Marriott International announced it will be combining its rewards programs into one platform. Beginning in August, users can combine their loyalty earnings from Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty for Marriott International, said, “We listened to the travel aspirations of our members and set our sights on unlocking the full potential of our loyalty programs.”
The new rewards system will also include an updated tier system. The higher the tier, the more rewards a user can earn. This is beneficial for existing Marriott Rewards members, as most of the current tiers will move into the next bracket during the switchover (Gold becomes Platinum, Platinum becomes Platinum Premier, etc.).
SPG members, on the other hand, may not benefit much from the change. Marriott will triple SPG loyalty points to make them comparable to the other rewards programs. The rewards within each tier will be less valuable for SPG members in the unified system.
SPG members have expressed concerns on Twitter, saying, “Not pleased with the news. My SPG credit card just became worth 1/3 less to me, and I fear the recalibrated award chart will screw customers in many cases.” And another response: “My two SPG cards are worthless now. 33% devaluation! No more elite status base on stays…Im so mad with Marriott right now!”
Even more outrage is coming from members with lifetime status. Once a rewards member reaches lifetime status, that person can never go below a certain tier. For instance, someone who stays 250 nights and earns 1.2 million points over the life of their membership would earn Lifetime Silver Elite status. This person would not have to worry about maintaining silver status year after year—it is locked in. The updated points system will make it more difficult for users to earn a lifetime status, and it limits the value for those who have already achieved this ranking.