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