The previously-announced merging of Marriott International’s three loyalty programs will take place on August 18. Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, for the first time since the company acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, will unite under the same system of points and benefits.
Points from the different programs will merge into one unified balance, with Starpoints being tripled. The company advised customers to look at its Free Night Award Chart to determine whether to redeem now or later. According to Marriott, 31 percent of properties will move to more expensive higher redemption rate while 52 percent will switch to a lower rate.
Marriott warned that as the merge occurs its services will go offline and customers will be unable to use the rewards services until later that day. The planned outage will begin early in the morning on the East Coast and will affect sites and apps. During this period there will be times where no one can book and others when users can only do so using a credit card. Members will be unable to use their benefits for these reservations.
On August 18 Marriott will introduce a new SPG app to mirror the functionality of the Marriott Rewards app. SPG members will receive their new nine-digit account number through a pop-up when they log into their account. Some Marriott Rewards members will also receive an email or a call informing them of a new account number.
Marriott International’s loyalty programs serve around 110 million members. After August 18 each program will provide the same benefits and use the same currency. Members from any program will be able to use their benefits for any of the others’ properties. Marriott expects the change to result in average members earning 20 percent more points per dollar, with most bookings receiving 10 points per dollar spent.
This story originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.