United and Marriott Team Up to Launch RewardsPlus Partnership

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Following in the footsteps of the Crossover Rewards partnership between Delta and Starwood, United just launched a similar program called RewardsPlus which will provide reciprocal benefits with Marriott. To participate, you can register at either the Marriott Registration Page or United Registration page.

United and Marriott's RewardsPlus partnership.
United and Marriott’s RewardsPlus partnership.

RewardsPlus will offer Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite and Platinum Premier Elite will receive complimentary MileagePlus Premier Silver status. On the flip side, it also gives United Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum and Premier Gold members all of the benefits of Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status. The status offerings will be effective until January 31, 2014.

Yet more benefits will come into affect in August, when Marriott Rewards and MileagePlus members will receive added value when transferring points into miles and will get additional miles for travel packages. Also, for the first time, MileagePlus Premier members will be able to convert their miles into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio, up to 50,000 miles per year.

United's sign up page for RewardsPlus.
United’s sign up page for RewardsPlus.

“We share United’s belief that a high level of customer service and recognition are among the most important elements of our members’ travel,” said Ed French, senior vice president, Marriott Rewards, in the official press release on Monday.  “We are bringing together the world’s leading hotel and airline loyalty programs to enhance the customer experience from beginning to end.”

MileagePlus members receive:

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status in Marriott Rewards (open to MileagePlus Premier Gold members and above, registration required)
  • All MileagePlus Premier members can convert their MileagePlus miles into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio, up to 50,000 miles per year.
  • Convert Marriott Rewards points to MileagePlus miles at a 20% discount.
  • Receive 10% more MileagePlus miles when you book the trip of a lifetime and redeem for a Marriott Rewards Travel Package–up to 12,000 more miles

Marriott Rewards members receive:

  • Complimentary Premier Silver status in MileagePlus for Platinum Elite members and above (registration required)
  • 20% discount when converting Marriott Rewards points MileagePlus miles (open to all members, registration not required)
  • 10% more MileagePlus miles when redeeming Marriott Rewards points for flight and hotel Travel Packages (open to all members, registration not required)

My thoughts:

I have United Platinum (from a status match), so I suppose I’ll get the Marriott Gold, but that status doesn’t really do much for me. I do not think converting United miles (arguably the most valuable overall currency) into Marriott at 1:1 is a good deal. Now if they allowed Marriott to United at 1:1 that would be a different story, but that isn’t happening. Currently Marriott members can convert 10,000 points into 2,000 miles, so under the new rules you’d get 2,000 miles for 8,000 Marriott points, which isn’t terrible though I generally use my hotel points for hotel stays.

The United Silver for Marriott Platinum is the most valuable benefit benefit here, since United Silver gets complimentary upgrades, 25% mileage bonus and some other perks like better customer service (though over the past two years United has really trimmed back Silver benefits, like the ability to book Economy Plus at booking – now you need to wait until 24 hours before your flight).

Still, it is interesting to see hotels and airlines team up to drive their best customers towards each other. So far it seems that credit card issuer may be a common denominator. Delta and Starwood (both have credit cards issued by American Express) and United and Marriott (both have credit cards issued by Chase) – so who is next? Hyatt and Southwest (Chase) or Avianca and Club Carlson (US Bank)?

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