Marriott has announced details of the new program that combines Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. These take effect in August 2018. Scott posted a nice summary of the new program. I recently earned Lifetime Platinum status in the SPG program, and while I am happy with that achievement, my main concern was with how long it would last. The SPG program is ending, and until now there were only vague comments about how Lifetime status would pan out. Now, with this announcement, there is more clarity.
Elite Status Levels in the New Program
The new program has 5 tiers of elite status. An interesting hybrid of the 2 programs. Platinum and above (50+ nights/year) are eligible for complimentary upgrades at all properties. Platinum members earn Suite Night Awards, with 5 after 50 nights, and 5 more after 75 nights. Breakfast is expanding to most brands, including resorts, plus Courtyard (finally!), and also Protea and AC Hotels among others. Exceptions to the breakfast benefit remain at Ritz-Carlton, Edition, Gaylord, and Marriott Vacation Club properties.
There are now 4 levels of Platinum status. Not too far off from what SPG offers today. One change features a spending requirement for the highest tier after 100 nights which includes an Ambassador. Many of these features seem to be coming more or less as is from the SPG program.
Lifetime Tiers in the New Program
Here it is: Lifetime Platinum I just earned is still Lifetime Platinum. I am quite relieved at this news.
This seems equitable. Today Marriott has a higher threshold for Platinum status, both annually and in their lifetime program. Although my top-tier status with Starwood now is 3rd highest in the new program. To be fair, this is similar to SPG today, since there are 50, 75 and 100 night Platinums. It seems as if Platinum remains the top “full” level on the chart, just that those with more nights get more benefits. Sounds fair. Presumably the base benefits provided are the same for all with Platinum status
My Thoughts about the New Program
Overall, I’m pleased. This is not as bad as I feared it might be. Lifetime status keeps the same benefits I had before the announcement. One thing I am missing out on is the ability to earn Lifetime Platinum Premier status. This is offered for those that already earned Marriott Lifetime Platinum Premier (like Kevin), or those who meet the current standard after combining accrued nights in both programs. After this, there is not a path to earn Lifetime Platinum Premier. I won’t make this status, which is a little disappointing, but I’m mostly happy with what I have.
What do you think of the new program? Will the announcement cause a change in your travel patterns?