Marriott’s New SVP Of Loyalty Is From Starwood (And Shares His Roadmap)

As much as I’m not thrilled about Marriott’s takeover of Starwood (or perhaps more accurately, I don’t like competition being eliminated), there’s no denying that the leadership at the company has been doing a fantastic job with the integration.

Since the day the merger has closed, Marriott has allowed members to match status between programs, and transfer points at a fair ratio. Marriott has also announced some improvements to their program that nicely match what Starwood offers.

Marriott-Benefits

Marriott is planning on eventually integrating all three loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest) into a unified loyalty program, though that’s happening in 2018 at the earliest.

linking-marriott-starwood-accounts-1

While I’m a bit worried about what the future of the program looks like, there’s some news out today that I’m happy to see.

Marriott has a new SVP of Loyalty

David Flueck has been appointed Senior Vice President of Loyalty for Marriott. Since the merger closed he has been Senior Vice President of Loyalty for Starwood, and prior to that he was Vice President of Global Revenue for Starwood. Going back several years he worked in loyalty at Starwood, and he was behind many of the positive program changes that SPG made in 2012.

In other words, he’s a Starwood guy, which I quite like, since I’m also a Starwood guy. 😉

Per the press release:

Prior to leading SPG®, Flueck oversaw Starwood’s Global Revenue Management team where his team grew global market share through a proprietary revenue management system that leveraged machine learning and big data capabilities. Prior to joining Starwood, Flueck was a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Flueck has an MBA from the University of Chicago, and a degree in economics from the University of Colorado. 

As part of the new leadership structure, Thom Kozik will continue in his role as Vice President of Loyalty, leading Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and reporting to Flueck. In addition, Kozik will take on added responsibilities for cutting-edge strategic initiatives.

Now, I don’t want to draw too many conclusions upfront here, though I do find it quite interesting that Marriott has selected a Starwood executive to lead the combined loyalty program. It gives me some hope about what the future of the program will look like.

Marriott’s loyalty focus this year

I had the chance to speak with David this afternoon to get a bit of an update on the future of the program. What I found most interesting is where his priorities are right now. He has three things that his team is working on, in the following order:

  1. The top priority for this year is cross-pollinating programs. This means improving the programs to add additional benefits. We’ve seen Marriott add Starwood’s Ambassador service and Moments packages, etc. Furthermore, we’ll see Starwood introduce mobile check-in at more properties, which is an area where Marriott has excelled.
  2. The next priority is creating one program. I think this one is pretty obvious. On the call I also asked about what the timeline is for all three programs being integrated into one. David said that 2018 is still the target, though early 2018 is unlikely. They’ll communicate further information as they have it.
  3. The third priority is working on all their partnerships. We’re talking American Express, Chase, Delta, United, Emirates, China Eastern, etc.

Bottom line

The Marriott loyalty team has a big task ahead of them. At the end of the day the new combined Marriott Rewards program doesn’t have to be as rewarding as Starwood Preferred Guest was, given that Marriott will have hotels just about everywhere. In many ways, a great loyalty program is a way to make up for not having a great global footprint.

So I’m hoping for the best with the future of the program, and am excited to see that a former Starwood executive is leading these efforts.

Congrats to David, and good luck!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. just ordered a travel package and asked about the combined program. (even though i know first line reps don’t know much) but it was interesting to hear that “their” meetings say early 2018 is not going to happen, mostly like end of 2018.

  2. Good to know I’ve got at least another 18 months with my Amex SPGs. They’ll pry these from my cold dead hands.

  3. One can only hope that this former SPG Exec is not going to engineer a second failure at MR, because I believe that regardless of what bloggers claim (maybe because of their claims), Marriott Rewards is a stable, mature and rewarding program designed for EVERYONE.

    Heck, I got this just the other day from United MileagePlus, so I do have personal interest in seeing MR remain mature, stable and fluff-less:

    “DOUBLE STATUS LOOKS GOOD ON YOU!
    Enjoy another year of complimentary Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status. We’re pleased to announce that your Marriott Rewards® Gold Elite status has been automatically renewed for 2017. Now you can look forward to another year of great benefits in Marriott® properties worldwide.

