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Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest: "Hold my beer"
There’s a lot riding on the merged loyalty program that Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are cooking up for later this year. Many Starwood loyalists were ready to jump ship as soon as word came that their credit card or point transfer partners were disappearing. And everyone on both sides was concerned about the value or utility of points dropping.
Amazingly, Marriott seems to have put together a combined program that doesn’t send anyone running for the hills. Announced this week and covered in depth by Skift’s Deanna Ting, the new program gives legacy brand autonomy to SPG and Rewards customers while pooling searchable hotels and point balances into one, combined pot. Critically, all of the perks on both sides of the table (including point transfer partners and credit card deals) have also been kept in place for the diehard loyalists. Marriott even took it a step further and relaunched its experiences portal.
This news is a big deal for both consumers and Marriott’s competitive stance in the industry. By keeping most facets of the programs in place, Marriott can hold on to valuable business travelers from both sides of the merger while competing chains like Hyatt and Hilton can look forward to fewer defections. Is it possible that the other shoe will never drop?
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
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Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [email@example.com] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.
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Photo credit: Marriott and Starwood made good on a promise to merge loyalty programs. The Marriott in Beijing is pictured. Bernhard Wintersperger / Flickr