The New Marriott Program Is Up: Awards Bookable, But Issues Remain
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Saturday was the day that Marriott, Starwood and Ritz loyalists circled on their calendars: the date when all three programs would be merged into one. Points from each program would be combined into one yet-to-be-named points currency, new elite statuses would be assigned and new award rates would arrive across the portfolio.
Here at TPG headquarters, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the all-clear from Marriott ever since the merger process started around 10pm Eastern on Friday night, with Starwood’s website being the first to go offline. While there were times on Saturday that the system was online and displaying the new award rates, IT issues continued to plague the websites of both programs all day Saturday.
But just after 1 am Eastern on Sunday morning, the Marriott website status page was updated from its previous warnings about its systems being down for the program merger to instead read…
“Systems Online: Reservations, member accounts, and other major systems functionality are online at this time.”
So does this mean everyone has a green light and can start booking awards? Not quite. Based on our testing, here’s where things stand at this time…
Are reservations, member accounts, and other major systems functionality online at this time?
Yes, the systems are online. But, we’re seeing some issues.
Oh boy. What’s wrong?
Points and profiles from the two separate programs are not combined. For example, when TPG Senior Editor Julian Kheel first logged into his Marriott Rewards account, he was listed as a Platinum Elite with 93 points and 2 nights this year:
…when he should be a Gold Elite with roughly 270,000 points and 11 nights:
Similarly, when I logged into my own SPG account, only 1,050 Marriott points showed up in my point balance, not the 488,000+ that should be in there. Also, the tracker showed zero nights stayed this year, which is 100% less than the actual nights I’ve stayed at Marriott and Starwood properties this year:
Can I combine my Marriott and SPG accounts?
Apparently not yet. While you’ll need to combine accounts to unify your points and elite status, the pages on both the Marriott and SPG sides of the equation right now only show that the feature is “coming soon.” Presumably, that means Sunday or Monday at the latest, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Any steps I should take now?
If you’re anxious to start booking the new award chart sweet spots and you have enough points in one account or the other, you can separately access your Marriott and SPG accounts by using the login info for each. First, sign out of all your accounts. Then, rather than signing right back in, click the “Clear remembered user” option.
If you’re trying to access your stash of Starwood points, you’ll want to log back into the system using your Starwood login information. At this point, you’ll be prompted to switch to a new member number:
Enter your Starwood account password, click “Sign In” and you should get access to your Starpoints, which have now been tripled in the new Marriott currency:
What about award bookings?
Those seem to be online now. For example, I’m able to find award availability via the Marriott website for TPG Editor-at-Large Zach Honig’s least favorite Maldives property, the Sheraton Maldives. Note that while you’ll find all 29 brands combined into one search engine, to complete the booking process at an SPG hotel, Marriott bumps you over to SPG’s website.
We’ve confirmed that award nights through the Marriott website appear to be bookable — we completed a cancellable booking to be sure the process worked all the way to the end.
What should I do if I see an issue?
Marriott’s status page directs visitors to submit issues through its Contact Us form, selecting “Marriott.com support” as your topic. However, we’d recommend holding off on doing so for the moment, as there seems to be numerous issues that the joint Marriott team will still be working through over the next few days.
We’ll continue to update all our coverage of the new Marriott program throughout the weekend and into next week as more of the integration goes live. You can also watch the answers to some of the most common questions about the new Marriott program from TPG‘s Senior Points & Miles Editors, and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information.
Featured image by Shutterstock.com.