I’ve been so busy traveling the past few weeks I haven’t spent a ton of time thinking about the changes that Marriott announced about a new combined loyalty program. I discussed a bunch of the highlights on my podcast with travel guru Gary Leff right after the changes were announced. As we digested the changes, I was thinking about “winners” and “losers”. Every major change has customers that fall into both camps.
One of the major changes for SPG elites was a formalized status level at 75 nights. Here’s how all the status levels breakdown:
Platinum Premier Elite Benefits
As a reminder (and if you can’t read the tiny print when you enlarge the image above) Platinum Premier members receive:
- Free internet access
- 75% bonus points
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Welcome amenity (points or breakfast)
- Suite upgrades (based on availability)
- Lounge Access
- 10 Suite Night Awards
- 48-hour guaranteed rooms
The last two choices are highlighted in bold as extra benefits that Platinum Premier members get in addition to the benefits Platinum members receive.
Lifetime Platinum Premier For Marriott Only?
When the original announcement was made, Marriott made it known that the only folks eligible for Lifetime Platinum Premier would be Marriott customers who had achieved Lifetime Platinum in the existing program. SPG Platinum members would be stuck at the Lifetime Platinum level. This was regardless of how many years of elite status and nights they had stayed.
According to View From The Wing, Marriott has changed course and will now grant lifetime Platinum Premier status to any Starwood Preferred Guest member with 10 years as a SPG Platinum member and 750 elite-qualifying nights. Going forward, neither Marriott or SPG members will be able to earn Lifetime Platinum Premier status once December 31, 2018 comes and goes.
The Final Two Pennies
I’ve been a SPG lifetime Platinum member for a few years now. I have waaaaay more than 750 nights. So, I’ll be one of the people who falls into this one-time category of Lifetime Platinum Premier.
I suspect that the original reason Marriott didn’t allow SPG lifetime members to reach the Lifetime Platinum Premier level was financial. Marriott’s lifetime requirements have had a cash component for quite some time. You needed to earn a certain amount of base points to achieve each of the 3 lifetime status levels. That was in addition to the requirement to stay a certain number of nights. SPG had no such requirement on their side.
I suspect the reason Marriott pivoted and decided to offer lifetime Platinum Premier status to top-tier SPG elites is…..financial. I’ve written pretty frequently about how I get very little value out of my SPG suite upgrade awards. Heck, I titled that last post “I Guess I’m a Moron” for a reason. Marriott is essentially giving 25% more bonus points when members actually pay for a stay. And, lifetime Platinum Premier Elites get a vague promise that they might, kinda sorta, someday have a better shot at getting a suite.
If you’re close to 750 nights and already a lifetime SPG Platinum member (or will earn it this year), I think it’s worth the push forward. It’s unlikely that Marriott makes this level more rewarding in the future, but you never know. I’m generally a fan of lifetime status and would consider the push if you’re close.
This is an easy win for Marriott that costs them almost nothing. The only real question is why they didn’t come up with it prior to announcing the new program.
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