marriott merger

Hotel loyalties run deep. At least they should if you travel and take advantage of reward opportunities. The recent acquisition of Starwood properties by Marriott is exciting news for patrons of either brand! The merger creates the world’s largest hotel company with over 5,700 properties.

Combining the two hotel brands expands the Marriott enterprise to 30 different hotel brands. Popular Marriott high end properties include Ritz Carleton, The Autograph Collection, and the JW Marriott. More affordable brands include The Residence Inn, The Fairfield Inn and The Courtyard. These properties, along with 13 other Marriott brands, now combine with the 11 Starwood brands. Those include Westin, W, Sheraton…just to name a few.

 What does this mean for the consumer? Well, for starters the loyalty programs are combining. You are now able to stay at any of the 30 brands and earn Marriott points. Also, your status with either company is matched. For example, if you have Platinum status with Marriott Rewards, you are now at that status level as a Starwood Preferred Guest. Additionally, you can spend your points interchangeably between different brands.

Marriott just launched a new website to help loyalty members combine their statuses and find out more information about their new benefits. Follow the option (towards the bottom of the homepage) to “link your accounts” and instantly begin collecting combined reward points.

Another great feature of the website allows members to view their reward status perks at the “other” brand. We were thrilled to see that Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) offers a late check out of 4PM at our status level. Whoa!

As part of the mega-merger celebration, Marriott released some fun data regarding travel habits. One of the more interesting poll questions found that 27% of travelers enjoy trying “adventurous, local food.” While we always attempt eating local, I’m not sure our pallet includes whatever they are defining as “adventurous.” Additionally, they found that people prefer beach travel (71%) to mountain travel (29%) when planning vacations.

As a long-time Marriott Rewards member (with deep loyalties), I am extremely excited to visit some of the Starwood properties. If I had to pick out one today to try out, I’d be headed to The Grosvenor House in Dubai. It’s obviously not on my travel itinerary this year…but a girl can dream!

How gorgeous is this hotel?

How gorgeous is this hotel?

If you could visit one Marriott or Starwood property next week, which one would you pick?

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