22 Replies Latest reply: Oct 12, 2016 1:17 PM by chris0311 RSS

Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?

fistuk Platinum
Currently Being Moderated

In my opinion: Not yet.

Why? Because it won't be worthy for you unless:


1. You're already a lifetime platinum member or you don't care about your membership status.

2. The two programs have already completely merged and Starwood nights are considered the same as Marriott nights.

3. You have no choice (For example: There's no Marriott hotel in your destination).


So let's clarify the above:

Assuming you're not yet a lifetime platinum and you do care about your status (clause 1), and that you do have a choice (clause 3), than our current problem is clause number 2:

These two membership programs are still separated and the only common item shared between them is the points. Nights accumulation is still separated, and you don't get night credits for one program if you choose to use the other!

Therefore, as a Marriott member, if you're not in a lifetime platinum status and didn't get that 'peace of mind' yet, than you should keep making all efforts to achieve this status.

One example (out of many): let's say you want to extend your gold\platinum status for next year and so far you accumulated about 10-15 nights less than the requirement. Will it make sense not to book a Marriott hotel for your Christmas holiday? Of course not! Why would you want to loose the chance of achieving the required 50 (gold)\75 (platinum) nights this year?...


Any thoughts?



(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

Location Brand Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Autograph Collection The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Autograph Collection
  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    nationwide Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    fistuk, I think you are spot on here.  I might even take it a step further.  I am a lifetime platinum, and I still don't know that I want to spend a night at a Starwood property.  As you suggest, there should be nothing holding me back now.  I am trying to understand my own predisposition toward Marriott properties.  I guess 14-15 years of loyalty (aka habit) is hard to break, even if it's a good thing.  Maybe in the back of my mind, I still think there is a chance of PP status this year, and I would hate to waste a night or two of a 125+ year at Marriott.


    I even posed the question on a separate thread to get a sense for how people with newly matched status are being treated at Starwood.  It seems like they've been treated really, really well based on the responses I've read. So, I'm somewhat stymied.  Perhaps it really will take an absence of a Marriott property to actually get me in the door of a Westin etc.  I'm looking at last minute Christmas vacations, and they have some places available we would really like to go.   I don't know....

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I haven't made up my mind about how I'll approach Starwood yet. It makes sense to sign up for SPG (currently I don't have an account) to get the status match. That said, my plans don't include any Starwood properties for the foreseeable future.

     

    I'm only about halfway to LTP (mid 300 nights, roughly 1M lifetime points) so making enough nights to retain my status each year is important. I've already renewed my status for next year, so I could try out a Starwood property this year with little impact (other than not adding a few more lifetime nights and points). Come January, it will be time to log enough nights to renew for the following year.

     

    So, I'm very much in agreement that trying out Starwood properties doesn't make much sense... YET. Once the programs merge and all nights are counted the same, it will be just like choosing any other Marriott brand. Until then, it would take a special set of circumstances to get me into a Starwood property. It could happen, but it's not something that will occur often.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
      ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      fistuk, nationwide, and bejacob, this is a (very) interesting - and I sense, correct - analysis.

       

      Granted, I say that an observer.  As a LTP, I don't see any downside in considering a Starwood property, but I admit, I haven't actually taken the step ... yet.

       

      But it does remind me of another ... now mostly dormant ... thread.  Although I'm a beneficiary, I do wonder whether Marriott regrets its creation of the lifetime platinum status.

       

      • Many of our colleagues on this site suggested that the moment they got LTP status, they began building status with competitors.  I haven't gone that route.  Loyalty runs deep for me, and Marriott treats me (and has treated my family) very (very) well.  But I understand it.
      • Conversely, since I've become LTP, I've reduced use of my Marriott cards and, instead, been using my charge card to generate cash rebates and airline miles.  As of last year, I've prioritized my charge card spending with United, because they've very heavily incentivized charge card usage.  (Sure I still use my Marriott card for Marriott stays - and as a back-up card - but...)
        • At some point, this may merit another thread - what say you IAHFLYR?
        • Specifically, United is all but forcing me to use my United card - and use it rather heavily.
        • Although I will probably accumulate more than 100,000 United miles this year, under the new rules, I would fail to meet the minimum spend requirement to achieve United Platinum - but United permits me to "substitute" heavy charge card usage to fulfill that requirement. [Granted, this is the best example of the difference between the Marriott family and the Star Alliance - when I fly Star Alliance foreign airlines, my miles count, but my dollars don't.  Accordingly, under the new program, I doubt I will ever again achieve United 1K Status (because charge card spending is not considered)....]

       

      All of which brings me back to where I started.  If Marriott (1) did not create LTP status and (2) put more pressure on us to use the charge card, it would dramatically alter my behavior.  So, while I'm grateful to Marriott - the LTP status is helpful to me - there's no question it is costing them a chunk of my charge card revenue....  Hmmm, seems like it's time for some classic pingreeman analysis.....

