Marriott announced a new loyalty program — and Starwood hotel loyalists are sure to be relieved


A Marriott flag hangs at the entrance of the New York Marriott Downtown hotel in Manhattan, New York November 16, 2015.

Marriott International announced a set of unified benefits across the loyalty programs for its three major hotel brands — Marriott, Starwood, and Ritz Carlton.
Marriott acquired Starwood hotels in 2016, but has left Starwood’s beloved loyalty program (Starwood Preferred Guest) to operate independently.
While Starwood loyalists have mostly dreaded the changes, there was plenty of good news in the announcement.
The unified benefits will become effective in August. The three programs will continue to remain separate until they are rebranded in 2019.

Marriott International has announced a new, integrated set of benefits across the loyalty programs for its guests. This marks the first standardization of benefits between the Marriott Rewards program and Starwood Hotels’ Preferred Guest program — Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016. The changes will become effective in August.

While the programs will remain separate for now, rebranded single program will be introduced in 2019.

The Marriott–Starwood merger

When Marriott closed on its acquisition of Starwood, making it the world’s largest hotel company, questions among frequent travelers were quick to rise. Starwood has long had a somewhat unique culture among travelers, with a blend of chic, relaxed, professional, and sharp that inspired fierce loyalty to the company’s several brands of hotel, including the W, Sheraton, and Westin. Could Marriott, a much bigger chain, maintain that culture?

Just as important to many travelers — would Marriott maintain the exceptional value of Starwood’s Preferred Guest, or just SPG? Or would Marriott gut the loyalty program and its generous offerings?

Initially, Marriott chose to keep the two programs — and effectively, the two hotel brands — separate. You could only book Marriott hotels through Marriott, and Starwood hotels through Starwood. Similarly, you could only earn Marriott points and SPG points at the respective hotels.

However, Marriott provided the opportunity to link your Marriott Rewards and Starwood accounts, and swap points between …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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