Lifetime Status is awesome. On April 16, 2018, Marriott finally announced the official merger of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood SPG loyalty programs. The changes have generally been well received, with customers now getting the best of both programs. You can read read the mainstream blogs to get “everything you need to know” about the points program, but based on our research, here’s Team GTE’s #1 best change for Marriott Rewards members in the Marriott and Starwood loyalty program merger:
Focusing On Lifetime Status
In the previous rewards programs, achieving lifetime status was as followed:
One interesting change is that Marriott Rewards Lifetime Gold members will now be lifetime Platinum status in the new program. Even though they have added a new Platinum Premier status, getting lifetime Platinum status is pretty good, as you only need 50 qualifying nights to get the 5 suite upgrades (brought over from the SPG program). The fact if you are even close to qualify for lifetime Gold/Platinum status shows that you you can easily hit those 50 nights a year, especially if you pair it with the Marriott Rewards Visa card (which gives you 15 Elite Qualifying Nights) annually. The BEST change are for the previous Marriott Lifetime Platinum, members, which will get grandfathered into the new Platinum Premier status. Marriott will not be offering lifetime platinum status in the new program.
In the new program, as a Marriott rewards member, it is significantly harder to achieve Platinum status, as you need to have 600 nights stayed along with 10 years of the new Platinum status, which is 50-74 nights stayed. Yes, you can combine your nights and elite status accumulated on both the SPG and Marriott Rewards programs, that’s pretty rare that people would have such high status on both programs.
For those currently in the Marriott Rewards program, you can still qualify through the existing criteria through December 31, 2018.
Hotel Nights / Points Run??
Airlines have pretty much killed the notion of a mileage run, but for those who are awfully close to achieving lifetime Gold and Platinum status on the current Marriott Rewards program, is it worth chasing? Team GTE is currently only 38 nights and 230k points short of reaching the lifetime gold mark. Fortunately, since you can still qualify from the existing criteria until the end of the year, hitting those marks will be a slam dunk by the end of the year.
For those on the border of achieving the old Platinum status, it’s a complete no brainer to make a push. No surprise, lifetime Platinum Elite is not even an offering in the new program. From a cost standpoint, if you book a 30 night stay at the longterm rate say at $200 with your Marriott Rewards Visa card you would get roughly 100k points after the Elite bonus and Marriott Credit bonus. Additionally, you will instantly 2 more Elite nights for spending 2 x $3000. You can also pair that with say the current Mega Bonus promotion, where you get 750 points for every night stayed after your 3rd night up to 50 nights. This would get you would get another 20k points. I’ve seen better Mega Bonuses especially in the summer, so one might want to roll the dice to see if there a better promotion out there.
Doing the hotel stay/points run now would be that you would accumulate enough points to redeem a nice stay (i.e. 5 nights at the Ritz Carlton) under the old program. The new loyalty program will still have the 5th night free if you book 4 night offer. Unequivocally, we feel is one of the best perks of the program. It is unknown how difficult it would be to book in the new program with the additional tiers / off peak / on peak hours, etc.
Moreover, one more benefit once you achieve this lifetime status is that you can explore other hotel chains. Whether it be Starwood (now that the programs are merged), or other fine hotels such as Peninsula or Intercontinental. There will be less pressure for you to stay with the same hotel chain and chase the status annually. Because you already go it!
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