The new rules will make it harder for some customers to qualify for the highest levels of elite status, and the program’s new co-branded American Express cards will not be as lucrative for many people who like transferring hotel points into airline frequent flier programs. But Marriott’s new Chase Visa will prove more generous for many cardholders than the current one. Meanwhile, everyone in the program gets access to 6,500 hotels, greatly increasing the number of places to both earn points and redeem them.
According to David Flueck, senior vice president of global loyalty for Marriott, hotel guests will earn about 20 percent more points than they did previously.
Marriott, which completed its acquisition of Starwood in September 2016, is moving to three-tier pricing in points for free rooms — a standard price and then peak and off-peak rates coming next year. Within that kind of plan, there is a lot of room for Marriott to improve its own economics at the expense of frequent customers.
Loyalty brings perks in addition to points, but companies don’t want to make it too easy to earn them. Starwood members used to be able to qualify for platinum status after just 25 stays. Now, you’ll need to rack up 50 nights. The company will allow people to qualify under either the old rules or the new ones this year.
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