United and Marriott Announce New Partnership: RewardsPlus

United has finally revealed what the changes were from their cryptic tweet last week, and it is a hotel partnership similar to the Delta and SPG Crossover Rewards.

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Here are the details of the benefits that are coming from this partnership:

  • Status Match for United Elite members: Premier Gold, Platinum, 1k and Global Services can match to Marriott Gold until January 31, 2014.

Gold status gives (50 nights/year to requalify):

guaranteed lounge access and free breakfast  at JW Marriott®, Renaissance Hotels®, Marriott® Hotels and Autograph Collection® Hotels (resorts are excluded), room upgrades (available on a space-available basis), complimentary high-speed internet access at more than 3,700 hotels globally, a 25 percent point bonus on all Marriott stays, priority late check-out (when available) and Gold Elite customized offers and awards.

  • Status Match for Marriott Platinum members to United Premier Silver:

Premier Silver gives:

complimentary access to Economy Plus® seating at check-in (when available), complimentary Premier Upgrades on domestic flights (when available), Premier Access travel services (which include designated ticket counter check-in lines, priority security lines and priority boarding and baggage handling), one complimentary standard checked bag and 25 percent Premier bonus award miles on United flights.

  • Conversion options: 20% discount on direct transfers of Marriott Points to United, 10% bonus on miles when redeeming Marriott travel (air + hotel) packages:

The conversion ratio starts at 10k points to 2k miles and ends up at 140k points to 50k miles, so that means a twenty percent discount would bring the ratio down to just over 2:1 if you are converting into 50k UA miles. If you are also converting into 10k or 25k miles, that means the ratio will be around 2.4 instead of the current 3:1. These are the amounts you can currently convert at and you  can take 20% off the Marriott points required to convert to United miles.

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I think it’s incredibly difficult to accumulate enough Marriott points unless you are a road warrior and practically live in Marriott hotels so if you want to read more about those packages you can do so at this link here. Packages start at 200,000 points and go up from there, but essentially how I see it is that you are redeeming your Marriott points at a regular price, and the rest of your Marriott points essentially convert at a 1:1 ratio.

What do I think?

Bleh. I guess it’s maybe because all I see is a big giant status match and I don’t find Marriott Gold very rewarding (and definitely it’s not something I would be able to requalify for). I’m not so sure what’s so “plus” about this partnership. At least with Delta/SPG Crossover Rewards, you can earn with both programs. What I feel is that this is just a nice name for a gigantic status match.

I don’t honestly think the conversion from MileagePlus to Marriott is going to be used very often (and only 1:1 ratio available to Gold or higher, hilarious!). Neither are the improvements to nights+flights packages and direct Marriott transfer to United miles a significant improvement so that the volume and number of such transactions are actually going to increase.

I would think that a partnership is supposed increase the customer base and their revenue with each company, and this fancy branding which is essentially a huge status-match will be very conducive especially given you can “buy” Marriott Status if you apply for the Ritz Carlton (USA) credit card. If you really want status, you can just get a “taste of gold” status challenge directly with Marriott, which at least Crossover Rewards does better. It’s definitely not a bad thing, but as a lot of FTers are saying it’s probably a more financially prudent decision to just improve their product rather than negotiate new partnerships.

At least it’s not a devaluation…

If you are United Premier Gold, Platinum, or 1k, you can match to Marriott Gold here.

If you are Marriott Platinum, you can status match to United Premier Silver here.

What do you think about the partnership?

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