I received a "placeholder" update on my Marriott app today. Didn't pay much attention but then came across this post on Points Guy:
Interesting that they'd already be putting a placeholder in for this before Chinese approval. I still don't think the programs will be completely combined for a couple of years, but this could be the first step in getting reciprocal benefits or even point combining more quickly than anticipated. What do you think?
Hopefully nights and points! I only have a handful of nights with Starwood but jumped on the 35K sign up bonus for the SPG Amex. Hoping that converts at a nice ratio and can give me a points boost towards lifetime. (Also very strongly hoping they don't favor Starwood's scheme once merged and go back to having a # of years requirement).
vaboywnder - I hope you are right too. If the recent Delta acquisition is any indication though, we may be disappointed. The Delta nights did not count for lifetime status.
droma, I certainly hope you are right. That customer base is the value in this acquisition, and they should be welcomed with open arms. I have a number of nights with Starwood myself, and I'd like to see those combine.
Delta was a small chain and the Delta Privilege program had no chance of survival with the acquisition by Marriott.
However, Marriott won't be able to get away with just dropping the SPG program with "just use all you got within the next few months if you don't want to lose it"; there will be too many clients/members worldwide to be scandalized and it will end up hurting to much.
If ever the two programs merge, I think we'll see something completely new: the elite levels may be redrawn, possibly the name may change and accounts must be merged.
I came across this graphic on another travel website which reads "Three Programs. One Reason: You" It shows Marriott Rewards, Ritz Rewards, and SPG. Marriott already runs Marriott Rewards and Ritz Rewards separately although the programs are essentially the same. I wonder if Marriott now plans to keep the SPG Rewards program as a 3rd option separated from Marriott Rewards & Ritz Rewards.
The announcements predicated on merger approval show that the programs will be run separately for at least one calendar year (SPG & Marriott), probably similar to how AA & US Air did business after their transaction, until the 'rules' of the new single program were solidified.
I am hoping that the merger of points from the SPG and Marriott programs will be enough to push me over the top for LTP. I currently hold LTS and am very close to LTG. In my case I have close to 1000 nights, but not enough points. I pay for my own travel, so I go as cheap as I can.
About how many points do you need?
You can look into your premium travel credit card options (like the chase sapphire preferred) which can get you 50,000 ultimate rewards points that you could then transfer to marriott.
Other option are (what i call) your super premium travel cards, like the chase sapphire reserve, which can get you 100,000 ultimate rewards points that you could potentially transfer to marriott to get your lifetime points up.
There is also the marriott premier, and marriott biz card, both of which could get you a fair amount of points (if you don't already have them).