Marriott Bonvoy Launches Today: What Does That Mean?

Filed Under: Marriott

It’s February 13, 2019, which means that the new Marriott Bonvoy program officially launches today. What does that mean for members? Well, truthfully, not a whole lot, but let’s go over what you need to know.

What is Marriott Bonvoy?

While Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood closed several years ago, Marriott has taken a (mostly) slow and steady approach to integrating their loyalty programs. Prior to today there were technically three loyalty programs — Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

In reality the three programs were more or less combined in August 2018, when they created aligned benefits across all programs, and a single points currency.

However, in order to do things in stages they didn’t actually rebrand the programs at that point. So in August there was one program for all practical purposes, but it was really marketed as three different programs.

Today is the formal rebranding of Marriott’s loyalty program, where all 100 million plus members are part of the same program.

What is actually changing today?

On the most basic level, you should notice all the new branding everywhere — online, at hotels, etc. Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest officially no longer exist.

But as far as what’s changing today goes:

  • The Starwood Preferred Guest app has been disabled, so if you’re an SPG loyalist you’ll have to download the Marriott Bonvoy app
  • Marriott Rewards Platinum Premier Elite (which requires 75+ nights per year) has been rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite
  • Marriott Rewards Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador (which requires 100+ nights plus $20,000 of eligible spend per year) has been rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite
  • All Marriott and Starwood credit cards issued by American Express and Chase are being rebranded, and we’ll see some new welcome bonuses; as one example, the Marriott Premier Plus Card is now the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

There are no benefits changes as of now, though Marriott notes that they “do plan more innovation for the future.”

Furthermore, if you’re staying at a Marriott hotel today you can expect that they’ll have some sort of a “Bonvoy” celebration. Many hotels are hosting a cocktail party for members staying there, so please report back about your experience with that, if you’re staying at a Marriott tonight.

Hopefully this is done more tastefully than one Marriott hotel’s 9/11 remembrance…

What’s changing in the future?

While there’s now a single loyalty program, there are still some changes coming soon. First of all, Marriott’s annual category changes will take place on March 5, 2019, so you can book your stays before then for properties going up in price.

In March Marriott will also be introducing Category 8 award pricing, meaning top properties will go from costing 60,000 points per night to costing 85,000 points per night.

On top of that, later in 2019 Marriott will be introducing peak and off-peak award pricing, but we don’t know the exact timeline for that yet. For context, here’s the award chart:

On the credit card front, there are also some more changes on the way including increased welcome bonuses, additional incentives for spending on cards, changed annual fees, and more. See this post for all the details.

Bottom line

Not a whole lot is actually changing today, given that for all practical purposes Marriott aligned their loyalty programs in August 2018. Nonetheless you should see all the updated branding as of today, and if you’re staying at a Marriott property you may find some sort of celebrations.

There are also some changes coming on the credit card front, as I’ve outlined here.

If you’re staying at a Marriott today, please report back on whatever Bonvoy celebrations (or SPG funerals?) they might be having!

  1. Checking in to a Sheraton today. Will let you know. Certainly an SPG funeral for me. Bonvoy is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.

  2. How about a promo…
    That would be a nice way to celebrate.
    Been with Hilton since the last promo expired. Never thought I would see the day where Hilton offers the best promotions.

  3. I got my Platinum status through RewardsPlus. Aren’t we supposed to be downgraded to Gold at some point? According to my account, I am still a BONVoY Plat…

  4. Maybe it’s just me but ‘Bonvoy’ just doesn’t sound right…kind of sleazy in some way – can’t quite figure out why.

  5. Coming from Ritz Carlton rewards, one of the huge advantages when booking ritz carlton properties was that you would get an additional bonus night credit. I assume this is gone right?

  6. Staying at The Hermitage Jakarta – Tribute Portfolio Hotel – and they are still using the old SPG logos and elite recognition for half the things. So, no Bonvoy celebration and nothing is branded Bonvoy.

  7. Nothing is changing! New site already having IT issues and not able to get rates and book this morning….so Marriott Rewards as usual just with a new crappy name!

  8. After my last transfer of SPG points to Alaska, my Rewards points balance is 2 points.
    Haven’t stayed at an SPG or Marriott Property since July 2017.
    Have never really been impressed with Marriott properties. Will miss some SPG properties.
    In the history of marketing – and in college textbooks on marketing yet to come – ‘Bonvoy’ is the example of what NOT to do to a loyalty program.
    Have 750k HH points
    Bon voyage, Bonvoy
    ‘Nuff said.

