Mega Loyalty Program Merger
About a month ago we wrote a blog about the lead up to Marriott International’s Rewards Program merging with the SPG (Starwood) and Ritz Carlton programs. This merger took place on August 18th and while all three websites and apps were down for a short time things seem to have gone smoothly. Our accounts are all correct and functioning. BUT…there are a few things that you need to do to make sure you are getting the most benefit from the new program.
If you have accounts with Marriott, SPG and Ritz log into them all. You will likely see a notification that your account number has changed with SPG and Ritz. You may want to note this new number. I did not need it but just in case.
All three mobile apps have been updated. They are still separate apps but they all function like the original Marriott app. So again for us, this is great. If you are more loyal to one of the other brands there are some changes in your app but they are fairly straight forward.
Combine Your Points
This is where you need to take a few minutes to do a bit your self. The points and nights that you have earned at any of the brands are not just automatically combined together. You need to log into one of your accounts and find the ‘Combine Accounts’ symbol to do this. Because we had more Marriott points we chose to log into our Marriott account. According to the help site, whichever website you do this process from is the profile that you will keep.
Once you click to combine and verify your username and password the balance of points and nights plus the number of current reservations in two of your accounts will show. Simply follow the steps, make a few clicks and join them together. The process is instantaneous. But to be safe we logged into our SPG account and, voila, both our SPG account and our Marriott account were the same. Since we did not have any nights or points with Ritz we only had to do this once.
(There is an error in the wording that refers to Annual nights as Lifetime nights during the transfer process, but when we logged back in to our Marriott account the number of Lifetime nights was correct.)
Why Separate Brands
We were a bit surprised that there are still three different websites and three separate mobile apps. But it seems the easiest answer is to keep make things easiest for the customer, keep everyone happy and loyal to their preferred brand.
The advantage of combining your accounts together is that stays at all 29 brands now count towards the same rewards pool. We only had 2 SPG nights this year so far and just over 2,000 points. But those were combined with our 45 Marriott nights to date automatically and we now will enjoy Platinum Elite Status (early check-in, late check-out, lounge access, bonus points) at all SPG hotels as well as at Marriotts. You can also apply to other chains (such as Best Western, Hilton, IHG) for status matching. More on that in another blog.
We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf for 9 years and provide marketing, social media and business services to the golf and other industries. As of August 2016 our life and our business will be ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.