There has been all manner of well-meaning advice on how to navigate the upcoming combination of the Marriott Rewards and SPG loyalty programs. Things like
- When to combine your accounts, especially important if you are working toward LT status in MR
- Strategies for coming up with extra LT night or LT points
- Speculative buying of travel packages to work the arbitrage of the conversion from certs back to points (or whatever happens to floater certificates).
- Whether to upgrade to the MR Visa (or to cancel and then reapply)
- How to deal with potential changes to Rewarding Events that could make it harder to earn elite night credits
One thing we should all remember is that almost every suggestion or tidbit of advice presented since the changes were announced are based on our interpretations of the official guidance from Marriott. Some of the wording has been vague, and at least so far, there has been almost no clarification from HQ, leaving us to muddle through the actual text to try to decipher it.
None of us really know what will happen when we combine our SPG and MR accounts. We've speculated that doing so would immediately move us into the new LT criteria (X years and Y LT nights) and derail anyone still trying to earn LT status under the legacy requirements (X LT points and Y LT nights). In reality, we don't know if this is true or not. Because we don't know, the general advice is to delay combining accounts as long as possible (first do no harm).
Likewise we don't know how Rewarding Events will be structured in the new program. For details, check out https://insiders.marriott.com /message/254307?commentID=254307&et=watches.email.thread#comment-254285.
Nor do we know for certain what will happen to unused certificates not attached to an existing reservation (see Floater Certificates? ). Some folks are buying them now more as a speculative investment than with actual planned uses. Caveat emptor.
The point is, until we get into the new program, there is a lot we don't know. It seems the best advice today is to take advantage of perks and benefits we think are going away and try to position yourself to get the most out of the combined program. This community has done a pretty good job of trying to help folks navigate through the upcoming changes. Unfortunately, the advice is based on our interpretations. Even the Marriott customer service folks have been providing sometimes conflicting information. In the end, it's not what they think nor what we think, but how Marriott decides to implement their vague guidance. Buckle up, it's could be a bumpy ride.
Thoughts, suggestions, and even more advice welcome.