Starwood and Marriott Platinums Now Eligible for Extra Legroom Seats on Both United and Delta

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The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Marriott’s top elite status comes with United status, and therefore access to Economy Plus seating. Starwood’s top elite status comes with pseudo-elite benefits on Delta, and those now include access to extra legroom seats. With the Marriott-Starwood merger, arn one of those statuses, you get both. And one credit card even gets you all of that.

Starwood Platinums get Crossover Rewards benefits on Delta. That includes space available upgrades to first class, in addition to priority airport benefits and earning Starwood points for Delta ticket spend. (You must link your accounts to take advantage of these benefits.)

Marriott Platinum members are entitled to United Silver. United silvers get Economy Plus extra legroom seating if available at check-in. (You must link your accounts to take advantage of these benefits.)

Now that Marriott has acquired Starwood, Marriott Platinum status gives you Starwood Platinum status and vice versa. (You must link your accounts to take advantage of these benefits.)

What’s new is that Delta now offers extra legroom coach seating to Starwood Platinums. (HT: Rene’s Points)

Comfort+ gets dedicated overhead bin space, complimentary drinks, and on longer flights food.

I’m a Starwood Platinum on the cusp of 100 nights. I’m actually flying Delta soon, my first Delta domestic flight since 2010. However it’s first class — Delta first was about $50 more than American Airlines coach, and I requalified for my American elite status back in June. So I thought actually flying Delta would make an otherwise mundane domestic trip interesting. I was debating crediting to Alaska Airlines though I think my Starwood points-earning for the ticket may tip me to crediting to SkyMiles.

I expect to travel less next year, and retaining top tier status with Hyatt will get harder, so my current plan is to spend $75,000 on The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card which gives me Platinum status — and matches to Starwood Platinum. (Here are the tricks to earning Marriott and Starwood status.)

  • That means at least United Silver, and access to extra legroom seating
  • That means Delta Crossover Rewards, and access to extra legroom seating (and upgrades, at the bottom of the list)

Marriott’s program already seems on the rise, having introduced guaranteed 4pm late checkout (something Hilton doesn’t offer).

And the Ritz-Carlton card will let me earn 3 complimentary nights as a signup bonus, plus Ritz-Carlton club upgrades, $100 off companion tickets, and more.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The strategy makes sense, but how many of us — most of whom do not own their own business(es) — can afford to put $75,000 annually on credit cards? (Let alone on a single credit card, and thus forgoing any and all benefits afforded to us by [e.g.] AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve/Preferred, Citi Prestige/ThankYou Premier, Starwood AMEX¹, etc.)

    As an SPG Gold member, I have Gold status with Marriott & Ritz-Carlton as well. However — between the extra 5,000 points I receive by transferring 20k to an airline program, and the 5th night I receive when booking four nights on points at Starwood properties — I continue to find more value in SPG points with Marriott . . .

    ¹ Which begs the question: using the Ritz-Carlton and/or the Marriott Rewards card, one receives 5 points per $1 at partner hotels; valued at 0.9¢ each, that’s 4.5¢ per $1. The Starwood AMEX, on the other hand, gives you 2 points per $1 at partner hotels; valued at 2.7¢ each, that’s a return of 5.4¢ per $1. (This does not include the added points one receives for the actual stay; I am only referring to credit card points and their value.)

  2. I’d already been registered for crossover rewards, and newly received SPG platinum from my Marriott platinum.

    Is there any way to verify on the Delta website that the crossover benefits are in place for my Delta account, that Delta is aware of my new SPG status?

  3. Hey Gary, it’s worth pointing out that anyone with Marriott/SPG Platinum can use their United Silver status to do the status challenge with AA or DL if they booked any of those ~$400 round trips to Europe in 2017. I booked CLE-AMS via DTW on Delta for $400 in March, which will be just over 8000 MQM, enough to satisfy the Silver Medallion status challenge. A similar ticket would do the same for anyone flying AA. I plan on doing this on my Delta trip and then later for AA, completing status on all big 3 with very little spend. I know it’s lower level status but that free extra seat room, priority check in and extra bags(for those not already having the carrier cc’s) can feel like huge improvements over not having any status.

  4. Sadly, this doesn’t work if you’re flying DL on a FlyingBlue award ticket. No upgrade for DL Silver and/or SPG Plat.

  5. This is nice in theory but I wonder how frequently a Starwood/Marriott platinum would ever actually get an upgrade on Delta. This may just be a benefit that they’ve added knowing full well that they will rarely ever need to deliver it. I fly mostly transcons on Delta and I am new to Delta this year but even as a Medallion Platinum I am typically number 15+ on the upgrade waitlist. When it’s important to me to sit in Delta first/business I buy it, because the odds of an upgrade for someone who flies less than 125,000 per year are incredibly low on most of my Delta routes based on my limited experience. On the other hand, Delta usually has some of the lowest F fares for those routes and at least half of the planes have flat beds, so I am pretty comfortable with what I am getting for the price.

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