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
        iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        I agree about the analysis that should be coming from pingreeman.  Another thread is always a good thing as things tend to get lost in translation on some of the longer threads.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
        pingreeman Platinum 1 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        ssindc & IAHFLYR - - - since you both "called me out to analyze" --> ironically, this one does not require "crunching numbers" IMO. However, that is solely based on my having LTP status.

         

        I LOVE the fact that MR matched status within SPG, and since I have LTP (Platinum) my status over at SPG is Platinum, too as seen here:SPG Status.png

        As such, I have a very "high" and presumably "great benefits" at either SPG or MR hotels. In other words, I am "equally treated" at either brand, so any decision for where to stay is back to the traditional argument of "Which brand earns points faster / which brand's points are worth more?" which requires another discussion and series of calculations and analysis. However, a simple "earn" analysis can be stated as this:

        SPG will offer me 3 Starpoint points for every $1 spend under LTP status match; I converted my SPG points to MR points at a 3:1 ratio making this an equivalent of 9 MR points per $1 spend; like MR, my SPG stays had some bonus points for each stay (such as "going green" or some "welcome gift"). To KISS, more points can be earned per Marriott night than an SPG night.

        So GENERALLY SPEAKING - Marriott stays are going to produce more point values that SPG at any "matched-tier"

        In light of the sentence above, it makes MORE SENSE for "newbies" in the MR program to stay as much within the MR hotels to hopefully gain LT-status at any tier. Similarly, it makes MORE SENSE for "newbies" in the SPG program to stay with the SPG program to hopefully gain LT-status at any tier. This is because reaching the LT-status is forever going to allow you to make bonus points at that level - forever. [My definition of "newbie" is one who has had substantial stays within a program, i.e., enough stays that to switch out now would take longer under the "other" program to reach an LT status that staying dedicated to the current program.]

         

        LT Comparison:

        • PLATINUM: MR: 750 nights + 2 million points   ---   SPG: minimum of 10 years of earned Platinum status during your account tenure AND 500 eligible nights
        • GOLD: MR: 500 nights + 1.6 million points   ---   SPG: minimum of five years of elite status during your account tenure AND 250 eligible nights
        • SILVER: MR: 250 nights + 1.2 million points   ---   SPG: I could not find any reference to LTS
        • T&Cs: MR: once granted, never lost   ---   SPG: Even as an Starwood Preferred Guest Lifetime member, Starpoints must be earned, redeemed, purchased or transferred, at least once every 12 months. If this is not done, the Starwood Preferred Guest Lifetime member account will become inactive and the Starpoints will automatically be forfeited. You may contact Starwood Preferred Guest to reactivate your Starwood Preferred Guest program membership at the level of your Starwood Preferred Guest Lifetime designation; however, the forfeited Starpoints will not be returned.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    droma Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I've been lucky enough to hit a sweet spot this year as of a couple months ago where every night at Marriott basically counts as two (one this year, and also a rollover next year), so I'll definitely be maxing Marriott stays the remainder of the year.  I'm in almost the exact same lifetime range as bejacob, so trying to max out lifetime nights/points with Marriott is a priority.

     

    I already have some work travel where I have to stay at Starwood next year and will be open to trying a few more once I re-qualify next year for Platinum (since I won't get any rollover the following due to the abundance this year).

     

    Until programs merger OR an announcement is made over exactly how lifetime status will work and what we will get credit for from each program, I'll be staying mainly Marriott.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    seatexan Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Yeah I won't be at any SPG property until they totally merge except for one place where there is no Marriott.  I am not even close to lifetime but every stay helps!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
      seachi Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      I'm with nationwide. As a PP who spends 200+ nights, the thought of being matched to SPG Platinum (not 50, 75, 100) does not incline me to try Starwood unless it's the only property in town. It'll take the programs merging before I desire a Starwood property over a Marriott.

       

      I'll hit LTP in the coming months, but this won't change my approach as I expect to remain PP.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
      homoviator Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      I think I'm right there with you SeaTexan.  I was longing for SPG hotels, but when it comes time to actually making reservations, the Marriott brand tends to win.  I do like the crossover with DL that SPG offers, but I'm not sure it's enough to get me to leave the Marriott side because I'm going to need those nights next year to hit Platinum.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    7 Platinum 1 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Here is my counter-argument:

     

    1)I'm barely past Lifetime Silver so Lifetime Platinum is so far away that by the time I get it will be right around the time I retire and will probably stop traveling.

     

    2)Every year since I've been Platinum I've struggled to retain it and either barely made it or got close enough to where it was comped.

     

    3)My situation lately has often lined up with your #3 due to where I'm currently living and travelling and a general lack of Marriotts in Northern Europe.

