Marriott Backs Down on Lifetime Elite Status for Starwood Members (and Clarifies Amex Platinum Status)

One of the aspects of Marriott’s announced new program that annoyed Starwood’s most loyal customers the most wasn’t even where something is being taken away from them.

Under the new program all current lifetime elites keep their current lifetime status. What’s more, everyone has until December 31, 2018 to earn their lifetime status under current program rules, even though the new program will take effect in August. And the new program will count stay and years of activity from both Starwood and Marriott programs and combine them.

The new program won’t offer a lifetime status level higher than 50 nights, just like the Starwood program didn’t offer a lifetime status level higher than 50 nights.

However Marriott’s legacy program offered lifetime 75 night elite status, and those who already achieved that status in the Marriott program, or who achieve it through Marriott-only activity by the end of the year, get to keep it. Starwood elites weren’t going to be given that opportunity.

Many Starwood members were unhappy and some of the longest tenured most loyal customers petitioned for a change. Marriott lifetime elites were able to get lifetime 75 night status, while Starwood lifetime elites — even those that had stayed more than Marriott’s had — would top out at 50 night status.


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Marriott has reconsidered. Starwood Platinums with 10 years of Platinum status and 750 elite nights will receive Platinum Premier (75 night status). As originally announced this is a one shot deal to earn lifetime Platinum Premier, which won’t be offered in the future.

We’ve heard from many of our members who have questions about lifetime status, especially Lifetime Platinum Premier, and we want to provide answers. First and foremost, members who have accomplished lifetime by the end of 2018 will keep it as part of the new program.

In some exciting news, SPG members can now earn Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status, and Marriott Rewards members will have an additional way to achieve it in 2018. Members who have reached 750 nights and ten years of Platinum status by the end of this year will qualify. This is the last year Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status will be offered.

In addition, members can qualify for all lifetime tiers through the end of 2018 under the current criteria in both programs as well as the new unified program rules. Members also can accelerate lifetime by combining their accounts in August, because nights stayed at any of our 29 participating brands in 2018 will count toward elite status.

Another way we are potentially accelerating lifetime is counting previous years across both programs. For example, a member with Silver status in Marriott Rewards (25-49 nights) for three years and Gold status in SPG (25-49 nights) for two years by the end of 2018 would qualify for Lifetime Silver Elite status.


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In addition Marriott has clarified (what seemed obvious, but there was wishful thinking on the part of some) that Marriott Golds who earned that status via status match from Starwood Gold will be Gold in the new program. There was a temporary period where benefits were boosted — Marriott Gold is 50 night status and gets club lounge access or breakfast — but that gets cleaned up in the new program.

I think the biggest elite weakness is that Marriott’s new 75 night status isn’t much better than 50 night status, and 100 night status with a $20,000 minimum spend requirement is unattainable for many.

As a result I see 50 night status as the sweet spot — and you can earn that with lifetime nights or $75,000 spend on a premium co-brand credit card. So to my mind it’s the lack of incremental juice at 75 nights, combined with the ease of 50 night status, that makes it hard for lifetime elites to justify staying on the treadmill.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. So to clarify, in August, my vague Marriott nights of about 200 will be merged with my Starwood lifetime Platinum of 11 years and 620 Some Nights what should give me lifetime Platinum Premier status,

  2. Assuming 10 years as Platinum, suppose on January 1, 2018, a member has 700 SPG nights and 600 Marriott nights. Doing nothing more, that does NOT qualify for LTPPE as I read it.

    Since this year nights count for either side, if the member acquires 50 Marriott nights, do those combine with 700 SPG nights to qualify for LTPPE?

    Thanks!

  3. I will hit Lifetime Platinum with SPG in a couple of months, but the way this read, I’m guessing there are different levels of Platinum?

  4. Can you accrue a ‘Lifetime Status Year’ by only spending $75,000 on the premium brand credit card and not by staying at hotels?

  5. I for one am very impressed that Marriott acknowledged the super loyal SPG members. Why wouldn’t Members with 750 + nights and 10 years Platinum Status deserve LTPPE to match super loyal Marriott members?

    Kudos to Marriott for another positive step in this merger.

    #welldone

  6. @Super Leisure Man, I don’t see it either.

    @RF, could you tell us where you see a reference to Amex Platinum?

  7. When one has the same or greater number of nights as others but they receive a higher status that is clearly tantamount to a take away.

    Plus I heard that Marriott platinums had rollover nights which effectively provided double counting of some stays for lifetime status. Coorrection please if that is inaccurate.

    For me the Your24 benefit was more valuable than an ambassador. The ambassador was most useful in assisting with cajoling a hotel into granting a Your24 request. Even though Your24 was supposedly based on a 24-hour clock. Requests for check in between 0000 and 0400 were always rejected by the system.

    Currently, Platinum Premiere provides little advantage over Platinum (it might matter for suite upgrades and suite night award requests), but that could change in the future. I’m glad to now have the higher status.

  8. New gripe: everyone who was lifetime elite will forever be some status we cannot attain.

    Reverse ageism. Straight up.

  9. What about the Ritz Carlton card? Since it gives Marriott Gold status for the first year, shouldn’t that give me platinum for at least another year?

  10. So I am confused are those who matched from spy gold going to be plat in Aug for the rest of 2018 at least or they going to be gold even for 2018?

  11. So I am confused as @Andrea and others. You referred back to your own 3rd to last paragraph I think:

    “In addition Marriott has clarified (what seemed obvious, but there was wishful thinking on the part of some) that Marriott Golds who earned that status via status match from Starwood Gold will be Gold in the new program. There was a temporary period where benefits were boosted — Marriott Gold is 50 night status and gets club lounge access or breakfast — but that gets cleaned up in the new program.”

    I believe her question, and mine and others is: Did Marriott respond to you in writing that Marriott Golds who earneds status via Starwood Gold will be demoted to Marriot new Gold in August rather than the beginning of next program year ? Is the “temporary period” you are referring to now since Marriott bought Starwood or are you referring to a temporary period from August until the end of the year?

    Thanks for some further clarification whether you have official info from Marriott. I am one of those with “wishful thinking” (and several fall bookings I will cancel if they do this) that the Gold status in new program starts with the new program year not in August

  12. OK, so I will get LT Plat Premier because I’m a current Marriott LT Plat. What does this get me that LT Plat doesn’t? I’m completely confused — they’ve created something that has seemingly no difference between it and the level below it. Or am I missing something?

  13. “There was a temporary period where benefits were boosted — Marriott Gold is 50 night status and gets club lounge access or breakfast — but that gets cleaned up in the new program.”

    “Cleaned up” makes it sound like you work for Marriott. For those of us who had this benefit via the platinum card or Starwood Gold status, it is a screw job at best.

  14. @Larry, @Andrea, et al…

    To be fair, Gary never mentions Amex Platinum card holders in the referenced paragraph (3rd to last). However, I understood what he meant. Amex Platinum offers SPG Gold as a benefit. Since SPG Gold matched to Marriott Gold, we received that as well. Still do but, come August 1, the Gold level will now suck. What was Gold (50 nights) is now called Platinum. Gold will be 25 nights.

    So the clarification is, no, we Amex Plat holders will NOT be getting the 50 night level we had, come August 1.

    I’m looking forward to club access next week at the Sheraton I’ll be at. After that, I’ll have to get to 50 nights to get my access again.

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