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I think it’s fair to say that Marriott’s integration of Starwood and its Preferred Guest loyalty program has been less than smooth sailing since the two officially became one back in August 2018.
Thousands of Starwood members points failed to show correctly online, Starwood stays and nights from 2018 weren’t reflected correctly in members’ accounts, historic Starwood stays and nights weren’t recorded correctly in members’ accounts, Marriott’s elite choice benefits were not selectable for weeks and Lifetime status wasn’t being displayed correctly in members’ account either.
All in all the IT integration was one issue followed by another.
Well, while a lot of these issues are still ongoing there may be one issue that Marriott has finally got to grips with – Lifetime status.
A Brief Recent History of Marriott and Starwood Lifetime Status
Starwood Lifetime Status
To earn SPG Lifetime Gold status:
- At least 5 years of elite status with Starwood (years do not have to be concurrent and status can be from any source) and
- 250 eligible nights
To earn SPG Lifetime Platinum status:
- At least 10 years of earned SPG Platinum status (years do not have to be concurrent) and
- 500 eligible nights
Marriott Lifetime Status
To earn Marriott Rewards Lifetime Silver status:
- 250 nights at Marriott properties worldwide and
- 1,200,000 Marriott Rewards points earned (from any source)
To earn Marriott Rewards Lifetime Gold status:
- 500 nights at Marriott properties worldwide and
- 1,600,000 Marriott Rewards points earned (from any source)
To earn Marriott Rewards Lifetime Platinum status:
- 750 nights at Marriott properties worldwide and
- 2,000,000 Marriott Rewards points earned (from any source)
What Happened When The Loyalty Programs Combined?
When Marriott announced the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest it also announced a few changes to status levels and the lifetime status program.
- A new 75-night Platinum Premier Elite tier was created
- Marriott Rewards members could continue to earn Lifetime Status under the existing Marriott Rewards rules through 31 December 2018.
- SPG members could continue to earn Lifetime Status under the existing SPG rules through 31 December 2018.
- Members holding Marriott Lifetime Platinum status as at 31 December 2018 would be granted Lifetime Platinum Premier status from 2019
- Members holding Starwood Lifetime Platinum status as at 31 December 2018 would be granted Lifetime Platinum Premier status from 2019*
- From 1 January 2019 Marriott Lifetime status would be earned based on the number of night stayed and the number of years elite status has been held.
- From 1 January 2019 it would no longer be possible to earn Lifetime Platinum Premier (75-night) status.
*This wasn’t the case until Starwood members protested and Marriott gave way
Since we were told that Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status was not going to be an option after 2018 (it was a one time thing) it became important for those of us who were close (or close-ish) to top-tier lifetime status to make an extra effort to get over the line before 2018 was out.
For my part I had the number of nights needed for Marriott Lifetime Platinum Status in the bag for quite a few months but I didn’t earn the final points needed to cross the 2,000,000 barrier until July 2018.
At first Marriott indicated that everyone earning Lifetime Status before 18 August 2018 would see their status displayed correctly (Platinum Premier Elite) but, when 18 August came and went and Marriott still hadn’t updated my account (or anyone else’s account), Marriott said that everyone wold see the correct lifetime status displayed from 1 January 2019.
1 January came and went and still the Lifetime Status notations were incorrect in members’ accounts and, as the first three weeks of the year went by, I was beginning to wonder if Marriott was actually going to honor its pledge to award Lifetime Platinum Premier status after all.
Well, the waiting ended for a lot of us over the weekend as, after a Marriott systems update, the correct Lifetime status finally shows in members’ online accounts:
I’m not exactly sure what time this happened (I think the update started on Friday night) but, if you’ve been waiting to see if Marriott corrects your Lifetime status, I suggest checking your online account asap to see if all is well.
If you’re still in the midst of a battle with Marriott over missing nights and stays it’s possible that your Lifetime Status will still be incorrect (my sympathies) but there’s also a chance that Marriott’s update fixed other issues too so you may be in the clear.
For my part I’m relieved to see my Marriott Lifetime status correctly reflected in my account but I’d be interested to know if everyone else is ok too or if there are still some long-suffering SPG members whose accounts bear no resemblance to reality – let me know in the comments.