Marriott’s takeover of Starwood has been a bit more exciting than I imagine either company was hoping for.
First Marriott got into a bidding war with Chinese conglomerate Anbang, and even since the deal was finalized there have been significant delays. About a month ago we learned that Chinese regulators were slowing down the takeover, as they needed more time to approve and review it on their end. I haven’t heard an update since then, so as far as I know they still haven’t been given the green light to move forward with the integration.
With that in mind, a lot of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest members are wondering when the programs will integrate, and what that will look like in practice. Heck, some are even wondering if the programs will even integrate.
While Ritz-Carlton belongs to Marriott, they maintain two separate loyalty programs, so in theory it’s conceivable that Starwood Preferred Guest will stick around as an independent program, and just have reciprocal benefits across all properties. For example, Marriott Rewards has already started matching some Starwood Preferred Guest benefits.
Up until now we haven’t received any official timeline for Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest to be linked in any way. I suspect the programs might be merged in early 2018, in which case I imagine accounts between programs can be linked in some way by some point in 2017. Perhaps there will be status matching between programs, the ability to move points between programs, etc.
Well, Marriott’s mobile app hints at an update coming soon, and it even has a screenshot of what it will look like. The text reads “Three programs. One reason: You.”
In the screenshot you’ll see that it shows all three loyalty programs — Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest — and says “Link your Marriott Rewards account to your SPG account.”
So we still don’t know when that will happen or what that will look like in practice, but the fact that the mobile app hints at being able to link accounts should be good news. My hope is that they offer the ability to link accounts and get some sort of reciprocal elite benefits long before the programs fully merge.
When do you think it will be possible to link Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest accounts?
(Tip of the hat to @jamespreid2)