This past weekend we finally got to another major milestone in the combination of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. It’s been a long time since the merger between Marriott and Starwood was announced. A lot of water has flown under a lot of bridges, but the picture has started to come much more sharply into focus. Back in April we learned what the new program would look like. Well, mostly.
There was some initial frustration from SPG members on how they ended up with the short straw on lifetime status. After a few small changes, Marriott ended up at a much more inclusive strategy for how to hand out lifetime status.
While there’s been plenty of teeth gnashing on travel packages (and more to discuss there in the near future) you’re now able to combine your accounts. Maybe.
How To Combine Your Marriott Rewards And Starwood Preferred Guest Accounts
I received a note from one of my contacts at Marriott Rewards yesterday. They have websites in place now for both Marriott and SPG folks to combine their accounts:
Account Combine functionality is now rolling out in batches to our members through tomorrow. As a result, when members log in and see the prompt they will have the opportunity to combine their accounts. Once members’ combine their Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz Carlton-Rewards, and SPG accounts their nights and points earned will also combine, potentially helping them achieve Elite status faster and accumulate more points which can be used for redemption night stays, Moments and more. Combining accounts must be done by members and will not happen automatically even if accounts are linked. We are also currently working to solve a few known issues impacting some members, particularly issues around Elite status not displaying correctly.
There are pages set up for Marriott members and SPG members to combine their accounts. They look remarkably similar. There are instructions on the page for how to combine your accounts. It’s important to note that even if you linked your accounts when Marriott gave you the chance to do so a while back, you’ll still need to combine accounts at some point. And, for most people it’s probably the right idea to do it now.
Why You Might Not Want To Combine Your Accounts
For the moment, I don’t actually know what my SPG number is. New numbers were supposed to be issued existing SPG members over the weekend. I’ve heard from a variety of folks who were able to login using their old credentials and find out their new number. I’ve also heard from plenty of members who couldn’t login to their accounts. This really isn’t terribly surprising. It’s a big merger with millions of members. There’s bound to be glitches. Marriott didn’t have the strongest tech prior to the merger. While I’ve been impressed with some of their early efforts, it’s still a massive undertaking.
The upside to combining accounts is that you may qualify for a higher level of status when you combine your Marriott and SPG stays year-to-date. I’m in the position where I want to qualify for status under the “old requirements”. That means I’m shooting for 100 nights at SPG properties in the calendar year 2018. If I hit that, I’ll qualify to keep my SPG Ambassador for one more year. I’ve enjoyed that level of service over the years. My new Hyatt equivalent has been a bit less exciting as of late. It’s possible I lose my current SPG Ambassador at some point over the next year. But, I’m willing to bet I’ll get enough value over the next 16 months.
At any rate, I’ve been reassured by contacts at Marriott that combining my accounts won’t interfere with that. I’m just not 100% sure that will be the case. I’m virtually 100% sure that combining accounts is irreversible. I don’t know how easy it will be to track my SPG stays separate from my Marriott stays. Given all that, I’d just rather keep things separate for now until I know a bit more about what the process looks like.
The Final Two Pennies
Hey, look. Everything might be okay. I’m a fan of a more conservative approach right now. Unless you need to combine stays to bump your status for a stay that’s imminent, I’d cool your jets. A few days shouldn’t hurt anything and may give you a better sense of what the process looks like. And, it gives you a few more days to let Marriott work out the kinks.
Featured image is the Equinox Resort in Vermont, a truly special SPG property.
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