Marriott and Starwood blindsided us with a late-night post on the details of their merger, which completed today, and their plans to immediately match status and allow points transfers between programs. This is a temporary move while they continue to work to integrate the two programs at a later date.
There are several important questions that people have wanted addressed, so I’ll try to keep this post brief. You can read more details and match your status on Marriott’s dedicated page.
First, the rumor I shared yesterday (originally from Head for Points) is confirmed: SPG Starpoints will be convertible to Marriott Rewards points at a ratio of 1 to 3 and vice versa. This means you can take advantage of either program while they both continue to operate.
How long will those two programs continue to operate? Still no date, but sometime in 2018. That’s a long way off and not a reason to immediately redeem all your Starpoints if you still have reservations about the transfer ratio. If you were wondering, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards will continue to operate as a separate program.
You can take advantage of a status match immediately. This has the advantage of allowing you to concentration your earning in one program or the other. You can’t earn or use benefits across programs — a hotel will still be a member of only one program until these programs merge. But let’s say you find it really easy to earn Marriott status even though you prefer to stay at Starwood hotels. A status match allows you to earn Platinum with Marriott, match to Platinum with Starwood, and use that SPG Platinum status when you stay at one of Starwood’s brands. I’ve already compared the benefits of Marriott and Starwood’s elite tiers in an earlier post.
Finally, all thirty (yes, 30) brands will continue to operate. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be culled later, but for now St. Regis and The Ritz-Carlton, among others, will be side-by-side.
I’m going to let Travel Summary discuss more of the details in his post later this morning, which covers some of the possible benefits of these transfers and status matching. But now you have the facts to start your day.