For awhile now Marriott kept on saying that the merger would take place “sometime in August”. Well that is a pretty vague 31 days, but I am happy to hear that we finally have an exact date. At midnight on August 18th, the two loyalty programs will officially become one. Of course I expect it to take a few hours (and maybe even a few days) for the systems to completely migrate all date over, but at least we have a date of when everything is changing over. And I would not assume you’ll be able to access your account that day, or even for a few days!
So on August 18th, what will actually happen?
- All Starwood members will receive a new 9-digit Marriott number – you will then need to combine your Starwood account and Marriott account (assuming you are a member of both)
- SPG points will triple (which is currently the conversion ratio if you do it ahead of time)
- The new award chart will go into effect
- All nights you’ve stayed at Marriott and Starwood programs will be combined – which might give you a higher status (just make sure to combine your accounts)
- If you have a reservation booked for a hotel that will require LESS points, cancel and rebook (assuming you can still cancel and there is still award reservations available)
#1 thing to do PRIOR to August 18th
If you are looking to book a stay at a hotel that is going UP in points, make sure to book PRIOR to August 18th. As long as you make your reservation PRIOR to the migration date, all future award stays will stick with the old chart. With that being said, if you need to change your reservation after August 18th, the new award chart will be used. If you are looking or a Disney World or Ski vacation, make sure to book those vacations now! You can check out the new award chart here to see if the hotel will require more or less points.
If you have enough points in your account, just make as many reservations as you think you might have and cancel later – as long as there is a flexible cancelation policy.
I am personally happy to see an exact date put in place. I still have some speculative reservations to make and this has now forced me to sit down and book!