Marriott International to Acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts; Will Become World's Largest Hotel Company (PRNewsFoto/Marriott International, Inc.)

Link Your Marriott and Starwood Accounts to Transfer Points and Match Elite Status

N ot wanting to add to the flood of articles at BoardingArea earlier today pertaining to the ability to now link your Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest program accounts with each other, I decided to wait until now to post this article, as there was no rush to impart this news.

Link Your Marriott and Starwood Accounts

If you are a member of the Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest loyalty programs, you can link all three accounts together and maximize your earnings and redemptions, which is considered by many members to be great news — although they are also “waiting for the other shoe to drop” as to the potential bad news of combining both frequent guest loyalty programs into one. We will have to wait and see about that; but for the most part, the news released earlier today is good at this point.

However, you cannot earn or use benefits across different frequent guest loyalty programs — Starwood Preferred Guest hotel and resort properties will not offer Marriott Rewards benefits, and Marriott Rewards hotel and resort properties will not offer Starwood Preferred Guest benefits. You will only get your points and benefits at a hotel or resort property if you are enrolled in the program in which that hotel or resort property participates — meaning that you should be a member of both the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs simultaneously with those accounts linked.

When you link your Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program accounts, you will instantly enjoy two new advantages at all 30 brands of hotel and resort properties:

  • Points transfer between the programs where three Marriott Rewards points equals one Starpoint — but the transfer must be a minimum of 1,000 points from the originating program
  • Elite level status match — meaning whatever your highest non-promotional elite status level you have achieved in one program, you can now enjoy in the other, as follows:
    • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold = Marriott Rewards Gold
    • Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum = Marriott Rewards Platinum
    • Starwood Preferred Guest Preferred Plus or Corporate Preferred = Marriott Rewards Silver

Business as Usual, Otherwise

Other than the advantages which result from linking your accounts, nothing else changes, as both programs remain separate for now. Your benefits, elite level status and existing reservations are all unaffected. Basically — despite the completion of the merger of both Marriott International, Incorporated and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Incorporated — business currently continues to be conducted as usual.

For now, the ability to book a reservation at a Marriott hotel or resort property cannot be done with an official channel of Starwood Preferred Guest — or vice versa. You also cannot currently use a gift card from Marriott at a Starwood hotel or resort property — or vice versa. Partnerships with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines will not be affected at this time while the programs continue to operate separately.

As of now, lifetime elite status in either frequent guest loyalty program is not recognized by the other — nor can they be combined at this time. Elite qualifying nights or stays also cannot be transferred between programs at this time.

A Combined Lodging Company

The final impediment of the merging of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide — which was first announced last November — into one combined lodging company was antitrust approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce; and that hurdle was cleared three days ago, according to this official press release.

Moving forward, the combined company — now boasting greater than 5,700 hotel and resort properties in greater than 100 countries around the world — will retain the name of Marriott International, Incorporated.

The two frequent guest loyalty programs will most likely not be merged into one prior to 2018, which means that they will remain separate for at least 15 months and that you have plenty of time to devise the strategy of taking advantage of the linked programs which works best for you; and none of the brands of hotel and resort properties — which are conveniently organized by category — are expected to be eliminated or consolidated.

Click here to access a list of frequently asked questions.


Other than the ability to now link frequent guest loyalty program accounts, everything else remains the same — for now; and if there is any additional information which I may have missed, I intend to post that information in a future article. Although some frequent travel loyalty programs in the past have offered a bonus of sorts to give you an incentive to link your accounts, I see no reason not to do so now — especially if doing so means achieving instantly matched elite level status — as I doubt that any bonus incentive will be offered.

Linking your accounts is quick and easy; and you can do so through either the official Internet web sites of Marriott Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest once you log into your account.

As you have read this far, I am going to reward you with a not-so-secret secret: an easy way to get thousands of free Marriott Rewards points — which can now be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest points at a ratio of 3 to 1 — is to subscribe to this discussion for referral requests on FlyerTalk and respond via private message as soon as possible to the FlyerTalk member who initiated the request. However, you must be quick, as the referral is often granted within minutes of a request. I have earned thousands of Marriott Rewards points by referring friends on FlyerTalk whom I have never met. I intend to post a general article with detailed information pertaining to the Refer a Friend program by Marriott Rewards; but I am going to deliberately omit this information from that proposed article to keep this information amongst ourselves.

You can also take advantage of this Internet shopping mall to earn Marriott Rewards points which you can convert to Starwood Preferred Guest points.

To enjoy the greatest flexibility, consider linking all of your accounts now to enjoy the benefits of all worlds — I just did and had elite level status matched instantly — and take advantage of the benefits of both frequent guest loyalty programs now while you can, as what the combined program will look like in 2018 is still yet to be known.

Source: Marriott International, Incorporated.

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