Please keep in mind this is a rumor, but I thought it was worth sharing here. Maybe the recent announcement about how the new combined Marriott/SPG program will play out in 2019 is not set in stone. I’ve been monitoring a thread on Flyertalk and there some members have posted interactions that seem to imply the information on Marriott Rewards lifetime status released earlier this week is not final. There have been several (unverified) reports like this, but here is one quote:
After checking with two separate MR supervisors and a hold time of nearly one hour, the PLT agent said she was told that SPG LTP will be grandfathered as LTPP. She said that it wouldnt be right to not grandfather SPG LTP as LTPP…
As a reminder, here is a summary of the current plans for Lifetime status in the new program:
Starting in August, you’ll be able to qualify instantly for one of our three Lifetime tiers:
Lifetime Silver Elite, Lifetime Gold Elite and Lifetime Platinum Elite.
You can qualify for Lifetime status based on your combined Rewards and SPG nights and Elite years. If you achieved Elite status in both SPG and Rewards in one year, you’ll receive credit for two Elite years. You can also qualify via the existing criteria through December 31, 2018. When your current Elite status is higher than your Lifetime status, you’ll receive the higher-status benefits for that year.
And if you’ve previously achieved Lifetime Elite status in Rewards or SPG, you will have that Lifetime Elite status in the new program.
Today’s Starwood Preferred Guest Lifetime Platinum vs Marriott Rewards Lifetime Platinum
I’ve discussed my journey to SPG Lifetime Platinum status (LTP) here before. Earning this status is a slog, requiring 10 years of Platinum status, and 500 nights. No way to earn these nights without putting a ‘head in bed’. Earning Lifetime Platinum with Marriott requires 750 nights, and 2 million points earned. That is also a significant commitment, but strangely it can be achieved without ever earning Marriott Rewards Platinum status in a single year. As Kevin notes in his post about his upcoming Marriott Lifetime Platinum Premier status, Marriott credits 15 nights per year to credit card holders plus an additional night for each $3000 spent on their card.
But it’s not fair!
I’ve seen some SPG Lifetime Platinum people complaining about unequal treatment versus those with Lifetime Marriott status. This is mostly with regard to the Grandfathered Lifetime Platinum Premier (LTPP). The higher night threshold should not be ignored, but what about those with 750+ nights at Starwood? Why is there not a path for these loyal guest to earn an equivalent status with the new program in 2019?
Other than presumably higher upgrade priority for those with LTPP status, it is not clear what additional benefit those with LTPP status have over those with LTP. With my SPG night count in the mid-500s, I’m a ways from the 750 night threshold. I probably have another 100 or so nights with Marriott, but I was using my wife’s account for many of those stays. For that reason, I never had a Marriott account in my name until I linked accounts for the merger. Now I’ve only banked a few nights since then in my Marriott Rewards account. I doubt I’ll be at 600 combined nights come August 1.
Who knows what will ultimately happen with the lifetime program going forward. I’m mostly content with my status mapping to LTP. I don’t expect it, but certainly won’t turn down a bump up to LTPP. Those travelers who have been loyal to SPG with 750+ nights certainly have more of a case in demanding equivalent treatment in the new program. There is no way to combine programs like this without upsetting some people. This isn’t a perfect solution, but I found the announcement to be about as fair as could be hoped for. Maybe now it will be even more generous for some.