After an ominous tweet last week that got many bloggers worried it seems that United announced something that isn’t entirely bad news:
Marriott and United will announce today a partnership that will give their most loyal customers reciprocal VIP perks in their hotels and on flights.
The new “RewardsPlus” program, which begins today, will give Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite members, who spend 75 nights a year at Marriott hotels, Premier Silver status in United’s MileagePlus program, an elite tier on United. Conversely, those in United’s elite tiers above Silver—Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum and Premier Gold—will receive Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status, the second-highest tier in Marriott’s program that requires 50 night a year.
Travelers who link their accounts will have until Jan. 31, 2014, to use their benefits. As long as they keep their travel up and meet eligibility requirements for their particular tier on the original partner, Marriott and United will renew their reciprocal status each year.
It sounds like a great deal if you are elite in either program. On a personal level it is a good benefit for those in either program. On a greater scale though any time you add elites to a program that haven’t earned their perks you water down the prestige of that level. The same was said for when more and more credit card programs allowed people to buy their way to top-tier status (such as the Hilton HHonors Surpass AMEX).
As a newly minted Platinum with Marriott this does give me Star Alliance status after US Airways moves over to oneworld with American, but since I rarely fly United the biggest perk will be slightly better award choices when moving Chase UR points to United for redemption.