We’re over two weeks out from the merger of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) into the Marriott Rewards (or whatever the new name will eventually be) program. Members of both programs were asked to “link” their accounts together months ago. Linking accounts had several advantages:
- Matching status from one program to the other
- Point transfers between the two programs with 1 SPG point = 3 Marriott Rewards points
Besides these reciprocal perks, the programs remained separate. Points earned at Starwood hotels were added to your SPG balance and the same for Marriott hotel stays earning Marriott Rewards points. You weren’t able to combine the stays or nights from both hotels to achieve a higher loyalty status level, a lingering problem that left many travelers who stayed at both brands feeling a little left out.
While the plans merged in August 2018, you are now able to “merge” your accounts. What’s the difference between “link” and “merge” and why didn’t they do this automatically? Here’s what Marriott’s saying:
Yes! Account linking offered a status match between the programs. But by combining your accounts, your earnings will be added together. So rather than just a match, you may get a status boost.
If you already linked your accounts, that’s a great start. You created a connection – but they’re not yet one account. Now, by combining, you’ll only have one login to remember and be able to earn and redeem points across all 29 participating brands with that single account.
Heck if I know what that means. What I do know is that Sharon and I merged our accounts already and everything seems fine. While that’s not the case for everyone, here’s why I went ahead with merging our accounts.
READ THIS FIRST!
I’ll share some advice I read online before getting into the details. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING TO MERGE YOUR ACCOUNTS, TAKE SCREENSHOTS OF EVERYTHING!
That means taking screenshots or print screens of your account balances, lifetime balances, current transactions and existing hotel reservations (both cash and award stays). As I heard another blogger say before the merger, “IT is hard.” Things can and will go wrong and having documentation will help get everything straightened out if and when something goes wrong.
How Merging Accounts Is Supposed To Work.
Marriott/SPG has put out a simple YouTube video showing you how to merge your accounts.
If you don’t want to watch a 2:09 video, here’s the instructions.
- Get your log-in information for both your SPG and Marriott accounts
- Decide which account you want to keep. (I suggest keeping whichever account you have more history or a higher status. FWIW, even if you choose to keep your SPG account it appears that you still will be assigned a new SPG number)
- Log into your account
- Log into your other account
- Confirm account details
Once you confirm both accounts, you’ll be shown your new combined totals and the benefits you’ll get right away and what things may take some time to update.
One more thing you can do to prevent problems is to make sure the information on both of the accounts match. The name, address, phone number should all be the same on both accounts. The more that doesn’t match, the greater chance there will be a hiccup in the merging of the files.
How To Merge Accounts
Start the process at the website of the account you want to keep when this is all over. We have an upcoming award stay under Sharon’s Marriott account so I kept Marriott account as primary. To start, I went to the Marriott account merge website.
If you want to keep your SPG account, then log in using this website.
Remember, before you go any further make sure you’ve taken screen shots, print screen, pictures, sketches, Polaroids. Whatever way you can to document both accounts. Marriott also suggests that it you have a stay upcoming in the next three days, you shouldn’t merge accounts at this time. Once you’re ready, it goes quickly.
As long as the information on your accounts matches, you should be taken to a summary page. This will show the new combined Marriott balance (which should be your old Marriott Rewards Balance plus 3x your old SPG balance).
Marriott will also immediately combine your credited nights in both programs and if you’d earn a higher loyalty status with the combined programs, your account will reflect that change immediately.
Our Plan Worked!
This is the reason I combined our accounts sooner instead of later. The plan set in motion to get Platinum Marriott status for Sharon through a combination on credit card sign up bonuses and actual stays was successful. The Platinum Status will last through Feb, 2020 and give us some nice benefits:
- 50% Bonus Points on stays
- Enhanced room upgrade based on availability
- Welcome gift, depending on hotel brand
- Lounge access
- Guaranteed 4PM late checkout, subject to availability
- Free Enhanced In-Room Internet Access
Platinum guests also get a choice of gifts when the reach 50 eligible nights in a year:
- 5 Suite Night Awards™
- The gift of Silver Elite status for a friend or family member
- 40% off your favorite mattress
- 5 Elite Night Credits
- $100 charity donation
I was looking towards getting the 5 suite night awards and expected to see them in Sharon’s account. However, when I checked the website I got this message.
Looks like I forgot to read the fine print.
To get the gift, you need to have 50 nights in one year. Turns out, seven nights were rollover credits from last year.
Sharon’s still three nights short to earn a Five Suite Night Rewards certificate. Good thing we have a five night stay planned pretty soon at a Starwood hotel that will put us over that threshold.
It made sense for us for Sharon and I to merge our Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards accounts as soon as possible. After the merger, Sharon’s account is now eligible for Platinum Elite Benefits until February 2020 and we’ll earn the five suite night award with our next stay.
I’ve seen other articles telling people not to merge accounts. If you were loyal to one brand or the other and are almost to your status goal with that program, you wouldn’t want to switch until after you’re achieved that level. You also don’t want to merge accounts right before a hotel stay and risk having your reservation get lost in computer limbo for forever.
I guess the answer to if you should merge your accounts now or later is one of those instances where Your Mileage May Vary.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary