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?...
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....
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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...)
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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...
Correct on all fronts sir. I believe the rate is 1 point/mile per USD. The below link has all the information as well as the benefits from the different tiers. I wish I would have known about this pre-merger. I could have gotten elite benefits at SPG just by being Emirates Gold. It's almost criminal all the points I am going to get from this.
Want to go to Athens and Venice late July. Am a Plat Elite...Venice looks ok but no longer any Marriott properties in Athens..do I book a Starwood property and what would be the best way to pay for it ?.....Have the Chase Marriott card, credit status and net worth would not prohibit a new credit card.. does Marriott platinum status reflect in the new SPG account I established last month but have not used yet--any ideas appreciated!
As long as you've linked your accounts you will have Platinum status recognized on both brands. Plus the SPG brand seems to have more promos for points. Both brands have a double points promo right now, but I also received an additional offer from SPG where I could earn another 7,500 points for 3 stays. I recently stayed at a Sheraton and was upgraded to club lounge level and used my Chase Marriott credit card which will earn you the same 5x points at a Sheraton.
Another reason for trying out Starwood properties is for the adventure and excitement of staying in new and different hotels. Starwood has a number of exciting and unique properties in their luxury collection that I will be exploring. I have found a number of good rates if you travel on weekends and off-peak times.
It's worth trying both brands when you are in my situation; I'm just about to hit Lifetime Gold with no chance at achieving Lifetime Platinum in the current structure before it changes. I'm also 5 nights away from renewing Platinum at Marriott thanks to rollover but to earn any additional rollover for the following year will be a challenge. In my unique scenario, gaining points on both promotions the brands have to offer is more advantageous than dedicating to one brand. As mentioned earlier SPG has a nice secondary point offer that Marriott isn't offering. Then again Hilton also has great point promos right now. Nice to be in our position right now.
HI all, this is my first post as I have just transferred from the equivalent SPG forum where I have been a member for a few years - following the takeover that forum will close next week. On that forum we have been discussing exactly the same issue but from the opposite perspective and have reached similar conclusions to those in the original post on this thread. For those new to SPG, in my opinion, the SPG approach to "cash and points" stays can be a real winner, often enabling me to stay at top-rated properties, which would be normally out of reach either from a points or cost basis. Not always available, but, where it is, well worth checking out.
Hey welcome to Insiders, great to have a recent SPG person to give us Reward folks great insights on the program. I too have noticed some interesting points/cash places and may be booking one in the near future.
Please chime in often with your experiences good, bad, indifferent and again welcome.
Many thanks for the kind welcome. I will certainly try to make a contribution. I am 11 years platinum and lifetime gold with SPG and about 70 stays away from lifetime platinum, so like many others I am waiting to discover what the merged programme will look like when it arrives - particularly regarding lifetime status, there is significant trepidation on the SPG forum that the outcome may not be good for us.
I second IAH's welcome, you represent a valuable resource (someone put this 'asset' in witness protection ).
Whereas I have really struggled trying to find Starwoods at competitive same brand prices, (although I have a Chicago W at $107 this week and might even luck out with warm weather) I have, like you mentioned, found some good deals on points and points plus cash (vs. Marriott, even at the 3 to 1 premium); plus, at least on my first attempt, I was able to upgrade with points, so these are the types of things where your experience will prove invaluable.
Thanks for the kind welcome - I am looking forward to learning about the workings of the MR programmes, I have been a member for quite a few years and even made gold status on a couple of occasions. I will try my best to give hints on the SPG programme and the properties where I have stayed. I have stayed at most of the Indian properties and virtually all in South East Asia, a few in Africa and Australia & many in Europe and of course all the properties in the UK, my home. My experience in North America is mostly in Canada and the North East and Florida in the US, though I'm planning a California road trip later this year which will be based on a mixture of SPG & Marriott properties. Will be seeking recommendations for that trip!
normanp good stuff and when you're ready to start the California planning let us know as we've got a few residents of the state who will be able to provide outstanding information as well as others of us who have frequented the state.
Welcome normanp. I look forward to your comments about Starwood. Also, if you have any hidden gems in terms of "must stay" hotels I'm all ears!
This is in line with the information that we have been given on the SPG forum - the impression we got was that there may be announcements late this year / early next year. The date of the start of the merged programme will be interesting, as it will be difficult to bring in a programme in the middle of a qualifying year., with all of the anomalies that this might generate.
Welcome !!! normanp to the insiders. You will be our guide through SPG !!!!
I have tried 5 Westin hotels all for leisure travel since the merger, I have been impressed thus far with all of them. I have stayed on points and on regular paid stays and felt I was treated the same regardless of payment method. They are good about upgrading only 1 suite so far but they seem to have many room "types" and every stay included at least a 1 level room type upgrade. In most cases I "bought" lowest cost room and was upgraded to the most costly non suite room type. I really like the breakfast benefits at Westin's , very straight forward benefits for Starwood Platinum (matched status)