It’s Marriott & Starwood Integration Day — What Should You Expect?

Filed Under: Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest

Well, the much anticipated (dreaded?) day is finally here, as Marriott is forming a unified loyalty program for Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Hopefully you completed everything you wanted to do before the programs merged, though I’m guessing the most excitement is in the coming days, for those who want to book redemptions at the lower rates.

If you visit marriott.com you’ll see an indication that a site upgrade is in progress, and you may experience disruptions with just about everything.

Meanwhile if you go to spg.com, you’ll notice that it’s basically just a white label version of Marriott’s website.

So, what should you expect this weekend? This is one of Marriott’s largest IT projects in history, with several billion pieces of guest data being transformed and migrated. We don’t know exactly how long it will be until the functionality to redeem points is up, though as of now it’s not. I imagine it will likely be several more hours.

In the meantime, Marriott has sent me the following updates:

  • To ensure site stability, account combine functionality will be rolled out to members in batches through Monday.
  • As a result SPG.com and the corresponding mobile app will periodically have planned outages starting Friday 10pm ET. All other planned outages impacting Marriott.com and app, as we’ve stated in the past, will begin around 4am ET.
  • Throughout the weekend, when members log in to their accounts they will see all of their Marriott Rewards account activity, however only 2018 SPG activity. If members want to see their full 24-month SPG account activity, there will be a link on their profile popping up a lightbox with account statements. See screenshot below.
  • Progress updates will be posted to status.marriott.com, throughout the weekend.

Here’s what status.marriott.com says as of now:

As we upgrade our systems to bring together three loyalty programs into one combined program:

  • The SPG app is currently unavailable while we upgrade it
  • Guests using the new SPG.com site, the Marriott.com site, the Marriott mobile app, and The Ritz-Carlton mobile app may encounter disruptions in making reservations, accessing account information, joining Marriott Rewards, and other features
  • Voice reservation systems are also undergoing updates, so our associates will encounter similar issues with making reservations and accessing member information

Check back later and get ready to experience the power of one program…and endless inspiration.

Are you anxiously waiting to book any awards once the new program kicks in?

Comments
  1. @Lucky,

    In a previous post, you mentioned you weren’t worried about fighting for award space with your travel packages because you already used points to block-off some dates. While that seems like a prudent strategy, wasn’t the (SPG) rate to reserve those properties outrageous? … and couldn’t you have used those points to buy several more travel packages?

  2. The Whitelabel version already includes terms and conditions. The mormons lied to us:
    Suite Properties are excluded from standard redemption and suite-upgrade terms are very far from “mirroring” the former spg policy (entitlement). And no, please don’t jump in, DCS troll.
    The wording now is all at the hotel’s discretion, spitting in loyal spg plat’s faces. They are simply unable to offer a constistent program but why did they have to lie about this so boldly?
    I still don’t get why they would buy spg for the asset of their fiercely loyal guests and then treat them like this and burn the value of the asset.

  3. @ Johnny — I could indeed have purchased more Travel Packages, but there are only so many hotels I want to spend seven nights at, I don’t actually want that many airline miles, I was worried about availability, and I figured there was some risk associated with this. So I instead took more of a middle ground approach and only redeemed partly for Travel Packages.

  4. @Ben1982

    The exact T&C of the upgrade benefit has been live on the members.marriott.com website since launch announcement in April and is one of the few things Marriott Execs confirmed in writing (as opposed to breakfast and lounge access which took a lot of time to sort out with not many willing to go on record). Since then, it has been clear complimentary space available suite upgrades were nuked, FrequentMiler has covered this accurately, rest of the big guys have literally covered the opposite (despite repeated notifications and tips). I have no idea what it went on for so long when Marriott was so clear about this in writing. I’m also at a loss to explain some of the things David Flueck said in an on record interview with TPG.

    They’ve known all along that breakfast wasn’t being added as a benefit but specifically said its coming to brands like Courtyard, AC and Moxy.
    They’ve known all along upgrades would be watered down but stated that they would adopt SPG’s policy on this.

    Just not sure why the own goals? The backlash will inevitably be harsher than the disappointment if some of the things hadn’t been indicated or materialised in the first place.
    Let’s see how the blogs cover it now.

  5. finally the 18th. And yes Mildred the sky hasn’t fallen in, imagine that. What I will say is it is sincerely hoped that the opening page one now sees is not the permanent one because it is butt ugly.

    Let’s all have another cup of coffee and wait another day or so I would think that their goal is to have this thing working by Sunday night before the new work week begins.

  6. Also the lounge access benefit is watered down in writing because they have specifically written all SPG brands except 3 ones will now no longer offer access. LC lounges for instance, are specifcally listed as no longer offering access.

    So Upgrade, breakfast and lounge have all been short of what they implied.

  7. @Vineet, I had been hoping they were going to change this as of today as they had promised in the meantime.

    Basically they have lied to everyone big time for their little PR show but forgot that those „rabid“ guys they paid so much for are going to decide with their wallet. You are absolutely right about LC explicitly not offering lounge etc. . So let‘s see what we can expect next from these dishonest i**ots. Maybe we just shouldn’t have fallen for the illusion that putting a lying weak ex Starwood manager as head of loyalty would stop the mormons from being what they always have been.