  9. Other than hotels like the Al Maha blocking award redemptions for the last week of January? Nothing much.

  10. Doesn’t mean much except new graphic design which is not very creative and I am sure they spent a bundle on it instead of truly enhancing the program with better benefits.

  11. Still waiting for the elite qualifying nights from the credit card to post. These should post at the start of the new year. The nights not posting right away restrict elite benefits and bonuses.

  12. @lucky
    When will the 15 qualifying nights from AMEX Marriott card posts, it’s in the middle of Febrary yet I still don’t see it posted.

  13. I checked in to The Epicurean in Tampa today. My first ever “Welcome and thank you for being Titanium.” It sounded so absurd, lol. The front desk person and I laughed at the idea that it seems I am now made of Titanium. Really, it’s just hilarious that some marketing team came up with this.

  14. @Will I still see the obnoxious COMBINE NOW button in my overview page. So I take it that you still can combine accounts on your own. Though lurker from Flyertalk has mentioned that at some point, you need to call to file for a support ticket in order to combine accounts..

  15. @S @LAXJeff

    I believe that the Marriott terms for the credit card qualifying nights specify that they are to be posted before (or by) March 1 — if I’m not mistaken.

  16. @ David, It just makes me laugh as it sounds like I should wear a cape and tights and take on the Super Hero name of Titanium Man. Platinum man sounds pretty tame in comparison.

  17. Nothing here at the Sheraton Parsippany except new black Bonvoy keys. Still a nice prominent SPG sign in the lobby. It was always be SPG to me.

  18. Another change which I think flew totally under the radar (at least for me it did!) is the seniority level obtained with Hertz.

    Up until now, I received complimentary Hertz President Circle status with my Platinum (and subsequently Platinum Premier) Marriott status.

    Just today I received notification that I was now downgraded to Fives Star status with Hertz while I maintained my now Titanium status with Bonvoy.

    Upon questioning Marriott, apparently Hertz President Circle is now only available with Bonvoy Ambassador status.

    Fair advance warning would have been nice.

  19. Sadly, the UNCs (Ugly New Cards) don’t mean much for anyone who got similar cards in the past 24 months :-/ As much as Marriott makes me crazy, I still love the SPG hotels, and would be tempted to apply for the SPG Luxury card with the Ugly New Name … but nope, that’s a no-go for me.

  20. I looked up when the 15 Elite Nite credits are supposed to be posted. Here it is from the terms and conditions of the Amex Consumer Marriott Bonvoy Card. “On or before March 1 of each subsequent calendar year, a maximum of 15 Elite Night credits will be credited to your Marriott Bonvoy member account operated by Marriott International, Inc. in accordance with Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions, as long as your Card Account is open as of December 31 of the prior calendar year.” It is the same for all cards. They basically have 15 more days

  21. It meams downgrade! Im staying at mariott surfs paradise today. I checked in on my phone as a junior suite. And this morning they downgraded me to a standard room. This is a shame.

  22. At a Westin today. They made a big deal about a new key card and key card holder that said Bonvoy. But that’s it.

  23. Couple things….

    1) Most properties especially franchised / 3rd party managed properties have not yet received the Convoy tier differentiation training. Checked into a property today and they too had no idea what was going on. I asked about a suite upgrade (I’m Ambassador Elite) and they said the suite upgrades are reserved for the highest level tier only – duh. When I showed them my profile pin the app they said they were unfamiliar …I asked again for the upgrade and they said their hands are tied because of Marriott Corporate Rooms Control ??? So I asked for the manager on Duty and very politely explained the situation and lo and behold – Ambassador level benefits appeared. Sadly, the manager didn’t even explain the situation to the front desk agent.

    2) Why do you call it simply BONVOY ? It’s Marriott Bonvoy – and believe me they are emphasizing the Marriott name !

    3) Was told the SPG app would deactivate – which it did last night. Was told to download the Marriott App a few weeks ago and that it would automatically update to Bonvoy today – it did not. I had to reinstall Marriott Bonvoy from the App Store. What’s more, as of this am 2/13, I couldn’t find Bonvoy in the App Store – I had to link to it from the message on the Marriott International App….ugh.

