Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest have been my least used major hotel loyalty programs over the past five years. My stays at Marriott hotel brands are generally limited to times when they have a MegaBonus free night offer after 2 stays.
SPG is a program I held Platinum elite status in for 9 years through 2011. Ironically I ended 2011 with 24 stays and dropped to SPG Gold, then three months later I was invited to be part of the SPG Amex bloggers program and spent the year staying at fancy hotels with no suite upgrades as an SPG Gold elite.
Two reasons I stopped staying at Starwood Hotels after 2012.
- Lackluster SPG promotions. Double points for 4 points/$1 on hotel spend paled in value to many other bonus points and free night opportunities happening across major hotel loyalty programs.
- Starwood Hotels were generally too expensive in places I traveled or not present at all. Over the past five years I found better hotel spend value commonly available in other hotel chains.
I had around 200 lifetime nights in SPG at the end of 2012. Actually, I stayed dozens of more nights at Starwood Hotels, but my years of SPG award stays accrued prior to SPG counting award nights as elite qualifying on October 1, 2011 do not count in my SPG 236 nights tally.
SPG 236 Lifetime Nights and one night booked so far in 2018.
I have read through a dozen or so articles this week about the August 1, 2018 Marriott-SPG combined hotel loyalty program. One aspect of the changes that caught my attention is the requirements for lifetime elite become much harder in the new Marriott-SPG combined program compared to the current SPG requirements.
Current SPG Lifetime Elite Requirements:
- SPG Lifetime Gold = 250 nights + 5 years SPG elite status.
- SPG Lifetime Platinum = 500 nights + 10 years SPG Platinum elite status.
August 1, 2018 new Marriott-SPG loyalty program will combine lifetime nights from Marriott and SPG with new qualification requirements for elite years. Total years a member earned elite status in both Marriott or SPG will be combined in the new program.
I have fewer than 50 Marriott lifetime nights.
I think I earned Marriott Silver elite one year and SPG Gold (2 years) or Platinum elite (9 years) for a combined 12 years elite status.
- Marriott-SPG Lifetime Silver = 250 Lifetime Nights + 5 years elite status
- Marriott-SPG Lifetime Gold = 400 Lifetime Nights + 7 years Gold elite status or higher
- Marriott-SPG Lifetime Gold = 600 Lifetime Nights + 10 years Platinum elite status
However, members have until Dec 31, 2018 to qualify for Lifetime Elite under current SPG lifetime requirements.
This means I have until the end of 2018 to pick up another 13 nights at Starwood Hotels to qualify for SPG Gold Lifetime elite by Dec 31, 2018 and receive Lifetime Gold elite in the new Marriott-SPG program.
Gold elite benefits are not outstanding, but might be worth shifting a $1,000 of hotel spend to Starwood Hotel stays for the benefit of 25% bonus points and the potential for room upgrades in future years.
I will be looking to book 3 or 4 stays of 3 to 4 nights in some cheap European or Asian locations in autumn 2018.