Marriott moves to integrate Starwood’s loyalty programme
Marriott International, which became the world’s largest hotel operator with its US$14 billion purchase of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, is moving to combine the companies’ frequent-guest programmes as it integrates 10 new brands into its stable of 17 chains.
Members of Starwood’s loyalty programme will have the same status in Marriott’s and customers who link their accounts will be able to transfer three Marriott Rewards points for each Starwood point, the company said.
Marriott had previously said the two loyalty programmes would operate independently until 2018.
Marriott completed its purchase of Starwood on Friday, surpassing Hilton Worldwide Holdings as the biggest chain by number of rooms and market value.
According to Bloomberg, Marriott wants to be all things to all travellers at a time when they have more accommodation choices.
Buying Starwood increases Marriott’s market share outside the US and gives it more luxury and lifestyle hotels, including the W chain. Starwood also brings Marriott 21 million loyal guests, though there is some overlap with the 56 million members in Marriott’s own rewards programme. The combination gives guests more choice about where to spend and accrue points.
Starwood’s loyalty program was a main motivation for the deal, according to Marriott chief executive officer Arne Sorenson.
“They have about the same level of rewards contribution to their occupancy as we did with a bigger portfolio,” Sorenson said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We knew that they were doing something right to get this resonance with the regular traveler.”