It feels like we’ve been waiting for Marriott to complete the merger of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs for ever but at last the end is in sight. Marriott will have one unified loyalty program from 18 August 2018.
Starpoints will cease to exist when Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest merge in August so this is genuinely the last chance you'll ever have to buy Starpoints at a discount. It may even be the last chance you get to buy discounted points which you can use at Marriott properties because, traditionally, Marriott doesn't offer discounted points sales.
To the surprise of many in the miles & points world (including me) Starwood has launched another points promotion in which it's offering a discount of 35% on purchases of 5,000 points or more. This mirrors an offer we saw back in April and is the best discount Starwood has historically offered on its currency.
As of August this year Starwood's loyalty program (SPG) will finally be merged with Marriott Rewards and a new program will emerge. SPG has been a very popular loyalty/rewards programs with those who chose to spend their time at Starwood properties and its passing appears to be saddening a good proportion of this group. I'm not one of this group and I can honestly say that the passing of SPG doesn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, to some degree, I have a "good riddance" attitude towards the program.
Although Marriott released details of its new award chart at the beginning of last week it was only partially useful to those of us who care about these things because it only gave us half the information we need. The award charts told us what categories we can expect and how much properties in each category will cost but there was no information on which properties will appear in which categories. Now we've been given some examples.
One of the things we learned last week when Marriott announced its plans for the merger of Marriott Rewards and SPG is that we can expect a short transition window between the beginning of August and the end of December. During this time a number of Marriott Rewards and SPG features will run side by side as travelers get used to the new combined program (e.g SPG members will still be able to qualify for elite status on stays) but the major part of the transition surrounds the new Marriott award chart.
Starwood has launched another points promotion in which it's offering a discount of 35% on purchases of 5,000 points or more. This mirrors an offer we saw towards the end of last year and is the best discount Starwood has historically offered on its currency. While Starpoints can be used to use to book award nights at properties in the Starwood and Marriott portfolios there are other uses that may offer better value and I'll go through those uses in this post.
There's no doubt that, right now, the big miles & points news surrounds the new Marriott loyalty program that's beginning to emerge from the union of Marriott Reward and Starwood's SPG program. I've already taken a look at the facts behind what Marriott has told us so far, I've written about the new credit cards that are on the way (and the changes coming to the existing credit card portfolio) and I've taken a look at who I think the big winners and losers are in the shake up....but there are still things we don't yet know.
Earlier today I took a look at the facts behind the new loyalty program that's being born from the merger of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs but I didn't pass any comment on the changes. I also took a look at the new credit cards that are coming on line from as early as next month as well as the changes we'll be seeing to the existing credit card line up. Now that all the facts are out of the way it's time to let a little emotion show and to take a look at who the big winners and losers are in the Marriott Rewards/SPG shake up.
Marriott has finally announced almost all of the major details surrounding the new combined loyalty program that will soon be taking the place of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). With so many changes on the way and with so much new information for us to absorb today will be Marriott Day on Traveling For Miles with 3 posts dedicated to everything we now know about the new combined loyalty program.