Hotels (Reward Programs)

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Comparing Canadian and U.S. SPG American Express (updated August 29, 2018)

There have been quite a few changes since my last post Comparing Canadian and U.S. SPG American Express; namely the merger between Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. As a result, this post is definitely due for a major update.

One major change is that 1 Starpoint (in my previous post) is now worth 3 Marriott points. So we need to factor in this correlation if comparing to the old versions of the cards. However, for today’s post, I will focus on comparing the Canadian and U.S. version as they are currently, rather than worrying about the past.


Marriott Merger Details – Effective August 18, 2018

Marriott announced more details of the merger with Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. According to my sources, the official effective date is now August 18, 2018. Initially Marriott just said in August 2018, without a specific day.

Either way, below are some of the expected changes to watch for. 


First Glimpse of New Marriott/SPG Reward Redemption Schedule

All the news seem to come out at once. We started this morning with the American Express Canada Press Release, which had a lot of confusion on whether the new earning ratios are in fact a devaluation. Now Marriott issued their own Press Release explaining some of the changes to their reward redemption schedule.

Below is a list of key changes.


Marriott 15 Reward Night Credits Coming Through

It is official, at least for me, Chase Canada has fully honoured what they promised when the closed its Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa. Here is a chronology is what has been happening:

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Discontinued (existing cardholders grandfathered)
All grandfathered cardholders terminated (with promise of Free Night Certificate and 15 Reward Night Credits)
Free Night Certificate Awarded
15 Reward Night Credits Awarded (see below)

Earn 250 SPG Points for Checking-in on Mobile App

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) has added a check-in feature on its mobile App. In celebration of this launch, they are running a bonus points promotion until June 15, 2018. All SPG members can receive 250 bonus points for checking-in using the SPG mobile app across all 7 SPG brands (St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio and Four Points). There is no limit on the number of bonus points that you can earn. Starpoints will be deposited within a few weeks of the promotion ending.

IHG’s Pointsbreak Released (April 30, 2018 – July 31, 2018)

IHG has released its latest Pointsbreak program, which runs from April 30, 2018 – July 31, 2018. This is the second time that IHG released its new version of Pointsbreak. In the past, all hotels on the list can be redeemed for 5,000 points per night. However, they revamped their list to include discounts of down to 10,000 or 15,000 points per night as well.


Marriott Rewards Free Night Certificate Coming Through

Check your Marriott Rewards account. The much anticipated “Rewards Certificate MR VISA CA ANNIV FREE NGT CAT 5” due to the termination of the Chase Marriott credit cards should be coming through today. 
It should look something like this when it shows up on your account:

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Marriott International Announces One Set of Benefits

Marriott International announced, today, that it will introduce one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest for its members that will come into effect in August 2018.

Personally, I am very excited by what they have to offer. I think that they found a way to merge many of the good aspects of all 3 programs. It’s not perfect, but it does offer a lot of value.

Marriott Rewards 2018 Category Changes

Marriott is making quite a few hotel category changes this year. There are 1,083 hotels increasing in categories and 248 hotels dropping. The new changes come into effect on March 6, 2018.

In Canada, there are 46 hotels increasing and 17 decreasing. If you are planning any upcoming trips, you will want to take a closer look at which hotels are being affected to help determine when to make your reservation, whether before or after March 6, 2018.