     

    I do have a few Marriott (well AC and Renaissance) nights lined up next week. But, aside from that, the bulk of my travel the rest of the year will be SPG. I have to see how the nights from next week's stays add up and do the math to see if I can realistically get close enough to renewing my Platinum to try it. Otherwise, I might as well just push ahead with SPG. Especially after the new year since their levels need fewer nights.

     

    This may all change at any time due to how those stays go, the relative prices, etc... But, at least that is how I am thinking at the moment.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    monisame Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    The only thing I do up to now is to create an SPG accoount. Just to get the my status. I live in Latin America and there are no many Marriott Properties.  Sheraton has more presence arround here.

    I am a platinum member ..I reach the level this year. I don t even dream in achiving the platinum level forever. But as I travell a lot some years I got gold, and others platinum. So the nights counts for me, the points too of course but I need to count nights as well. My stays will go all for Marriott unless there is no one in City or Town.

    There is something I don t understand it is true that in SPG you are platinum with only 25 nights??? this is not fair to marriott members. Do SPG members also matched our status. Sure nationwide and bejacob have the answers

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    rle Gold
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have been debating this as well.  I do not plan on staying at any SPG properties unless there are no Marriott Properties available.  That ability is appealing, however, I will only earn nights through my SPG account, which will not count towards my Marriott account, which is hard to accept right now.

    When Marriott announced its acquisition of SPG, I decided to open an SPG account, "just in case".  After the merger, they announced the points ratio and I decided that if I could earn SPG points and then transfer them at 3x the value, that would be a benefit toward extra night stays on points down the road (although they will not count toward my lifetime points balance, which is annoying).  So I signed up for the SPG AMEX and am using it in conjunction with my Marriott Visa for all non-bonus categories, since I am essentially earning 3X the points (once transferred over).  Also, SPG has earning partnerships with Uber, Delta and Emirates, which allow you to earn reciprocal benefits (or double-dip). So you can earn SPG points through Uber and you can earn Delta Miles from SPG and SPG points from Delta you don't have to pick one or the other, which is a great perk that few other rewards programs offer (unless you make it to Platinum status on Marriott and connect your United Mileage Plus account).

    Additionally, if you are a frequenter of the Las Vegas Strip, Marriott only has one property on the strip (The Cosmopolitan, which is a really awesome hotel) but SPG has relationships with Caesar's Entertainment, which has a wider variety of hotels/casinos on the strip and if you have a family, then Caesar's Palace or The Paris would be a better option than the very adult and trendy Cosmopolitan. Also, if you link your SPG and Total Rewards accounts, you can earn SPG points as you accumulate Total Rewards points (and vice versa) and they will both status match, which is a really cool feature.  You will also earn elite qualifying nights at SPG for staying at Caesar's/Harrah's locations.  Also, if you are Platinum at SPG because of your Marriott status match, you get VIP access at all the Caesar's/Harrah's properties and can score a nice upgrade at the very upscale Nobu Hotel connected to Caesar's Palace (or even transfer points to stay for free).  At The Cosmopolitan, you can only earn Marriott points OR Identity points.  You can only earn Marriott points for hotel expenditures (and whatever you charge to your room inside the facility) but you can earn Identity points for gambling and dining inside and shopping.  Hopefully, these are things that will all be taken into consideration and merged together when the companies finally become one but it is something for all of you to consider when trying to decide whether or not it is worth it to stay at an SPG property.

    BTW, I don't want to "spam the thread" but if anyone ends up becoming interested in getting the SPG AMEX (you get 25,000 SPG bonus points after a $3K spend in 90 days, which equates to 75,000 Marriott points), let me know and I can send you a referral (5K bonus points is 5K bonus points after all...)

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    Location Brand Hotel
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Autograph Collection The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Autograph Collection
  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    vaboywnder Alumni Steward Platinum 21 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I totally agree fistuk that if your chasing Lifetime status with Marriott there is little incentive to stay at Starwood properties unless there are no Marriott properties in the area.   I'm currently chasing Lifetime Platinum with Marriott but giving some consideration to checking out a brand new Westin  opening up in Nashville for a weekend stay in early 2017.  I'm curious as to what the Starwood Lounges are like and this looks like it will be a very nice property.  Also if I make one Starwood stay early in 2017 I can then earn Starwood points for all my Uber rides that year.  I use Uber frequently when traveling and it would be nice to grab some extra points.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
      solkua Platinum 1 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I'm chasing Lifetime Gold (need about 100K points), but are we assuming that they will honor Lifetime status through the merger? I don't believe I've seen anything that says it is guaranteed. While I was excited to see the ability to link accounts, I was hopeful that transferring my SPG points to MR was going to help me close the gap. It didn't. I thought transferring Mileage Plus points did count to Lifetime but haven't done that in a while so not sure.

