This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Mark your calendars for August 18! That’s the date Marriott’s new combined loyalty program will launch, and when you’ll finally be able to book award stays at the new redemption rates.

To recap, here’s what’s changing when Marriott flips the switch:

While benefits will be identical, customers can choose to maintain either an SPG, Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton account — for now. If you choose SPG, you’ll be issued a new nine-digit number, while Marriott or Ritz members will either keep the number they’re currently assigned, or be issued a new one if necessary — Marriott and Ritz members will receive an email or phone call with a new number, should one need to be assigned.

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami.
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami, Florida. (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami)

Regardless of which program you choose to maintain for the rest of the year, you’ll be migrated to the new combined loyalty program in 2019 — if you already have a Marriott account today, I’d pick that one, since there’s a much better chance you’ll be able to hang on to your existing account number. Your password should remain the same regardless of which account you select.

Marriott chose to launch the new program on a Saturday to minimize the impact on customers — the entire chain’s websites and apps will be down at times, while award redemptions will be unavailable for much of the day. While even paid reservations will occasionally be unavailable, it should be possible to make a credit card booking later in the day. If you anticipate needing to book on the 18th, be sure to make your reservation at least a day in advance.

Marriott will make exceptions for customers inconvenienced by the downtime, however — for example, if the reservations system is unavailable leading up to a booking cancellation deadline, you should be able to have a change or cancellation fee waived as long as you contact Marriott once the system is back up and running. Still, I’d plan to make changes before the 18th, if at all possible.

Additionally, since elite-qualifying nights will be combined on the 18th, many members will have their accounts bumped up to a higher tier. If you happen to reach a new elite level during a stay as a result, your new benefits should be available after the 18th — just be sure to ask the front desk to update your reservation, and add benefits like free breakfast, lounge access and upgrades, if available.

For more on what to expect from the program merger, see:

Feature image courtesy of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. 

Starwood Points are the most valuable points currency out there.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74%-26.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.