Marriott’s takeover of Starwood closed in September 2016. As a Starwood loyalist I’ve been impressed overall by their path towards integration. From day one Marriott and Starwood have offered reciprocal elite benefits and points transfers between programs, while maintaining the benefits of the individual programs.
We do know that eventually Marriott intends to create a single global loyalty program, as they presently run three programs — Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Marriott has been working on aligning some policies between programs so that the transformation into a single program won’t be quite as radical, when it finally happens. They’ve also been providing plenty of notice of what’s to come, including that Amex and Chase will both be issuing Marriott credit cards in the future.
As far as the merger of the programs goes, Marriott has said that they hope to have a single technology platform in 2018, and then plan to combine the programs at a later point, which presumably means 2019 or later.
Changes to the Starwood Preferred Guests, or SPG, guest loyalty program could adversely impact our revenues and ability to pay dividends.
We have been advised by Marriott that they intend to revise the SPG guest loyalty program for us beginning March 1, 2018. During 2016 and the first nine months of 2017, our revenues under this program were $2.4 million and $3.8 million, respectively. Although we continue to discuss with Marriott the details regarding such changes, there is a risk that any changes could result in a decrease in revenues to us which could reduce our profitability and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and ability to pay dividends.
HH_Cash has a “holy crap” reaction, though personally I don’t read into it in quite the same way. Yes, I suspect we’ll start to see some changes to the SPG program over the coming months, as Marriott tries to make policy changes to all three loyalty program to get them more in-line before they’re actually integrated.
However, it’s just as likely that these adjustments are happening on the back-end, especially as this filing is from a company that owns a hotel. This could include things like aligning the costs to hotels for buying points and opting into promotions, the reimbursement rates for award stays, or a slew of other things.
So my reaction to the above isn’t “oh my gosh, the SPG program is basically ending or being destroyed on March 1, 2018.” Yes, we’ll likely start to see some changes to the program over the coming months, but I don’t think the March 1 date specifically refers to any major changes that impact guests directly.
I certainly could be wrong, though.
What do you make of the statement in this SEC filing?