It took almost 12 years but I finally earned Lifetime Platinum Status at Starwood. Marriott was always my second choice but I loved the Starwood brand and I stayed loyal to my choice.
Now, with the Marriott merger, I found that my hard earned Lifetime Platinum status will not be recognized by Marriott. I will continue to have to EARN Platinum every year to receive the benefits I already earned. I truly do not understand this.
I could see if Marriott took my earned nights at Starwood (500+) and combined them with my earned nights at Marriott (300+) to make sure I qualified for Lifetime at Marriott (750+ nights) but I was told that is not an option. I have to start from the beginning and re-earn every single night just at Marriott. Does anybody else fail to see the logic here? Why should anyone have to do that? I am sure there are many loyal SPG members and many loyal Marriott members who should be upset at this. After all, Marriott is benefiting from the merger of two large hotel chains. Why shouldn't their loyal customers benefit from the combination of the two as well?
Marriott Loyalty Program Managers- what is your logic in alienating Lifetime guests who obviously travel extensively and have shown their brand loyalty???
spglifetimegirl, It seems to me that someone you talked to is jumping the gun. All the info I have seen is the accounts would be linked but operate separately until 2018. I have not seen any announcement as to how lifetime will be treated after merger, but it would shock me that the SPGs would be just left out in the cold. So far the treatment has been more than fair, especially giving Marriott gold status for SPG gold, which is a bit easier to achieve.
Welcome to Insiders! spglifetimegirl, may I ask where you got your information? As peymanagement points out, there has been nothing in print anywhere that we've seen that would indicate Marriott isn't going to find a way to merge lifetime benefits. In fact, much has been said about how valuable the SPG customer base/membership was in the acquisition. They aren't about to risk the most valuable asset in the equation. All the signs thus far have leaned in favor of the SPG member: points transfer rate, credit card acceptance and points, platinum to platinum status match despite tougher criteria (with Marriott Platinums getting only the base level platinum at SPG) and on and on. These are all corporate signs that Marriott values and intends to take care of the SPG membership. So, I believe you have been misinformed, or there has been a misunderstanding. If this information were out there, it would be "the topic" of conversation on Insiders, FlyerTalk etc. Please do let us know how you drew this conclusion, so we can help you dispel it.
One additional point that I believe should assuage your concerns, Thom Kozik (Marriott VP Global Loyalty) met with Marriott Insiders in Houston back in September. He specifically emphasized the power of 80+ million combined rewards members in a new program (50+ from Marriott Rewards 30+ coming from SPG). What Marriott can do with a worldwide customer base that size is incredible! He shared that a single additional night from the platinum membership alone, would add more than a million dollars to the bottom line. Since then, he did a Facebook interview that you can find online and excerpts via the link below. I think you will find all the signs encouraging, as the power is in the massive customer base, and Marriott isn't going to do anything to chase away SPGers
I received information from two sources regarding the Lifetime status: one was the Marriott Platinum line service representative who provided the information on no Lifetime recognition during a phone call in late September and the second source was the manager of the Sheraton in Phoenix who had just come from a company update meeting. Both sources sympathized but confirmed that Marriott provided materials to them that stated that no Lifetime Starwood status would be recognized or transferred to Marriott. If my sources are wrong, I would be very happy. However, two very separate sources at two distinct times provided this information to me directly. Again, I was greatly surprised and disappointed and very much hoping they were wrong!
spglifetimegirl, that's fascinating! I am wondering whether or not the folks you spoke with have some confusion spurred by the the continued emphasis on running completely separate programs for now. In fact, Marriott encourages participants to continue pursuing lifetime status in their current programs. There are a number of questions in the FAQs released with the merger. I copied and pasted the one most germane to our current topic below. From this, I cannot imagine that 14 months out or more (until 2018 program merger), they've abandoned the idea of taking care of SPGs most valuable customers. I strongly believe you've been given bad information. Separate for now? Sure. The combined program should take the best elements of both programs going forward, key among them lifetime status benefits.
Don’t worry; you’ll continue to enjoy all the benefits of Lifetime status in the program in which you earned it. We are initially matching your tier status between programs, and when the programs are combined in the future, we’ll consider ways that preserve the continued recognition of our most valued lifetime customers.
I know that the SPG folks are waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of the finalised merger plans.
Since there is to be no official announcement until those that cover 2018, I really think you are stressing out too early. As Marriott has been rather generous with the SPG points calculation and one of the reasons for the purchase of SPG was its members, not the hotels, I'd be surprised if there was not something more equitable than 'absolutely no SPG nights will count toward the New Marriott Lifetime Program.'
You may have two anecdotal sources, but at this juncture, that is exactly what they are: hearsay and anecdotal.
After all the worry about how the points would work out, that turned out to be rather fair. There is nothing really to be done until the new program is *officially* announced, other than perhaps hedging by stays at Hilton or another program, or redirecting future travel to Marriott proper.
At the moment because the schemes have not combined, the lifetime bit of your SPG Platinum is NOT recognised by Marriott. Instead your Marriott elite level is reflected by your SPG elite level, Platinum. In the same way, I will qualify for Marriott lifetime soon, but when I do my SPG linked account will not reflect the lifetime bit, just the Platinum. If the schemes were never combined then I would effectively be LT SPG Plat since every year SPG would update my status reflecting my Marriott the one, which as lifetime Plat with Marriott renews at Platinum every year! So as long as the current arrangement continues you will remain Platinum.
Now, after the current arrangement, once the schemes combine... well who knows?
FIrstly, I predicate this on the basis that Marriott won't follow SPGs 250 Gold and 500 Plat nights target. That was a tough target for SPGers with less than 1,500 properties worldwide. It's now much easier with over 5,000 to choose from.
1. No lifetime at all, for anyone. Really unlikely this, Marriott has the longest lifetime program and recently tweaked the criteria downwards suggesting they see real value in the lifetime program.
2. Marriott keeps qualification levels unchanged on the current Marriott basis, passporting MR and SPG lifetimes directly to the new metal.
3. Marriott keeps qualification levels unchanged on the current Marriott basis, transferring MR lifetimes directly to the new metal and combining SPG/MR combined totals for SPG elites, providing a few years thereafter for lifetime SPG elites that don't make the 750 night and combined 2million (700kSPG) likewise Gold, to make the new cut.
4. Marriott decides to make lifetime qualification tougher. Not unreasonable given the increased availability of pointearning options post merger. Easiest way is to use SPGs years-at-Gold/Plat rule. It also has the advantage of being something from SPGs scheme, meaning it shouldnt incur SPGers wrath. Here current LTs could be passported to their new metal or like number 3 above a period of grace is given to lifetime members, this time of both schemes that don't make the new cut.
ITs important to realise that these are only a few of the many possible connotations here. With such different pointearning and the disparity of hotel in the old businesses, and the opportunity to create a wholly new scheme options literally abound. Instead of metal why not change the elite levels, Localist, Continentalist, Globalist, Capitalist-Pig-Dog! Anyone, anyone?
spglifetimegirl, I like what my esteemed colleagues have written here, and think they are both very credible. That said, I go back to my second post. Look at what Marriott has actually said. Read the FAQ document again. The excerpt that specifically pertains to the lifetime benefit encourages continued participation and speaks to the future of the program in very optimistic terms. I don't think they would say this, to turn around and give you nothing for your years of loyalty at SPG. Remember, they need you. That's the cornerstone of this entire deal.