Marriott & Starwood Emails To Loyalty Program Mergers Concerning The Merger

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Marriott and Starwood shareholders approved the Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood yesterday on separate shareholders vote (read more here).

Marriott SPG

Few hours later, both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest sent out emails to their loyalty program members trying to explain what is going on.

You can access Starwood’s web page about the merger here and Marriott’s one here.

Here’s the email that Starwood sent out:

SPG 1SPG 2

Nearly five months ago we shared the news that Starwood Hotels & Resorts is joining with Marriott International to create the world’s biggest and best hotel company — with 5,500 hotels and resorts in more than 100 countries. Today we’re pleased to announce that the shareholders of each company have approved the merger.

Since the original announcement, our members have asked many questions about the future of Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®). Soon we will begin the long journey to integrate the very best of SPG and Marriott Rewards®. Through this process, your perspective will help guide these discussions as we consider the following:

  • How do we continue to deliver the unique experiences, benefits and rewards you’ve come to expect both in and out of our hotels and resorts?
  • How do we take full advantage of the extraordinary new range of hotels, resorts and destinations that will be the hallmark of a combined Starwood and Marriott to add new recognition and benefits for you?
  • How do we protect the value of your currency and status, whether your Starpoints® balance, lifetime status or membership level?

Getting answers to these complicated, important questions will take time. In fact, we don’t anticipate launching a newly combined program until 2018. This means SPG will continue to run separately until then. In the meantime, we’re actively exploring ways to build bridges between the two programs to further enhance your experience.

In addition, we are not standing still: Among other things, we’re bringing you new access to one-of-a-kind hotels from Tribute Portfolio™ and Design Hotels™, plus exciting new SPG MomentsSM experiences through our unique partnerships with Major League Baseball®, Mercedes AMG Petronas and more.

Know that we’re listening to your feedback, and we value your input. Our merger is on track to close midyear, and as we have more news to share, we will reach out to you. You can also find the latest updates at spg.com/updatesand via Twitter (@spg). Our members are at the core of everything we do, and that will not change. We remain at your service wherever you need us — in our hotels, at spg.com, on the SPG apps or via our Customer Contact Centers.

Here’s the email that Marriott sent out:

Marriott 1Marriott 2

We’re excited to announce that we’ve secured shareholder approval forMarriott International to join together with Starwood Hotels & Resorts—a significant milestone towards creating the world’s largest lodging company and strongest loyalty program in the industry. Since we announced our plans to merge with Starwood, you’ve raised questions about the impact of the merger on your membership and the Marriott Rewards® program. I want to take this opportunity to provide an update on where we stand.

Serving our valued guests has always been our priority at Marriott, and your feedback is important to us as we collaborate with Starwood on the vision for our loyalty programs.

After we become one company, we expect to run parallel loyalty programs while we engage in the complicated work of integration. During this period, there is no change to how you manage your Marriott Rewards account or book reservations, and you will maintain your existing member benefits for some time.

The good news is that we have many possibilities ahead of us becauseMarriott and Starwood both have great loyalty programs. We intend to draw upon the very best of both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest®(SPG®) to provide even more value to our members.

Here are just a few of the future opportunities we’re excited about:

  • Giving our members access to our collective portfolio of 5,500 hotels and resorts in more than 100 countries.
  • Offering even more unique benefits to help members pursue their passions and greater opportunities for exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
  • Personalized and relevant service before, during and after the hotel stay.

In the meantime, we’re actively exploring ways to build bridges between the two programs to further enhance your experience.

Marriott remains committed to evolving our Marriott Rewards member benefits. Our recent announcement of Marriott Rewards Member Rates is the latest way we’re showing our loyalty to our members. These new rates are exclusively designed to reward members with the lowest rates available across our portfolio when booking directly on Marriott.com, our easy-to-use app, our call centers or through select corporate travel professionals.

We are grateful for your loyalty, and we are listening to you and taking your input into consideration. Our merger is on track to close midyear, and as we have more news to share, we’ll reach out to you. In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with the exceptional service and travel experience you have come to expect from us at Marriott. You can find the latest updates on Marriott.com and via Twitter (@marriottrewards), and as always, reach out to us through our hotels, at our website, in our Marriott Rewards Insiders community, on the Marriott app or via our call centers.

Thank you for your continued loyalty, and happy traveling!

Conclusion

I’ll hope for the best but expect the absolutely the worst outcome from this merger for loyalty program members. Has there ever been merger between companies that would have anyway shape or form benefited the members? Cannot think of any.

The good new is that the SPG will stay on its current form at least until the beginning of 2018, as I have expected. The merger won’t close before sometime this summer and it will take quite some time for the merged company to work the details out and the loyalty program combination is not the most urgent task.

When the world “evolve” is used, it tends to mean significant benefit reduction….

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