    Your 2017 benefits include:*
    ■ 25% bonus on Rewards Base Points
    ■ Lounge access
    ■ Enhanced Wi-Fi
    ■ Guaranteed late checkout – as late as 4 p.m.
    ■ And much more” [like unlimited complimentary suite upgrades]
    🙂

  4. Marriott sucks. if they mess this up. they will lose a platinum member

    and @DCS you are gold not platinum your opinion does not matters ! good day

  5. DCS is such a useless contrarian cunt. I have top level status at every hotel and spend almost 300 nights on the road. The order of programs is as follows:

    1) Hyatt
    2) SPG/Marriott
    3) HIlton
    4) …..Doesn’t matter, the rest are shit.

    Only Hyatt gives you confirmed suit upgrades. DCS will bang on about how he gets them because he acts like a relentless cunt to the front desk staff, but that won’t help you 8 months out when you want to make sure you get a suite for your family at the Park Hyatt NY (done, for US Open finals weekend, bitch).

    Can I block him somehow? My country is run by the world’s biggest cunt and I’m trying to cut down on my daily intake of horrible cunt exposure.

  6. As long as he doesn’t turn it into a garbage program like Hilton (hot new loyalty benefit – use your points at Amazon!) I think the ex-SPGers will be ok.

  7. I find it interesting that Ritz-Carlton will be lumped into the same loyalty program as Fairfield Inn and Four Points by Sheraton. I would think instead St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton would receive their own loyalty programs.

  8. Dear @OMAAT:

    Poster @DCS’s FATHER on February 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm has gone beyond the pale (farther than usual), and only one unhinged poster has had multiple identities on this board. He comments under one of those identities and then turns around and posts as his usual self in support of his alter ego. If you think that’s unhinged, it’s because it. It is time to get rid of the insanity…

    G’day.

  9. @Lee — If there is a program in which Golds and Plats enjoy the same benefits, it’s MR and NOT HH, as bloggers have claimed for years. So, g’day to you too!

  10. LOL don’t flatter yourself DCS. I only post under one name – every single time.

    No, you’ve just created a lot of enemies across the blogs with your lies, insults, obfuscation, and demagoguery. Congrats!

  11. Marriott downgraded Platinum PREMIER members from United GOLD to Silver this year without notice. Despite emails and numberous forums, no PP member has received an actual answer. Can you help??

  12. As an SPG Lifetime Platinum member who was/is concerned about elite status with the new combined program…it gives me some relief to see that someone from SPG will be heading the new combined program(s). Keeping fingers crossed.

    One other comment – wondering if they will keep Ritz Carleton Rewards as a separate entity? If so…then what about St. Regis/Luxury Collection ? Or a combination of the three? Or what about traditional Marriott Brands and SPG brands? Who knows!

  13. @UA-NYC: “No, you’ve just created a lot of enemies across the blogs with your lies, insults, obfuscation, and demagoguery. Congrats!”

    That is the perpetual “argumentum ad populi” fallacy that sustains your fantasies about DCS. But to me the psychopathology is just a bit too strong now, so it is time to give you the treatment that I know drives you even higher up the wall. You are one “enemy” I am going to give the “silent treatment” starting now, under whatever moniker you will decide to post to get my attention. I can smell you under any disguise because no one is as unhinged…

    Unlike you, I can ignore you, which your psychopathology won’t allow you to do about me. So, the only place I am going to see you from now on is up the wall.

    GOOD BYE

  14. Hmmm – the new policy to remove objectionable posts might start here with DCS? Language my boy! Tsk!

  15. @Alan sez: “Hmmm – the new policy to remove objectionable posts might start here with DCS? Language my boy! Tsk!”

    Tsk. You mean ignoring this comment from “@DCS’s FATHER” that OMAAT incredibly let through, “DCS is such a useless contrarian cunt.”, which is nowhere near as crude as anything I wrote in RESPONSE?

    I am seriously considering taking leave of these increasingly unhinged boards, and do only selective postings of my greatest debunking “hits” as warranted. Travel blogosphere is rapidly losing its appeal to me. It may be time to get out before the “swamp” gets any higher.

  16. @DCS – “I am seriously considering taking leave of these increasingly unhinged boards”

    Good, don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out!

  17. @Brian L – amen to that my brother! Maybe he can retreat to InsideFlyer where he rants about SPG/Starwood nonstop and no one ever comments on his posts 🙂

  18. @Brial L — I did not wish or need to name who was “unhinged” because I was sure they’d out themselves, so thank you for validating me. I am not at all concerned about the door on the way out which is, in fact, looking increasingly welcoming…

  19. Will the total number of nights from stays at Starwood properties transfer over to Marriott? I am about 75 nights away from lifetime platinum, but I know I have about 100 in Starwood. Wanted to see if I could expect it this year as opposed to doing it the hard way? Thanks.

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