Marriott CEO Sorensen’s Thoughts About SPG Members? Rabid!

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Seems that the Marriott CEO Mr. Sorensen doesn’t think too highly about the SPG program members based on his thoughts publicly shared on recent forum in the New York City.

Marriott CEO SPG Members Too Rabid

Mr. Sorensen described SPG members as “rabid”. Quick look at the thesaurus gives such a synonyms as angry and maniacal that correctly describes the feelings of many SPG members when Marriott took over the company (and in their thoughts will eventually destroy the program).

Here’s an excerpt from HotelNewsNow (access the piece here):

5. Starwood integration progressing, albeit slowly

Sorenson was quick to describe the effort to absorb Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide as “a huge amount of work,” while also noting it’s gone fabulously well.

He said one thing that caught him off guard about the acquisition and transition has been how deep the devotion ran for Starwood Preferred Guest loyalists.

“Early on, the thing I didn’t appreciate that I should have was how rabid the SPG elites were about the program,” he said. “Maybe that shouldn’t have been that surprising.”

I have written about the enthusiasm gap between the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program many times in the past.

Try finding a person that has strong feelings about Marriott Rewards. It is a solid albeit dull program that has been running on an autopilot for the better part of the 21st century.

Then survey some SPG elite members and what is their perception. Difference is like a night and day. They really feel (rightly or wrongly) far more attached to the program. SPG marketing has also been light years ahead of Marriott’s.


Perhaps Mr. Sorensen could have chosen some other word to describe his feelings towards SPG members?

Marriott Rewards really should spice up their marketing and communication efforts to make it modern (website update wouldn’t hurt either).

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  • Gcs2006

    This guy will piss off tons of SPG lifers like myself to start looking elsewhere. Just holding on now one more year, but expecting to start looking at Hyatt or another program as Marriot will surely ruin it

    • rdrago43

      @disqus_YcTm344b2l:disqus – you’ll be profoundly disappointed with Hyatt’s program. It makes the Marriott program look good…

    • ElToro

      I don’t think MR is as bad as some describe it. I have had plenty of good experiences, although they are more reluctant than others to hand out substantial upgrades, it seems. It is a bit dull, yes, but MR gold is a good addition to any stay.

      • Richard

        I agree with ElToro, Marriott Gold is far superior to SPG gold! I have both, and SPG gold does little to nothing overseas, whereas Marriott gold gets me bkfst and lounge and upgrades

        • Marriott Gold is requires fifty nights (outside of promotions) that is pretty high requirement.

    • Angela Wong

      Please do that. Give up your status and go with Hyatt etc.

  • William Carswell

    Maybe if it wasn’t an ordeal to sign up for a Marriott promotion because you’re wrongly told you’re ineligible….

  • An unfortunate choice of words to be sure. As an SPG Platinum 75er I guess I am now entitled to a free quarantine period of 10 nights at each property?

    On a more serious note I have found, since the takeover, that my experiences as a status-matched Marriott Platinum are not as good as when I choose an equivalent Starwood property – certainly in the Middle East and US, I have yet to find a Marriott property worth trying in our SE Asia destinations.

    • Angela Wong

      Wonder if the Marriott hotels can see that u were on MATCHED status, that’s why you were treated “not as good”? 🙂

    • I would say that in general SPG properties have taken better care of their Platinum members than Marriott theirs.

  • Kurt

    If I was the CEO, that would tell me to fire all of the people who run the Marriot Rewards program and put the people who run SPG Rewards program in charge.

    • Too late. At least in Europe, all of the SPG people I know have left – and there were some exceptionally good, visionary people among them.

      If you were hoping that the new scheme would be ‘more SPG, less MR’ then I think you’ll be wrong.

      I can’t believe Sorenson did not work this out though. Go to any SPG event and the enthusiasm of the heavy stayers was always very clear.

  • Clive Field

    I’m foaming at the mouth 🙂

  • Disgusted not rabid

    If you think “rabid” is bad, maybe you should be editing Sebastian’s posts where he singles out Chinese people and labels them “disgusting”. I for one am not a fan of Chinese tourists myself but to publicly call them disgusting is disgusting. Sure, freedom of speech should be alive and well but that kind of talk is hate speech right there!

    • BenniHK

      We are free to say something disgusting if they are really disgusting. Disgusting is disgusting just like Briexit is Briexit. Stop being hypocritic.

      • Haitao Sun

        How is that hypocritical? Sebastian used one single word to label 1.4 billion people, that was just wrong. Are some Chinese tourists doing disgusting things? Yes, they are, and I am also appalled by those incidents, being Chinese native myself. But in 2016, 122 million Chinese traveled aboard, not counting the millions Chinese travelers residing in foreign countries, are all of them disgusting? Are you sure people from your country did not do something similar? Just because someone is from certain country, you automatically put a label on them is wrong. Just because a tiny part of a group did something, you automatically assume all of them are like that is wrong. (Or rather, disgusting)
        You are free to say whatever you like, but stupidity is stupidity, and racism is racism.

  • Warren Bennett

    My personal opinion: Arne Sorensen is a brilliant man, who will lead Marriott to new levels of greatness (although, I dread to think what will happen to Marriott when JW Marriott, Jr. finally retires). As a longtime Marriott Rewards elite member (dating back to the first month of Marriott’s then “Honored Guest Awards” program”), and a Starwood Preferred Guest elite member, I prefer the SPG PROGRAM a million times more than the Marriott Rewards program. One of the most coveted aspects of the SPG program, to me, has been the availability of rooms, with no capacity controls, and none of this two tier nonsense for room redemption (e.g. MR Stay Anytime) using MR points. I pray that Marriott does not “Marriottize” the Starwood Preferred Guest program. ON THE OTHER HAND, I believe Marriott is a company with a soul (unlike Starwood), and I believe that there is a genuine, caring “culture” at Marriott, that does not exist at Starwood. I do, however, believe that the folks at Marriott need to have their head’s examined, to assert that hotels the like of “W,” and “JW Marriott” are “luxury Marriott brands,” In my opinion, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis are “luxury brands,” that do not compare with the lower level, non-luxury “W” and “JW Marriott” brands.

    • Marriott Rewards has long played games with the award availability and and “no black out dates”.

      The latter only means that there are no company wide blackout dates while there could be months for individual properties.

      Also, as you pointed out, Marriott standard awards don’t need to be available when standard rooms are available for sale. This really is Achilles heel of their program.

  • Neal

    I really hope that was a bad choice of words from the un-cool CEO of Marriott. He has put the person from SPG in charge of developing the new combined loyalty program, so that is one positive. But in the end, I’m guessing Marriott just won’t be able to help themselves and their boring executive team will water down the ideas for the combined program to something lame for customers, but good for the shareholders/Mormon Church.