       

      Until they let us know what is happening to merge MR and SPG, I don't know why you would sample SPG properties unless a Marriott property wasn't there?

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
        iahflyr Platinum 26 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        solkua,

         

        I think that is the only reason most of us would try Starwood if there was no Marriott property close.  Yes I may still opt for Hilton depending on rates and type of property the Starwood was in the location I needed to stay.

         

        I am certainly no guru on point transfers, but I'd be surprised if transferring any MileagePlus points would count toward Lifetime status with Marriott.  Might take a real close look at the T/C for Lifetime status before doing any transfer.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    pingreeman Platinum 1 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thank you for the kudos!

     

    As I was doing the research above, I ran into a few items that are worth sharing (these came from the SPG Q&A site at Find Answers with the most relevant answers reproduced here:

    • Lifetime Status is specific to the program that you earned it in. While linking accounts will not result in Lifetime Status in the other program, your Elite status will be matched to the same Elite tier in the other program.This confirms my having Platinum with SPG as I am LTP with MR.
    • You’ll only get your points and benefits at a hotel if you’re enrolled in the program in which that hotel participates. This is why I recommended "newbies" to stay within their most achievable program.
    • Status match: Take your highest status in a Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards or SPG program. Now that's your status across both Rewards and SPG. For example, if you're Platinum in SPG and Silver Elite in Marriott Rewards, you'll now be Platinum in both programs. Another reason to keep all your eggs in one basket per se, to earn the highest level at one program automatically becomes the level at the other.
      • You can’t transfer Elite nights between the programs, but you will immediately receive Status Match across programs. So if you have 50 Elite night credits in your Rewards account, giving you Gold Elite status, you won’t get 50 nights at SPG, too, but your Gold status will transfer over.
    • Branded credit card considerations: Once you’ve linked accounts, you can transfer points earned through your credit card in one program to another program. If you’ve earned Elite night credits through your credit card, you can’t transfer those. However, if your card has given you Elite status, that status can be applied across programs through Status Match.
    • Conversion rate on points (as mentioned in my earlier post): 1 SPG = 3 MR

    Nearly all of the other Q&As dealt with the respective program's specifics; for example, do nights earned at SPG count towards MR (NO) or can MR certs be used at SPG (NO), can MR gift cards be used at SPG (NO), can I combine stays to count for both programs (NO), can I see MR and SPG reservations together (NO - must go to each web site), etc. The overall pattern of these questions provides this rule of thumb answer:


    Other than transfer of points and status matches, both programs continue to operate distinctly from one another. As such, special "items" within one program are going to continue to be unique within that program - - - as if the merger never happened. Also, the common theme in many of these Q&As was that each program will (for all practical purposes) remain distinct through at LEAST 2018.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
    chris0311 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I guess my situation is kind of unique. I don't believe lifetime Platinum is a realistic goal for me. I am sitting on 164 nights lifetime status.  All my travel is on my own dime so I am not sure how much longer I will have the luxury of being able to bounce around the world. I will stay an average of 80 nights a year in a hotel so I can stay 50 at Marriott and just buy back Platinum. I stay at a lot of expensive properties so points come easily.

     

    So that leaves me with 30 nights that I used to use on either the Four Seasons or villa rentals. Now I can just use them on SPG. Now that was my original plan for 2017 but now I am strongly leaning towards:

     

    Staying exclusively at SPG properties!! Everyone climb aboard my logic train here and tell me if this sounds crazy. SPG and Emirates have a points sharing program. Fly with Emirates and you will earn both Emirates Sky Miles and SPG points. Stay at a SPG property and earn SPG points and Sky Miles. I am Gold with Emirates and fly them exclusively. So if I combine my first/business class flights with stays at the high tier SPG hotels it equals a big ole bucket of Marriott points when I convert them over. Now this puts me at risk of losing Platinum with Marriott right? Nope! I'll easily hit Platinum with SPG and status match will kick in. Thus allowing me to have my cake and eat it too!! Plus the programs will eventually merge and make this a non issue. Ok please disembark from my logic train and I hope it was not a bumpy ride.

     

    I haven't hammered out all the details yet or verified the rules but if everything checks out I will probably just stay at SPG properties for 2017. For the remainder of 2016 I will stay with Marriott to hit my 75 nights.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Is it really smart to start using Starwood hotels?
      brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      NNow, fill em in on this Emirates and SPG link up chris0311. Do you mean to say that as a Marriott Plat with a linked account to SPG (and hence an SPG Plat) I earn SPG points AND Emirates miles every stay? How many of each per $?

       

      I am seriously considering dipping my toe in the SPG waters since with stays booked to years end I will make LT Plat with Marriott so I don't need to chase that before the unified scheme is announced, so this crook promo with Emirates very much interests me...

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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