer value is fair but the ability to earn future points by using our credit card has been slashed by 33%

SPG points are worth 2.5 cents each, not 3 cents

Million Mile Secrets

That’s absolutely correct, for non-bonus spending. You’ll still get the same earning rate as before when staying at Marriott and Starwood hotels, and on airfare and restaurants (but because we’re miles & points experts, hopefully we’re not often paying for hotel nights, and we’re putting airfare and dining on a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred!)
Ted’s comment below was correct, Marriott giveth, and Marriott taketh away. They’ve improved their transfer ratio to many airline partners, and decreased lots of hotel prices. But they have made it more difficult to earn points.

Today the most expensive hotel costs 45,000 Marriott points. In January, some of these hotels will almost double in price. I find such a drastic price increase to be rather obnoxious.

Million Mile Secrets

True, but I wouldn’t call that bad news just yet! This new award chart includes Ritz-Carlton hotels, which currently cost 70,000 Marriott points. And Starwood hotels which cost 90,000 Marriott points.
In other words, I don’t think a current category 7 Marriott hotel is going to jump from its current price of 35,000 points to the new category 7 price of 60,000 points. The hotels will need to be recategorized.

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