We all know that the whole Starwood Hotels & Resorts portfolio has been acquired by Marriott International but we haven't had much visibility about how it is going to impact us until today. With the expansion and takeover of brands, current Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members will be able to benefit from the integration of both programs. Here are the top four things you need to know:
1. Status Match between Marriott Rewards and SPG
Members of Marriott Rewards (which also includes the slightly separate The Ritz-Carlton Rewards) and SPG be able to receive immediate status match (with no qualifying stay or nights required). If you STILL have not gotten your SPG Gold status with one qualifying stay (find out how HERE), you should really consider jumping on the bandwagon as soon as possible.
- SPG Preferred Guest Plus = Marriott Rewards Silver
- SPG Gold = Marriott Rewards Gold
- SPG Platinum = Marriott Rewards Platinum
Since Marriott Rewards Gold (which you can status match from SPG Gold) gives you guaranteed lounge access for you and a guest, it is really something to watch out for even though it might just increase the influx of guests to these properties (most people that I know of in Asia-Pacific holds elite status with SPG and not Marriott Rewards).
2. Conversion of Points (1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards Points)
The iconic Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel which is located in Orchard Road is a Category 8 property and will therefore require 40,000 Marriott Rewards Points for a free night. Using the conversion of SPG to Marriott Rewards Points above, a stay here will only cost you 13,334 Starpoints. To put things into perspective, the Sheraton Tower Singapore requires 12,000 Starpoints a night - I don't know about you but I will pick the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel any day. More importantly, similar to the Hilton HHonors Program, the Marriott Rewards program allows you to get the fifth night free for every four nights you redeem for (this is essentially a 20% savings on points!).
3. Transfer and Redeem Freely between Programs
With the integration of the Marriott Rewards and SPG, you will be able to transfer your valuable points between programs to access new redemption opportunities. At the time of writing, this is not yet made available but you should able to do it within the next 24 hours or so.
4. Access to Member Rates and Free WiFi
Finally, whenever you make a direct booking on the Marriott mobile app or SPG app, on Marriott.com or SPG.com, you will receive complimentary WiFi, regardless of elite status. Additionally, members who link their programs together will also be able to access an exclusive Member Rates (which are their lowest guaranteed rates).