Marriott’s Takeover Of Starwood Expected To Close This Week

After an exciting bidding war, Marriott’s takeover of Starwood was made official in April, though we’ve been waiting on the deal to close.

Merger

For weeks now, the holdup has been that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce hadn’t approved the transaction. On top of that, there have been rumors that both Marriott and Starwood were regretting the deal, so there was a very small glimmer of hope that the takeover might be called off. Admittedly that was wishful thinking, but…

The delay by the Chinese regulators came as a bit of a surprise, as they seemed to be sitting on the deal for weeks. In theory the merger as such could continue without China’s approval, though it would have implications for their hotels in China.

Well, unfortunately any hope of the merger between Marriott and Starwood being called off has now been crushed. Chinese regulators have approved the deal, and the transaction is expected to close before the market opens on September 23. Per a press release from Marriott:

Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced their merger transaction has received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). As this was the last regulatory approval required to complete the merger, Marriott and Starwood are now able to proceed with closing the transaction and expect the transaction to be completed before the market opens on September 23, pending satisfaction of customary closing requirements.  Upon closing, Marriott will solidify its status as the world’s largest hotel company.

Oh well, it looks like this is really finally happening. While the business side of the deal will close later this week, as customers we still have no clue what the combined loyalty program will look like. Marriott has made some minor program changes that represent a move in the right direction, but that’s it.

Marriott-Benefits

There’s still quite a gap between what Starwood Preferred Guest members expect and what Marriott Rewards offers. Perhaps that’s just the reality of what this deal will look like, though there are a lot of unknowns.

What happens to Starwood lifetime elite status? When will points be combined, and at what ratio? What will combined elite benefits look like? Will there even be a single loyalty program, given that Ritz-Carlton is part of Marriott, but runs a parallel loyalty program?

Now that the deal is expected to close, hopefully we’ll soon get answers to some of the above.

Comments

  1. Slowly rounding up my Starpoints to the closest 20K interval so I can bail out as soon as Marriott announces their plans for merging the programs. I know we still will have time to digest the merging of the programs and that won’t be instant. Biggest fear is a huge devalue and also the loss of transfer partners + bonus.

    I’ve been building up my UR portfolio in anticipation of Starpoints going away as we know them.

    What then happens to the AMEX SPG cards? Will they get rolled over into Chase Marriott accounts in the future? Will Marriott compete their credit card contract between Chase and AMEX when the programs merge? More questions than answers.

  2. Marriott Hotel + Air Packages offer great redemption option.and with the upcoming merger, you will probably get 3 Marriott points for every SPG one, and thus, closer to redeem these awards.

  3. LOL.

    “On top of that, there have been rumors that both Marriott and Starwood were regretting the deal, so there was a very small glimmer of hope that the takeover might be called off. Admittedly that was wishful thinking, but…”

    Glad you made it clear that the so-called rumors where nothing but wishful thinking, mostly by SPG loyalists (like @VFTW 😉 ).

    There was never any indication that Marriott had buyer’s remorse of any kind. They simply gave China 60 extra days to do their thing, and those 60 days have now expired with the Chinese doing what they were expected to do, which was to approve the merger or be irrelevant since [from Marriott’s website] the deal had already…

    …”received unconditional premerger clearances from regulatory authorities representing over 40 countries worldwide, including the United States, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.”

    With its economy showing signs of slowing big time, China had no choice…

  4. I’m an SPG Plat guy and well, this is just business I guess. Consolidation seems to be the key pretty much everywhere.

    I’m just curious when I can start booking Marriott’s and get points/status because there are a fair amount of places I go where SPG properties are non-existent.

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