Any change that happens doesn’t come without a painful transition. Marriott tried to keep the program as best case scenario for both the programs but SPG was the stronger program of both and ofcourse it is where the most leakage of benefits happened.
50-Night Gift Changes
Earlier when SPG member reached 50 nights – the member was allowed to choose from the array of benefits including:
Those members that stay 50 nights during the calendar year can choose one benefit from a number of options that have changed several times during the years.
You can access SPG’s web page for SPG 50 benefits here.
Here are the SPG 50 Choice Benefits for 2018:
- 10 Suite Night Awards (default choice – if you don’t choose anything SPG will choose this and deposit these to your account in 2019)
- The gift of Gold status for a friend or family member (through February 2020)
- One Free Night Award (Category 1 – 5 & must be consumed by December 31, 2019)
- Five Elite-Qualifying Nights (applied in 2018 towards 2019 status)
- SPG donation ($100) to UNICEF
- 40% off your favorite hotel bed
THE CHANGE of the Gift
When you hit 50 nights with the new program – You will only get 5 Suite nights award. You are not entitled to any other benefits on the list.
75 Night Benefit
You will have to earn rest 5 Suite night awards when you finish another 25 nights with the program at 75 nights.
SPG Platinum member with 75 nights who is entitled to Your24, which lets you check-in and check-out at any point over a 24 hour period, subject to availability (this is great in the Middle East, when you have a flight arriving and departing at 3 AM, for example). As of August, that benefit will only be available to 100-night elite members.
100 Night Benefit
100 Night was the passage to GRAND things with SPG. Luckily, it remains same with Marriott. However, it comes with a small twist. You need to spend $20k (13 lakhs per year is steep) on your hotel bills to use that privilege. Also, would there be some meter that indicates my yearly spending? I don’t see one right now. How would I know that I am at say $15k vs $20k?
Removal of Stay Based Qualification
Earlier SPG Platinum status could be acquired finishing 25 stays. It was either 50 nights or 25 stays. Hence, people like me who usually do short stays were delighted to achieve Platinum Status as soon as we finished 25 stays which I always earned before I finished my 50 nights.
Now, I need to do 50 nights every year to get renewed membership.
Earning of Multiple Room Elite night GONE
This is an area where Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest have historically had different policies:
- Marriott Rewards has let you earn points for up to three rooms per night, assuming the member pays for all three rooms
- Starwood Preferred Guest has let you earn elite qualifying nights and points for up to three rooms per night, assuming the member pays for all three rooms
In other words, historically both programs have awarded the same number of points for comparable stays, while Starwood has awarded three times as many elite nights.
The new Marriott program will award points for up to three rooms, but will only award elite nights for up to one room, so they’re keeping the Marriott policy. This change will kick in as of August.
Simply put, if you are traveling in a group, Marriott isn’t going to be an ideal option. The only way you will get the benefit is your own room and not from the family plans.
There are great benefits coming too when the program get merged, which I would cover in another post. However, to maintain my old benefits or get those aspirational benefits like Ambassador status without 20k spend, I need to do mattress run right now. I doubt they want to start a new program by removing my benefits. Rather they want me to feel welcome and hence, I would retain benefits till 2020 which is of a great value.