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What will the new Marriott Rewards program bring?

Several readers asked us about the changes in Marriott’s frequent guest programs after the merger of Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). These programs will be merged into 1 program following Marriott’s purchase of Starwood in 2016.

From August 2018 members of the 3 programs can merge points, while SPG members will see their points balance triple. Since the merger Marriott has 29 brands with a total of more than 6,500 properties, so all members now have plenty of opportunities to earn points.

In the new program elite status will be standardized with 6 levels that are listed below including the number of (qualifying) nights that each tier requires.

Level Threshold
1. Member 0-9 nights
2. Silver 10-24 nights
3. Gold 25-49 nights
4. Platinum 50-74 nights
5. Platinum Premier 75-99 nights
6. Platinum Premier (also referred to as the Ambassador Program) 100+ nights plus $20,000 spend

Gold and Platinum will be easier to attain, but in particular Gold will offer fewer benefits than currently. In fact, the benefits of the new Gold status are similar to those of the current Silver level. The new Gold tier does no longer provide lounge access and a free breakfast.

Moreover, from January 1, 2018, Gold members who did not requalify because they did not have 50 nights can no longer buy their status back for 25,000 points. This buy back promotion was quite popular among Marriott Rewards members.

It is confusing that the Marriott website provides conflicting information about the member benefits by tier. There is a web page with the benefits according to status level, which correctly shows that Gold members will have no longer access to the lounge. But the free breakfast is missing on this page, also for tiers that include this benefit.

You need to visit another web page with frequently asked questions and scroll down to ‘Elite Tiers & Benefits’ to find out that Gold members are no longer entitled to a free breakfast and lounge access.

Some of the Marriott brands that traditionally do not have breakfast offerings - Courtyard, AC Hotels, Moxy Hotels, and Protea Hotels – will do so in the near future. However, the benefit of a free breakfast will be limited to the Platinum level and higher.

Tags: Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, Elite tiers

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