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UPDATE: The Marriott/SPG merger is now complete, check out our updated guide covering all the changes.
Ever since the Marriott and SPG merger, a closer integration between the two brands has always been on the cards. Marriott has announced some changes to SPG, and it's loyalty program that will come into effect in 2018. The move is another step in the two programs aligning themselves to become a single loyalty program.
Changes To Come In 2018
- Starting in 2018, SPG members will no longer benefit from rollover nights and the ability to buy back your status with points
- Marriott will be expanding its partnership with Hertz in 2018, while SPG will be starting a new partnership with them. As part of the new tie-in, Platinum members of both programs will be entitled to status match to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star. Marriott Rewards Platinum Premier and SPG Platinum members with Ambassador service will be entitled to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle
- Starpoints will not expire for SPG members who have achieved lifetime status with the program
How Big Are The Changes?
The changes are relatively minor and seem to be more about aligning both programs. While SPG lifetime members will welcome the fact that the points will no longer expire, we're guessing Marriott Rewards members will be unhappy with the elimination of rollover nights and the ability to buy back status. The Hertz tie-in is a welcome bonus, but otherwise minimally valuable. While the changes are not massive, they are nevertheless another small step towards the merging of both programs.
Remember that while both programs are ostensibly separate, they are actually linked. Instantly matching your status from one program to another is just one of the few sweet spots you can currently take advantage of.
Even though Marriott Rewards is a great loyalty program, and has some valuable redemption options, including Hotel + Air Packages, SPG is no slouch either. Starpoints arguably are the most valuable points out there. If Marriott plays its cards right, they have the potential to create a single loyalty program that combines the strengths of the different programs, while eliminating their weaknesses. If they succeed, the new single program could prove very attractive. So far, they seem to be making small adjustments not to rock the boat either way, and we're ok with that.
Source: One Mile At A Time
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