New Marriott – Starwood Merger Updates!

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I have updates to share about the Marriott – Starwood merger!

Via Skift, Marriott President & CEO Arne Sorensen says he’s hopeful the deal will close “within a month or so.”  Marriott will then be the world’s largest hotel chain, with 5,700 hotels, ~30 brands, and 1.1 million rooms!

And he confirms the Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs will likely NOT be completely merged until 2018.  But he hints at “interim steps” in the process of combining the programs.

New Marriott Starwood Merger Updates

Marriott Hasn’t Yet Explained How the Merger Will Affect Your Starwood Points or Award Stays, but We Should Have Plenty of Warning About Changes

This is good news for folks who are worried about what will happen to their Starwood points when the merger is complete.

Don’t Rush to Spend Your Starwood Points…Yet

It’s reassuring to hear Marriott’s President & CEO say the Starwood and Marriott loyalty programs won’t fully merge until 2018:

What we’ve said so far is we don’t think we’ll have one program before 2018, but that doesn’t mean we’ll take interim steps between now and until then.  Stay tuned for that.

The way I interpret this is that combining the two loyalty programs will be a long-term process.  So we’ll likely get a heads-up about what will happen to our points and what new award charts will look like.

But we’ll see the actual merger close, according to the CEO, very soon!

We’re still optimistic we’ll close by mid year.  Until the final approvals are in hand we can’t count on everything.  The governments involved in the review process need to compete their process and make sure they feel good about how the transaction will perform longer term.  We’re optimistic about that.  Hoping to be closed fairly soon within the next month or so.

I’m hopeful but NOT overly optimistic that Marriott will keep the best parts of the Starwood program, like points transfer to airlines, 5th night free on award stays, Nights & Flights, and cash & points rates.

Remember, you can still earn 25,000 Starwood points from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express when you complete the minimum spending requirements.

And the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card still have terrific increased sign-up bonuses!  Here are my reviews of the personal and small business versions.

What’s your wish list for the combined Marriott – Starwood loyalty program?  Let me know in the comments!

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8 responses to “New Marriott – Starwood Merger Updates!

  1. Doesn’t Marriott already offer 5th night free on award stays itself?

  2. @Matthew yeah, Marriott already does that.

  3. So, we should apply for both SPG cards before 2018 then. Is there any history of much higher sign on bonuses between the 2 cards (personal & business) and would you expect to see an increased bonus anytime this year?

  4. With the merger of American Express Starwood and Chase Marriott Rewards Premier, which big bank will take little bank to be the provider of a merged loyalty program?

  5. @Tommy, the sign-up bonus did go to 35k SPG points a couple months ago but it was short-lived. I haven’t seen any hint that’s coming back.

  6. Both Hilton & SPG have 5th award night free, so I doubt Marriott will change that. But as a Hilton Diamond, & Marriott Gold, I have been on a
    a SPG challenge for PLAT, after 16 nights I’ve been completely disappointed with SPG. From run down A-LOFTS & horrible CS and A/C units @ Sheratons, to last weeks denied room with a reservation in Madison,WI. . Even the Westin in dowtown Chicago when paying for 3 ! rooms the
    assistant manager made faces of disgust while I was paying for the rooms. Why I chose to give up Hilton points and real comfort, I’m not sure, but I only hope is that Marriott will be better, or I’m staying with Hilton. More rooms, newer hotels, better service, more points ! Wake up SPG !!

  7. Wonder what will happen to SPG’s vaunted lifetime platinum (500+ stays / 10 years platinum) and Ambassador services. Marriott doesn’t have those.

  8. Will Marriott join the AMEX rewards points transfer like Starwood? Also will Marriott transfer point for point the Starwood points that Starwood members have accumulated?