Marriott International is to introduce one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty programs for its members in August 2018. The combined platform creates a rich hospitality loyalty program in which members can earn more points faster than under any of the prior programs individually - on average 20% more points for every US$1 spent, the company says. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

For the first time, members will have access to book stays and earn or redeem points among 29 participating global brands comprising 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. Additionally, the Moments experiential platform is expanding, with more than 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations from must-see attraction tickets and tours for purchase with cash by all guests, to once-in-a-lifetime events only available to members using points, including the new bespoke Moments Live event series.

"We listened to the travel aspirations of our members and set our sights on unlocking the full potential of our loyalty programs," said David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, Marriott International. "This August, our members can enjoy one set of benefits across our extraordinary portfolio of hotels from iconic full and select service, to extended stay, to unique boutiques and luxury brands. We hope to inspire our members whatever their travel passion, whether it is resorts featuring overwater bungalows, peaceful secluded island settings, ski-in / ski-out mountain resorts, towering hotels with picture-worthy views or even former palaces converted into hotels."

Beginning in August, members will be able to combine their separate Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on under the new set of unified benefits until a new program name is introduced in 2019.

Also beginning in August, travelers will have the ability to book stays across the entire portfolio for the first time on Marriott.com, SPG.com and the Marriott and SPG apps, or by contacting customer engagement centres.

Achieve Elite Status and Earn Points Faster
In August, members will be able to earn and redeem across the entire portfolio of participating hotels and earn elevated benefits and elite status faster with new elite tiers. For example, earning Silver elite status after just ten nights and Gold elite status after just 25 nights will become standard in all three programs. With Platinum elite status earned after 50 nights and Platinum Premier elite status earned after 75 nights, these tiers will become easier to attain for Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members and align with SPG's current offering. In addition, all Platinum Premier members surpassing 100 nights and $20,000 of spend will enjoy the highest level of personalized service - the popular ambassador program - along with all the other benefits in that tier. Members who have achieved Lifetime status will continue to have their status recognized.

The breakfast offering for Platinum and Platinum Premier members will be expanded to 23 participating brands, including Courtyard, AC Hotels by Marriott, Protea and Moxy, as well as resorts. For certain brands, members will receive free breakfast or an on-property food and beverage credit for breakfast or other dining options.

Under the unified benefits, a single points currency will be introduced. In August, SPG members will see their points balance triple. SPG, Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will all earn ten points for every dollar spent at all brands except for Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element which will be five points per every dollar spent. With bonuses, elite members will earn even more for stays. In August, all members will begin earning points for food and beverage and qualifying incidentals on their folio, rather than just the room rate.

Simpler to Redeem Points
To make it easier for members to redeem points, all hotels throughout the loyalty portfolio will have no blackout dates for points redemptions. In addition, a Free Night Award chart with peak, standard and off-peak pricing will be adopted for all hotels. The chart, which will launch with standard pricing in August, will add off peak and peak in 2019.

More Mobile Features
Members will enjoy a significantly improved digital and mobile experience. When members book directly on Marriott.com, SPG.com or any of Marriott's mobile apps, they will be able to choose from all 6,500 participating hotels, and also take advantage of exclusive member-only rates and free Wi-Fi. In addition, members will be able to check-in or check out, receive Room Ready Alerts chat directly with hotels using Mobile Requests and where available use their smartphones as their room key on all of Marriott's mobile apps.

New rewards credit cards
Marriott and its credit card partners JPMorgan Chase and American Express will offer new and refreshed co-branded credit cards in the US later this year that will provide card members with more benefits across the entire loyalty portfolio. On 3rd May 2018, Chase launched the new Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, and in August 2018, American Express will introduce the new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card. These new products will offer valuable perks and more ways to earn points when using the cards to pay for stays worldwide.

The new Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card will give card members six Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent at participating hotels, two points per US$1 spent on all other eligible purchases, an anniversary free-night certificate for any property up to 35,000 points, guaranteed elite status and much more.

The new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card will offer card members six points per dollar spent at participating hotels, three points per dollar spent on airfare and at U.S. restaurants, and two points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Card members will also receive US$300 annually in statement credits for on-property purchases, a free night award up to 50,000 points, automatic Gold elite status, a US$100 fee credit for Global Entry, Priority Pass Select membership and more.

Members can choose to keep their current cards, or they can apply for, or upgrade to the new cards. Card members with the existing consumer and small business Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, and the JPMorgan Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card can continue to enjoy the benefits of their current cards and the exciting changes that will be announced soon. Finally, we will be announcing changes to cobrand cards in Canada, Japan, The United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates at a later date.

Access to Experiences
Research shows today's modern travelers value experiences over things. Marriott's greatly expanded experiential offerings on Moments can be purchased with cash and do not require a hotel reservation. As an added benefit, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members will earn points every time they purchase one of the new experiences. The 110,000 new Moments experiences in 1,000 destinations are in addition to the 8,000 exclusive, member experiences that only can be redeemed with points on Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments. In the future, all Moments experiences will be available to be redeemed with points.

Experiences range from destination tours and day trips like shark cage diving in Gansbaai, South Africa, to once-in-a-lifetime events. These include exclusive member concerts, VIP experiences to coveted sports events like the Super Bowl and music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, as well as hands-on master classes and meet & greets with some of the world's top athletes, musicians and chefs, including among others, actor and musician Jared Leto and his band 30 Seconds to Mars, chef Daniel Boulud and Lewis Hamilton, the four-time Formula One World Champion and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport driver.

Marriott is also announcing Moments Live, a collection of premiere musical and culinary events powered by Marriott's partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG) and its newest partnership with LITV Entertainment Group. The series kicks off with a selection of:

  • VIP access and exclusive performances throughout Keith Urban's recently announced Graffiti U World Tour.
  • Access to intimate, thoughtfully crafted events with superstar chefs and well-known musicians in picturesque settings.
  • Exclusive, VIP access to music and culinary themed events in Napa Valley, such as private festivals Live In The Vineyard and Live In The Vineyard Goes Country.
  • In the coming months, Marriott will provide members with information about how and when in August they can begin combining their loyalty accounts.