Marriott-Starwood Merger Update! Are You Affected by These Changes?

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We have more updates to share about the Marriott-Starwood merger!

Marriott has announced a few changes to the Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs which will begin in 2018.  And depending on your situation, a couple of them might have an impact on you!  I’ll give you the details.

Marriott Starwood Merger Update Are You Affected By These Changes
The Good News Is, If You Have Starwood Lifetime Status, Your Points Will Never Expire

More Marriott-Starwood Merger News

The Marriott-Starwood merger is slowly progressing.

We know that the original goal was to combine Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood Preferred Guest into 1 loyalty program by 2018.  And so far, there haven’t been any major changes to any of the programs.

But today, these 2018 benefit changes were announced:

  • Beginning in 2018, stays earned above and beyond elite qualifying requirements will NOT rollover from year to year.  So stays one year can NOT be used to help you to qualify for elite status the following year.
  • You can NOT buy back your Marriott elite status with points after 2017.  So if you don’t re-qualify for elite status with nights or stays, you are out of luck.
  • Starwood points will NOT expire if you have Starwood lifetime status.
  • You can now earn bonus Starwood points when you rent a car through Hertz.  If you have Platinum elite status with either Marriott or Starwood, you’ll get Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status.  Which comes with benefits like rental upgrades and 10% bonus Hertz points.  And if you have Starwood Ambassador status or Marriott Platinum Premier status, you will get Hertz President’s Circle Status.

These changes are mostly positive and aren’t too significant, but it’s good to stay informed!

Aside from these changes, the merger has actually made both Marriott and Starwood points MORE flexible, because you can transfer them between programs.  Plus, you can get an instant status match if you have elite status with either hotel chain.  And enjoy elite perks with both hotels!

Bottom Line

Marriott has announced changes to both the Starwood and Marriott loyalty programs.  Beginning in 2018:

  • Marriott elite qualifying stays will no longer rollover from year to year (after 2017), and you will no longer be able to buy back your elite status
  • Your Starwood points will NOT expire if you have Starwood lifetime status
  • You will get improved Starwood and Marriott benefits when renting with Hertz

What do you think of these loyalty program tweaks?

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