I must admit I have a tear in my eye. Starwood Preferred Guest was one of my favourite hotel loyalty programmes as I grew into this miles and points hobby. So much so that it led me to write my first ever beginners' guide all those years ago as this blog was starting out.
Their Platinum Challenge, generous 4:5 conversion ratio to air miles and highest suite upgrades were amongst the best benefits of any hotel's programmes, and combined with the sweet spot of Category 1-3 ‘cash and points' hotel rates, this was a programme I loved.
Seventeen out of the eighteen nights of my Platinum Challenge were spent in the Junior Suite of the grandiose and opulent Hotel Des Indes in The Hague, The Netherlands.
And I managed to get this view of the Pyramids at Le Meridien Giza, Egypt, which was one of the cheapest Category 1 hotels around.
And one of my more memorable stays was being upgraded to the Royal Suite at the Convento do Espinheiro, Évora in Portugal, while they were still part of the SPG programme.
Today is the day all of Starwood Preferred Guest, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards branding cease to exist. They will all be homologated into one new programme, Marriott Bonvoy.
If you are unfamiliar with the Marriott brands, especially how they compare to the former SPG brands, the Bonvoy team produced this very hand grid.
There will be two renaming of elite status levels to note, but the requirements to qualify remain the same:
- “Titanium Elite” for those who stay 75 nights or more, previously called “Platinum Premier Elite”
- “Ambassador Elite” for those who stay over 100 nights AND spend $20,000, previously “Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador”. These members receive an ‘ambassador' to assist with their bookings.
(Someone needs to explain to them titanium is a cheaper metal than gold and platinum…)
Some New Category Changes
On 5th March 2019 there will be a reward price change for some of its hotels, which also includes the introduction of Category 8, when the previous highest was Category 7, but the Off Peak and Peak pricing rates are delayed until further notice. A full list of hotels changes prices is here.
Before you make any rewards booking you should check the link above in the slim chance your chosen hotel is dropping in category and therefore ending with a lower price.
The new reward chart therefore becomes:
Cash and points rates
On the whole Marriott Bonvoy's new branding is pretty clean, to the point of being somewhat simplistic. While it is unclear when the off-peak and peak pricing charts will come into play, I hope this will be sooner rather than later of course!
I will be very sad let SPG go. So for one last time, here it is.