  8. @Ben1982

    It is difficult to guess who precisely is responsible for the merged program. The SVP takes the fall but might have no hand in its implementation. The constraints very well may have come from above and he had the tough job of making the optics look as good as possible for something handed to him. I doubt a Starwood SVP would enthusiastically take the axe to a blank slate, far more likely that he had no slate to work with, rather intricate constraints had to be navigated or he was given clear targets in terms of cost savings that had to be attained. The SVP of loyalty is not infact the highest voice for loyalty, the CEO always is.

    We saw the head of loyalty at Hyatt left post initial WOH debacle. It can be read either way, if he was primarily responsible for it, he might have been fired, but at the same time if WoH was against his better judgement, he might have resigned because he was no longer willing to toe the line. None of the Marriott execs (junior or senior) can realistically speak openly about their own opinions or situation, they have to toe the party/company line. Company culture can neuter the most outspoken and enthusiastic voices.

  9. I’m dying to know when we can book several select properties at their lower rate! They just keep saying to call back 🙂

  10. @Vineet, very true. Then Flueck was either a naive idiot who is only to blame for his childish shortsightedness or an eager liar to cover his own back. Of course we know, what solarium-Arne thinks of the rabid spg folks but I am still unable to explain this from a business perspective. Why would you buy a company that not only has such a different corporate culture (usually the case) but also a different business model far less asset-heavy in terms of hotels if not for its extremely succesful processes in terms of loyalty, policy, enforcement, customer care, app and reservations systems, data science etc.? I get they have pressure from their own shareholders and hotel owners, yet: now they have shifted everything to a far less powerful IT-platform (had done this with MICE-related systems last year already, everyone hates it), loosened policy enforcement and pissed off most loyal customers. Just for the bigger footprint? Not worth much without the rest…

  11. Scale. They wanted Starwood’s 1300 contracts, specifically 1300 with a internationally skewed high end footprint (both of which they lacked). Marriott was the most USA-focused out of the big guys and weakest internationally, now they are one of the strongest. They also got a LOT of brand equity from SPG’s internationally famous and well regarded brands. Loyalty was always an after thought for Marriott. There was nothing in Loyalty they needed SPG for, they could have announced every benefit themselves. Now that they have scale, they can throw their weight around with other stakeholders in the business (OTAs, customers – guests, real customers – hotel owners). They also took Starwood off the market and prevented a potential disaster for themselves if IHG, Hilton or Hyatt had acquired them, reducing Marriott to a distant challenger in international markets.

  12. The mapping for old travel package certificates is live.

    https://insiders.marriottrewards.com/blogs/exclusive-news/2018/08/10/how-to-use-your-current-travel-package-certificate-prior-to-818

    Existing Travel Package category | How Travel Packages will convert starting today (8/18)

    Cat 1-5 (max 25K points) | Cat 1-4 (max 30K points)
    Cat 6 (30K points) | Cat 1-4 (max 30K points)
    Cat 7 (35K points) | Cat 5 (max 40K points)
    Cat 8 (40K points) | Cat 5 (max 40K points)
    Cat 9 (45K points) | Cat 6 (max 60K points)
    Tier 1-3 (max 50K points) | Cat 6 (max 60K points)
    Tier 4-5 (max 70K points) | Cat 7 (max 70K points)

  13. Vineet- excellent observations. Spot on.

    I’m a lowly SPG Gold which mapped to Marriott Gold Elite.

    Using Cat 8 7 night certificate as we speak at Wailea Marriott in Maui. And got 120k Alaska miles for 120k SPG points. Minimal benefits besides drink coupons, no upgrades, etc. Not complaining as it is an outstanding resort and feel lucky to be here.

    Yesterday, got letter to Platinum Elite members with free “breakfast” at Starbucks. Drink, pastry of the day and fruit cup. There were Marriott managers holding the door for people at 8am, which was a first. I bet the influx of this perk starting today had something to do with it. The line later at 10:30Am was long. All holding free breakfast cards.

    Honestly, I didn’t think I was being upgraded to Platinum but I’ll take it if this turns to be true. With the load of extra platinums running around, maybe they are being cheap with benefits until people like me drop off in 2019.

  14. Are we supposed to be able to still see our old SPG balance somehow? I forgot to check it last week so that I was sure the right number of points were still there and get converted properly when I combine the accounts.

  15. I been fiddling around with the new websites (both SPG and Marriott) this morning and I’ve just had a quick look at the (new) SPG Website’s earning preference section within “My Setting”. It seems they have defaulted my option to “Points – which links up with my AA Account”. When I tried to change it to just purely points “Please correct the following and try again. Please enter your Frequent Flyer/other member number.”

    I have a stay starting on Tuesday which (Marriott and SPG) and I’m linking them all with my new SPG number for the lifetime status, but should I be worried and try to change this via my Ambassador?

  16. Does anyone else have the issue that the lifetime status was not taken over correctly? I was a SPG lifetime gold with more than 300 Nights, 5 years of min gold and I have been downgraded to silver elite eventhough they said that you will keep your lifetime tier after the merger.

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