Starwood Loyalists Get #StarwoodProud

Later this month Marriott’s takeover of Starwood is expected to close, meaning Marriott will become the world’s largest hotel group by a long shot.

Merger

For the most part it seems like Marriott loyalists are excited about the takeover, since it increases the hotels they have access to, and could even improve their elite benefits. The truth is that Marriott loyalists love Marriott because of their global footprint and their consistency, and not because of any over the top elite benefits. There simply isn’t much downside for Marriott loyalists with this merger.

Starwood loyalists, on the other hand, aren’t quite as enthusiastic. Starwood is special largely because they’re a smaller hotel chain, and therefore do a better job taking care of their elites. That’s because it takes effort to be loyal to Starwood, while you can stumble into a Marriott property just about anywhere.

While Marriott has been adopting some Starwood policies when it comes to their loyalty program, us Starwood loyalists still have some doubts as to how those will be executed. Besides, having seen so many mergers in the travel industry lately, I don’t remember the last time one ended well for us.

Marriott-Benefits

While the deal between Marriott and Starwood is expected to close later this month, the impact won’t be immediate. The Starwood Preferred Guest program is expected to operate independently through the end of this year, and possibly even through the end of next year. So it may even be a while before SPG members can earn/redeem points at Marriott properties, and vice versa.

However, with Starwood technically disappearing as a company later this month, many Starwood employees are reminiscing on their time at Starwood, with the hashtag #StarwoodProud, which is being used on many social platforms.

Here’s a video with the #StarwoodProud message:

They’ve even set up a YouTube channel with Starwood employees sharing what the company means to them.

For example, here’s what the brand leader for W Hotels had to say:

Bottom line

Starwood will only technically cease to exist later this month, while in practice we’ll still see the Starwood brand for at least another year (and the individual hotel brands will of course continue to operate beyond that, except under the Marriott umbrella). If you’re a Starwood loyalist, perhaps it’s time to add #StarwoodProud to your social posts, in addition to the usual #spglife hashtag. 😉

Comments

  1. Federal regulators have been asleep at the wheel for 20 years now. First all the airline mergers, now hotels. It’s the same across the rest of the economy. It’s like the Gilded Age all over again.

    Marriott will inevitably destroy SPG. I don’t know why anyone thinks that this will end well.

  2. I think it’s inevitable you’ll be seeing more mergers in the future. Don’t be surprised if Hyatt is the next domino to fall. For those that say the family won’t sell….I’ve heard that before. Their footprint is too small to compete against the likes of Marriott, Accor, Hilton, IHG, and even Airbnb.

  3. @Lucky, I have a huge cache of SPG points. While I’m intentionally hoarding them, I haven’t really had a need to use them as most of my recent travel has been paid. Would you recommend I hedge my bets and start to lower my balance in the event that some of the things that make SPG points so valuable are taken away? Or do you think it’s still way too early to tell.

  4. I was Marriott Platinum until Starwood was formed and offered a Platinum status match in 1999. I was blown away by the difference! I never looked back and watched my friends struggle to maintain their crappy status in Marriott. I even converted a few over to Starwood.

    Starwood has always exceeded Marriott on how it treats it’s Elite, plus we all know how much further the points will take you (and how much easier they are to get). From the frequency of room upgrades to the intrinsic value of it’s points, Marriott values profits much more. I am not against a healthy profit, just a Rewards program done on the cheap.

    Spend your Starwood points as much as you can this and next year, I expect those 3-7K nights at the Starwood properties are about to be extinct.

  5. Don’t forget that Starwood, Marriott etc don’t actually “own” most, if any, of these hotels. They just manage them on behalf of the owners. Every 10 years or so you see a hotel change “name” – that just means that the owners didn’t renew the contract with the incumbent. I have worked at a hotel that changed brands 3 times in 15 years – always owned by the same people.

    So there is no concentration of ownership, per se…..

    I suppose from the owner’s point of view, the larger the brand they belong to, the more business they can hope to get.

    Personally, I think Marriott is a rubbish brand. Although Starwood in the past several years is getting worse at providing elite member benefits – I have NEVER been upgraded (and I am Platinum) at a NYC hotel – any of them.

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