Chao has asked me to come on as a part-time contributor to the PointsNerd blog and as a way of saying thank you, I wanted to share with you a doozy of a rumour that I believe is 99% true.

On April 16th (or thereabouts), Marriott is poised to make a major announcement regarding the SPG program and its future.  Here’s what we know.

  • The SPG program will cease to exist on August 1, 2018
  • SPG points will automatically transfer to Marriott points at the 1:3 ratio
  • There will be new tiers introduced:
    • Silver status at 10 nights
    • Gold status at 25 nights
    • Platinum status at 50 nights
    • Platinum Premier status at 75 nights
    • Ambassador program at 100 nights + $20,000 Annual Spend

These are the strong and very likely true rumours.  We are also hearing about two additional tidbits of information that may or may not turn out to be true.

** UPDATE **

According to user OU812 from FlyerTalk, the changes could be even worse than we imagined.  I reiterate that these are all unconfirmed rumours but they seem very specific so I could certainly see these ideas as things that were bandied about by the ultimate decision makers at Marriott.  Here’s the rundown:

  • Names of status levels above Platinum have not been confirmed. MR wants to differentiate status levels above platinum to ensure proper recognition and avoid confusion among front line staff. Working names are Platinum 50, Platinum 75 and Platinum 100
  • Instant recognition of status at all levels upon check-in, with arrival points, free HSI, food & beverage vouchers, and choice of other benefits depending on status level
  • Spend requirement for all levels above silver. If spending level not reached, but nights are, status is at appropriate level based on spend.
  • Gold and platinum 50 upgrades limited to preferred level, concierge floor, higher floors, corner rooms, or view rooms at resorts. (No suites!)
  • Guaranteed suite awards (4) per year for platinum 75 and above
  • Guaranteed lounge access only for levels platinum 75 and above
  • Free breakfast at resorts for platinum 75 and above
  • Guaranteed late check-out, 2:00pm for Gold, 3:00pm for Platinum 50, 4:00pm for Platinum 75, Plat 100; resort and conference hotels subject to availability.
  • Platinum guarantees: 48 room guarantee remains, others guarantees are gone (platinum arrival gift, bed type, room type, lounge access, ultimate reservation guarantee)
  • Lifetime status changes coming. If status level not obtained, lifetime status identified in system. New Lifetime Level above Platinum will be added in 2019! Benefits reduced to upgrade to preferred floor for LTG; upgrade, late check-out for LTP
  • Big changes coming to awards! Dynamic award pricing, points required for award night based on hotel room rates at time of booking. No black-out dates, no categories!

The biggest potential disaster for many in this game is that there could be spend thresholds above the Silver level.  This would preclude many in the game that still do matress runs in Asia at cheap Marriotts in order to achieve status.

We may see a change in the Marriott redemption rates based on seasonality, similar to Hilton’s new award pricing that features dynamic pricing based on low/high seasons for the hotel.

Essentially, we are seeing hotel points being treated like real currencies and while this is not unexpected, it makes finding sweet spots for hotels that much more difficult.

It is unclear what will be happening with the earn rate at hotels but I can almost guarantee it won’t be as lucrative as the current 1 SPG to 3 Marriott ratio.  We have lost the Chase Marriott card here in Canada so my assumption is that the American Express SPG Personal and SPG Business cards will be reissued as Marriott branded cards though I would expect new applicants would see a lower signup bonus than you see now.

Both the SPG Personal and SPG Business card provide a 20,000 SPG sign-up bonus after $1,500 spend in the first 3 months, which translates to 60,000 Marriott points.  If I were to hazard a guess, I would expect that the new signup bonus on the Marriott card would be something in the range of 50,000 Marriott points.

If you were ever on the fence about getting the American Express SPG cards, I would jump on these before it’s too late.

We’ll keep you posted here at PointsNerd about any additional news but look for the official announcement in a week.

H/T to PekFlyer for breaking the news

Brian Ewanchuk is an avid frequent flyer and has held status amongst all the major North American carriers. While Brian has certainly redeemed across multiple programs, nowadays, he prefers a more simplified approach to his mileage earning and redemptions.


    • There’s been no mention of what to expect but from what I gather and the rumours that I am hearing, it sounds like the changes are most likely going to happen on the SPG side so if I were to guess, I would say that the Marriott Travel Packages are safe but that’s just a guess.

  1. Do you think they will combine nights between the two programs? I have nights at Marriott and SPG, I have been equally loyal to both programs.

    • Tory, while I have no inside information, I would assume that this would be something that would make sense to happen. I am hoping the same as I have stays across both chains.

  2. One of the major selling points of star points is the versatility to transfer to many other programs.. what happens to thwt under Marriott?

    Also.. I assume SPG Amex will now earn 3 Marriott points per dollar spent? If not, that’s a major devaluation (if only 1 Marriott point for example)..

    • Hey Joe… any new Amex MR will NOT be 3x Marriott, that’s for sure. At least not for all categories. You might have something like travel = 2x or 3x but general spend is 1x. Or it may be 2x across the board. However, with Amex trying things out with the Cobalt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see spending rewarded on certain categories and not others.

  3. I’m currently accumulating MR points and I had been eyeballing a 7 day stay certificate as a goal. Would you recommend converting to Marriot prior to this change or holding in MR?

    • I would say that the Travel Package that Marriott offers will remain intact. I don’t think there is any rush to get the package so no need to rush into anything.

  4. Thank you for this post! Should I order the Amex Cobalt today or you think there will have no changes for this card tomorrow (April 16)?

    • @Alisha, we haven’t heard of any rumours suggesting that the Cobalt will be affected and if I were to guess, I would say that tomorrow’s announcement will provide adequate tiime to make any strategic decisions on what to do with your SPG points and/or your Membership Reward Select points.

  5. Hi, do you mean that all the levels for Marriott will be changing ? I was just about to buy a Marriott 7 day voucher with all my Amex points and SPG points – and get free breakfast etc and everything that goes along with status matching re SPG to Marriott? Should I crack on or wait?


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