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Marriott and Starwood are launching a double points promotion next year across their loyalty programs.
For the first three stays in most respective Marriott and Starwood properties, members of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest will earn the bonuses. After the fourth stay, additional bonuses will unfold.
The promotion starts on January 16 and runs through April 15, though members can sign up now. Ritz-Carlton’s Reward program is also participating in the promotion.
Though Marriott and Starwood don’t plan to merge loyalty programs into 2018, the hotel operators appear to be taking extra steps to ensure that business travelers don’t fall to the temptations of other hotel chains. After the merger was approved last year, members of both Marriott Rewards and Preferred Guest expressed concern about whether benefits would be diluted — especially within Starwood’s program, which has a cult following among business travelers. And though Marriott’s CEO Arne Sorenson has repeatedly promised both cohorts that no ill will come from the merger, that hasn’t stopped many travelers from shopping around their loyalty.
Perhaps sensing that, though 2016 many competing operators launched status match and other incentive programs to poach defectors away from Marriott and Starwood. Both Hyatt and Hilton ran campaigns last year (though Hyatt may be subject to its own upcoming defections) while Wyndham haphazardly stepped up its own efforts.
As loyalty program members continue to be picked off, Marriott and Starwood may now be feeling pressure to protect their own ranks. Of note, last year’s first-quarter promotion from Starwood offered double points for travelers only staying two more more nights. By widening the net in this year’s promotion, Marriott and Starwood appear to be making a stronger incentive for more of their loyal customers to stick around.