The ink is barely dry on the US$12 billion mega-merger of Marriott and Starwood, but it looks like the hotel colossus will be creating an all-new ‘unified’ loyalty program under a new brand.
This would see Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards subsumed into what would become the world’s largest hotel rewards scheme.
That’s still a dot on the distant hospitality horizon, however, but the first fruits of the newly-minted Marriott-Starwood empire are already here.
From this weekend, travellers who belong to both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest will be able to obtain a Platinum or Gold status match between the programs by linking their two accounts at members.marriott.com, unlocking perks such as free breakfast and club lounge access.
There’ll also be two-way points transfers between the schemes, so travellers can shovel an excess of points in one program towards another to gain free nights or upgrades as needed.
And the debut of that single integrated loyalty program?
Marriott International’s VP of Global Loyalty Thom Kozik and Starwood VP David Flueck tell travel blogger Ben Schlappig that they "don’t yet have a timeline of when this will happen, as the focus is on doing everything correctly rather than rushing into something."