The union of Marriott and Starwood's loyalty programs last week could have gone far worse based on mergers past. But it also could have gone better.
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The Skift Business of Loyalty covers the world of hotel, airline, and other consumer loyalty programs in the travel industry. Read more coverage of loyalty here.
It was a tense week for some members of Marriott and Starwood’s loyalty programs. On August 18, both systems went down for scheduled maintenance to begin the cutover to a new unified system run by Marriott. When everyone got back to work the following Monday, that system was only partially running.
Points hoarders (and anyone who happened to want to make an award reservation) panicked. Many didn’t see the points that they had spent years accumulating reported correctly, or their elite status in the right tier. More than a few wires were apparently crossed.
Marriott’s defense, of course, is that merging over 70 million accounts and tens of thousands of hotels onto one platform isn’t a walk in the park. And by the end of the week, it had most systems online and reporting correctly.
Lessons learned? It’s never easy merging two loyalty program bodies together, regardless of how much prep time you put in. And if your account status doesn’t report properly on your first attempt logging in, have a beer and come back tomorrow.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
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Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.
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Photo credit: The logo for the W Hotel, once a Starwood property and now part of the Marriott network, is seen in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Mark Lennihan / Associated Press