Starwood & Marriott Merger Update June 2018

As mentioned back in 2016, the programs weren’t going to merge until 2018. Marriott has announced that on August 18th, 2018, the Starwood and Marriott programs will merge into a single program. All of your SPG points will convert to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio. Just this week, Marriott announced the new award chart mapping hotels to their new categories. Check out the chart here: https://points-redemption.marriott.com/category-change

There is a sweet spot hidden in this chart. All Category 8 hotels are bookable at Category 7 rates, 60K Marriott points/night (20K SPG points/night), between August 18th – December 31st, 2018. This includes the amazing St. Regis Maldives, St. Regis Osaka, St. Regis Bali, St. Regis Princeville and The Price Gallery Tokyo just to name a few. Competition to book these rooms at this amazing rate will be tough, but worth trying! You just have to book the reservation by December 31st, 2018 so you can stay in 2019.

St. Regis Moscow Astor Suite

What about SPG AMEX credit cards as of August 1st?
SPG Personal Card:

  • Annual free night award (up to 35,000 points/Category 5) after card renewal
  • Automatic Silver elite status
  • Earn Gold status after spending $30,000 on the card in 2018; $35,000 beginning in 2019
  • 15 elite night credits beginning in 2019 (limited to once per member, not once per card)
  • 6X Marriott points at participating Marriott hotels
  • 2X Marriott points on all other purchases (33% drop in earnings from the current rate with SPG)

SPG Business Card – Lounge Access for Sheraton hotels no longer offered effective August 1st:

  • Same as Personal Card with the following addition
    • 4X Marriott points on purchases at US Restaurants, US Gas Stations, US Mobile Phone Providers and US Shipping (USPS, FedEx, UPS)

New SPG Luxury Card – Yes, I’m signing up for this card! The free annual night is worth more than $150:

  • $450 Annual fee
  • $300 in statement credits for purchases at participating Marriott hotels each cardmember year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, every 4 years
  • Priority Pass Select membership (including two guests)
  • Annual free night award (up to 50,000 points/Category 6) after card renewal
  • Automatic Gold status and the ability to earn Platinum after spending $75k in a calendar year
  • 15 elite night credits beginning in 2019 (limited to once per member per year, not once per card)
  • 6X Marriott points at participating Marriott hotels
  • 3X Marriott points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X Marriott points on all other purchases

Will I use my SPG AMEX card for everyday spend as of August 1st?
Yes, I will split my spend between my SPG AMEX, Alaska Airlines and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards. They all offer ~$0.02 value per dollar spent on non-bonus category spend. Previously, I used my SPG AMEX exclusively for non-bonus category spend.

New Award Chart (Cash + Points is a poor value so stick to Points Only redemptions):

New Marriott Award Chart

New Marriott Award Chart

 

Thoughts on the new program? Which hotels are you going to book during the “sweet spot” period? I’m going to try to book the St. Regis Bali for 5 nights.

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