It’s Time to Have the Marriott-Starwood Family and Friends Discussion

Chinese regulators didn’t scupper the Marriott-Starwood deal. It’s a go and overnight last night account linkage went live with a bunch of features and opportunities.

I am home with my parents in Minnesota this week and first thing this morning was to link my father’s lifetime Marriott Platinum to a new SPG account that instantly became Platinum.

marriott-starwood-link

How much to involve family and friends in miles and points?

We think our hobby is pretty cool. Others see it is as weird, a hassle, and sketchy.

I rarely involve family and friends in this hobby and do not proselytize outside this blog and associated events. I am happy to help those who show interest and ability. I steer clear of areas such as credit cards and manufactured spend that involve real money and financial consequences. I don’t want to know my brother’s SSN. We have a great relationship and inviting finances into a relationship too often leads to trouble.

Marriott-Starwood is different

This is not some $5 off $10 shopping discount that is a waste of time to many.

It is not some ‘mistake fare’ or loophole deal that will vanish in moments or may not be honored.

Marriott-Starwood account linkage (1) affects many travelers, (2) is easy, (3) is not risky, (4) has instant outsize benefits for some and (5) has some cool opportunities for those willing to put in time and thought.

How to discuss with family and friends

Start with the easy wins, the linkage and registration. Let things percolate. Over time suggest some more advanced things if the audience is receptive. Don’t throw complex transfers, flight and nights packages and Southwest companion passes at them in the first go.

Here’s the order I recommend

  1. Find out if they have status in either hotel (or a credit card like Amex Platinum or United status) that can get them status in one program in the other. Get them status for ‘nothing.’ That’s a great confidence boost.
  2. Link Marriott-Starwood accounts here. If applicable, a matching status will automatically be granted. Yay! Tell them the benefits.
  3. Marriott Platinum get United Silver status here. United Gold and above get Marriott Gold here.
  4. United Silver and Gold get Hertz Five Star, United Platinum and above get Hertz President’s Circle, both here.
  5. Link SPG to Delta Crossover Awards here OR to Emirates Your World Rewards here. China Eastern is coming soon. For most US audiences don’t try to talk up Emirates or China Eastern. Link Delta and be done with it.

Take a break here. Let them rest a few days. Perhaps they have upcoming travel and will savor the new benefits. If they come back for more you can start sharing what may be relevant:

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  • P T

    Hi Stefan, Perhaps others are in my boat. I was just on the verge of canceling my Marriott cc as AF is due, and then this merger occurred. I hold the SPG AMEX. No status in SPG, Silver in Marriott because of cc. Travel of late rarely finds me staying at either. Now reluctant to cancel the cc as some new announcement may make me rue the decision. Any thoughts? Many thanks.

  • @P T – I just canceled my Amex SPG Biz today because of annual fee. They have had on and off targeted spend offers and having an ability to generate those points can be useful if you have a plan and willing to MS. If it is just about status I would not bother. Marriott Silver not valuable. SPG Gold not valuable except now to get Marriott Gold to activate that. The Sheraton lounge access benefit is so limited I think I have only used it once. That can be a card to keep since they are not offering repeat bonuses except possible to different businesses than prior for the business card.

    The (edit: business card only) Marriott cards do not seem impacted by 5/24 so if things stay the same you can get the card again in a few months. I was approved for the business card in April. I don’t expect any interesting offers on the Marriott cards, more likely on the SPG side. Might as well activate SPG Silver, collect the annual Marriott cert and then cancel it out.

  • AnonCHI

    Agree with you Stefan. Canceled two family AMEX SPG Biz cards. We completely maxed out the Sheraton Lounge benefit on a BRG stay late last year where we had 2 rooms for 5 nights each and loved the free breakfast and lounge but would not have stayed at the Sheraton were it not for an insane BRG rate.

    I was under the impression that the Chase Marriott Personal is subject to 5/24 BTW.

  • @AnonCHI – you are correct, Marriott personal is affected, I am editing original comment. Thanks.

    Hard to find a Sheraton that you (1) want to stay in, (2) has a lounge worth accessing, and (3) has a reasonable rate.

  • P T

    Stefan, Thanks for your analysis. I linked them and checked my SPG account. They seem to have a new category? Starwood Preferred Guest Plus. That is what I got matched to: late check-out and better room upon check-in. Meh.

    On the other front, I thought that the Marriott card had to be active to keep and use the free night cert. No? That’s great!

  • @PT – Starwood Preferred Guest Plus is what Amex SPG cardholders had.

    Marriott card just need the cert issued then can cancel. Now the certs are valid one year which helps finding the right use.