  24. Westin Moana Surfrider today, looks like only their normal Wine Wednesday reception, however, did get a couple of cookies with Bonvoy sticker that says Thank you for your loyalty.

  25. Staying at Marriott Brisbane and was interesting to note the change wasn’t happening on 13 Feb (which was yesterday for me) but at a specific time on 13 Feb in Maryland. I opened my app when I arrived at the hotel around 9:30 PM and it was still Marriott but right around 10:00 PM (7 AM ET) the app on my phone asked me to update to the Bonvoy app.

    No celebrations at the hotel when I left this morning for meetings but but maybe that will change this afternoon / evening. We shall see.

  26. Is anyone organizing a proper SPG funeral for all the millions of SPG loyalists like me? I will be there ! Marriott has made a half hearted effort, but clearly it’s all about profit, because we are all seeing reduced upgrades and benefits, along with point devaluations in the form of increased redemption levels for 90% of the hotels. Worst of all, they’re eliminating SPGs most valuable perks : blackout free award nights! I can’t bear to walk down another orange and green Marriott brand hallway ! Will Hilton or Hyatt save us?!

  27. So today was the big launch – well I have been trying to make reservations for an upcoming trip but the website has been down since this morning. It was working in the wee hours and when i cancelled one reservation, it cancelled ALL my reservations – I say BONVOYAGE to this mess

  28. Nothing at the Scottsdale Marriott by McDowell Mountains. All there was was a booth describing the new launch, and the pitchers of lemonade and ice tea that they usually have on another side of the lobby.

  29. So here’s perspective from a Marriott employee…

    Our training is not accurate. When we do the online tests and “learn” the benefits for Bonvoy tiers, it still tests us on Platinum Premier vs Platinum. No answers on the test were available for Titanium or Ambassador. They show the benefits on the training videos accurately, but the tests don’t contain the correct answers to questions. Guessing this won’t help Elite status recognition….

    We’re also all discussing how Titanium is less valuable as a commodity than Platinum, so that’s an odd addition to the loyalty club.

    None of the status differences are showing up for mobile check-ins, so there goes your Ambassador status if you’re checking in on the app, at least at select service properties. You have to manually dig into each reservation to see everyone’s new status. It shows both Titanium and Ambassador status as PPR for both categories on the mobile menu, standing for Platinum Premier. So it all looks the same to the front desk staff initially.

    Every day I continue to work for this company, I just want to leave faster. Everything about this integration has been a disaster. Marriott ruined Starwood, and even managed to ruin what Marriott used to be. Marriott is turning into the Walmart of hotels, and I’m about to jump shift before it sinks. All that matters at this point is profit for shareholders. Customers be damned.

  30. I didn’t see anything when I checked out of the RDU Courtyard yesterday, but that was around 6:30am. When I checked into the Westin Charlotte last night around 9pm there was a couple poster boards with balloons. The check in agent did mention the new Bonvoy, that I’m now Titanium, and my room key holder was bonvoy branded, but that’s it. Still plenty of SPG branded stuff in the room including the Keep it Green door hanger offer 500 SPG points.

  31. I was in Montreal this week at AC hotel. Nothing special happen that I know of since one friend invite me over the W hotel gathering (since I am a platinum member). Great champagne available and we could meet all the management and we could discuss with them. They did a good job.

    That being said, I am glad to see I am not alone feeling that somehow if they wanted to make a positive thing with Bonvoy, well they screwed this big time. Not even a promotion.
    So reading the comments, combined with my own nightmare experience when I combined my account make me think I would have fired some managers who designed this mess.

  32. I am a high-use member in both Marriott and Hilton programs and have been for 30 years. The last two years I had a permanent room at Marriott where I lived much of the time. Point: hotels are my home. Though I still don’t quite get what the Bonvoy change is supposed to mean to me, and though I still wonder why, after checking in every week of every year for 30 years across hotels within those two brands only, how my name doesn’t show up with a bright red marker yelling “say Welcome back” to every check-in staff that greets me, and though I still wonder why when I ask for a late check out I get a look of “how dare you” from the front desk, I still find the consistency of the Marriott and Hilton brands comforting. I still prefer a Hilton Garden Inn over a full service Hilton, and sometimes go to the Marriott Park Lane in London just to have the ultimate in hotel service and experience. I’m grateful to Marriott and Hilton for being my home for most of my life.

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