What the Final Marriott Merger Milestone Means for SPG Members and Elites

by Sam Roecker

Marriott finally announced details this week on the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards accounts.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalists finally have their date with destiny, err with Marriott anyway. Nearly two years after officially merging into the world’s largest hotel chain, Marriott ‘set the date’ for the combined loyalty program – August 18.

What to Expect on August 18

On August 18, Starwood Preferred Guest members’ old SPG numbers will notice some big changes, including a new membership number, tripled points, and potentially a higher status. Members with both Marriott and Starwood accounts can merge the two, pooling both points and qualifying Elite Nights into a single account.

What SPG Members Should Expect

✅ SPG points will multiply by three

✅ New SPG app and SPG.com will launch, mirroring Marriott

✅ The app will include features like Mobile Requests

SPG Members – What You Need to Know. Image by Point Me to the Plane.

What About Earning Points?

Members in the combined program will earn more points per stay, 10 points per dollar at most properties. According to Marriott, members will earn 20% more points per dollar on average in the new program. Earning details include:

  • 10 points per dollar for stays at most brands
  • 5 points per dollar at Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Element
  • 2.5 points per dollar at Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay properties
  • ‘Full-folio earning’ on room rates, restaurants, bard and room incidentals

Redeeming Points

✅ No blackout dates

✅ Peak and Off-Peak rates introduced in 2019

✅ New Category 8 also coming in 2019

According to Marriott, of the combined properties,

  • 52% will move to a lower redemption rate
  • 31% will move to a higher rate
  • 17% will stay the same

Overall, that sounds relatively generous, but note those combined rates are based on the August 2018 ‘Standard’ rates – not the ‘Off-Peak’ and ‘Peak’ rates coming in 2019.

Marriott also issued a new free night award chart.

New Marriott hotel award chart

New Marriott award chart introduces ‘Category 8’ hotels. Image by Marriott

Six Elite Tiers in the new program

With the combined program, six new elite tiers will be available to members from both programs.

Marriott Rewards Elite Tiers

Six new Elite Tiers in the combined program

  • New for SPG members: Silver Elite status at 10 nights
  • New for Marriott Rewards members: Gold Elite status at 25 nights and Platinum Elite status at 50 nights

By combining accounts, many members will ‘upgrade’ to a higher status.

Combing accounts may result in higher status

Your new elite status will be based on combined nights – not stays – across both Marriott and SPG brands. That means your status will be determined by stays across both brands, not your prior status with one program or another.

Le Meridien New Orleans lobby. Image by Marriott.

What About Lifetime Elite Status?

Members of either program will instantly qualify for Lifetime Elite status.

Starting August 18, members of all three programs will be able to qualify instantly for one of three Lifetime Elite status levels, based on combined accumulated nights:

  • Lifetime Silver Elite – 250 Lifetime Nights + 5 Years Elite Status
  • Lifetime Gold Elite – 400 Lifetime Nights + 7 Years Gold Elite Status or higher
  • Lifetime Platinum Elite – 600 Lifetime Nights + 10 Years Platinum Elite Status or higher

Marriott Lifetime Elite Status. Image by Marriott.

Existing lifetime members will keep their status

Existing members who qualified for lifetime status in Marriott Rewards or SPG will keep their status in the new program.

Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite

Members who reach 750 nights and 10 years as a Platinum Elite by December 31, 2018, will be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status.

Additionally, members who achieve Marriott Rewards Lifetime Platinum (under the existing requirements) will also be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status.

Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status will not be available after this year.

Lifetime activity will be combined across programs

The new program will combine lifetime stays across both Marriott Rewards and SPG and count them toward lifetime status qualification.


While many lament the end of what has long been considered one of the most valuable loyalty programs out there, Starwood Preferred Guest members will at least benefit from tripled points in the form of Marriott Rewards. Those with accounts in both programs have an opportunity for a nice status boost, as well.

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Sophie July 26, 2018 - 5:48 pm

My friend is booking 7k per night spg hotel that is moving to 30k under Marriott chart and is hopping to get 30k refunded when he cancels. Thoughts?

William July 29, 2018 - 3:01 pm

Wait a minute, am I to understand that my current Marriott Platinum status will drop to nothing, since I have it from a status challenge?


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