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Here’s an update about the upcoming Marriott-Starwood merger!
But this doesn’t mean there will be any major changes to the programs just yet!
I’ve said your Starwood points are safe through 2017. And I recently met in person with a Starwood executive who confirmed there will be no near-term changes to either loyalty program.
I’ll explain what’s going on!
What Does Linking Your Marriott & Starwood Accounts Mean?
The photo of an update to the Marriott mobile app above shows you’ll soon be able to link your Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood accounts. This update is likely so folks can see the 3 hotel chains are now part of 1 company.
It’s expected there will be many changes following the merger. But nothing major is planned immediately.
Marriott’s CEO has publicly stated there will not be a combined loyalty program until at least 2018. It would be terrific if Marriott left the Starwood program as-is for the long-term, but that isn’t likely to happen.
I suspect the new mobile app indicates you’ll be able to make hotel reservations at any Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood hotels using 1 app or website. And when and if the loyalty programs eventually merge, your Starwood points will likely be converted to Marriott points to book award nights at any Marriott or Starwood hotel.
Starwood hotels might also get categorized within Marriott’s category system. So there’s 1 award chart for Marriott and Starwood hotels.
It’s also possible that Marriott could change some of the perks of the Starwood program. For example, for how long will we be able to transfer Starwood points to airline partners?
In the short-term, I’m hopeful there could be some positive changes. Perhaps folks with elite status at Marriott or Starwood can get extra perks when they stay at either hotel chain like bonus points or free breakfast.
What to Do With Your Starwood Points?
If you’d like to use your Starwood points before any major changes take place, here’s how to get Big Travel with Small Money using Starwood points for hotel stays, flights, and travel packages.
And if you need more points, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express offers a 25,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.
Again, I do think your Starwood points will be safe through the end of 2017. But this is certainly an interesting new development!