Starwood Preferred Guest Gold members hoping to nab Platinum Elite status under Marriott’s new combined hotel loyalty program will be disappointed, with the chain now confirming that these travellers will only be matched to Gold Elite under the new scheme – not Platinum Elite as previously advised.
In April, Marriott International told Australian Business Traveller that SPG Gold members could achieve Platinum in the new program by matching their existing status to Marriott Rewards Gold today, and using that Marriott status rather than their SPG status to parlay Platinum Elite come August.
The idea was that if you were to link your SPG Gold card directly to the new, combined program, you’d get Gold Elite in August, while existing Marriott Rewards Gold members are instead being offered the superior Platinum Elite status: and under today’s rules, SPG Gold can be instantly matched to Marriott Rewards Gold, which in theory, created a savvy ‘status shortcut’.
However, Marriott’s earlier advice and commentary on this was incorrect.
The company now states that the only way an SPG Gold member will achieve Platinum Elite status under the new program will be if they’ve spent 50 nights or more in hotels this calendar year across their combined rewards accounts to qualify for the new tier officially: otherwise, they’ll be stuck at Gold Elite.
The news is a pretty big blow for AMEX Platinum Charge Card holders who currently receive gratis SPG Gold status for as long as they hold their AMEX card, which by extension, currently unlocks Marriott Rewards Gold under today’s linking system.
Marriott’s previous advice about the new loyalty program would have seen these members elevated to Platinum Elite by way of that matched Marriott Gold status, but based on this week’s update, their status in the new program will remain at Gold Elite.
Platinum is the new Gold
So, what’s the big deal? Under the new scheme, Platinum is really the ‘new’ Gold, and carries most perks currently offered at the Marriott Gold Elite level, including favourites such as hotel executive lounge access, daily breakfast and a guaranteed 4pm check-out at most hotels.
These are all benefits that SPG Gold members enjoy when staying at Marriott hotels today, courtesy of their linked Marriott Rewards Gold status: but come August, these perks disappear when these members are relegated to the new Gold Elite tier, which is more akin to today’s Marriott Silver.
That means no guaranteed late check-out – instead, an earlier 2pm check-out “based on availability” only – plus no hotel lounge access or free brekky, although other privileges such as room upgrades (excluding suites) and a 25% points bonus on stays will still be available.
How Marriott got it wrong
Marriott has confirmed that the information the company originally provided to Australian Business Traveller was incorrect, but has declined to offer further comment.
Previously, Marriott International’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Asia Pacific, Peggy Fang Roe, told AusBT that “as long as you’re a Gold in Marriott, you’re going to become a Platinum Elite (in the new program)... even if you were to link your (SPG and Marriott) accounts now”.