September 24, 2016

Starwood & Marriott Merger Complete

The marriage between Starwood and Marriott is finally complete and the drama is over.  The merger closed yesterday and both companies have already made a lot of progress in terms of merger integration.

I worked for W Hotels in 2003 and have been a Starwood loyalist ever since.  While it's a bit sad to see the Starwood name go away and the company folded into the world's largest hotel chain (now with 30 brands!!) I was pleasantly surprised with the rollout on Friday.

Accounts linked

In less than five minutes, I was able to link both my/Emily's Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards accounts.  My SPG Gold was matched to Marriott Gold instantly.  I was able to transfer points from Marriott to Starwood (at a 3:1 ratio) once my accounts were linked and points were posted to my SPG account instantly.  For the companies to do that within 6 months is a very impressive feet especially compared to the airline merge debacles we've seen over the past five years.

One Mile at a Time has a step-by-step guide on how to link accounts which I'd encourage you to follow to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Transferring points between programs is a breeze

Everyone was hoping for a 2:1 transfer ratio but that seemed like a pipe dream.  3:1 seems more than fair and the reverse should give SPG members with a hefty balance a ton of options at higher end Marriott (Ritz Carlton, EDITION) properties.  It will be awhile (2018) until the loyalty programs are merged so at this point, they will be run independently and you'll have to qualify for status independently.

My biggest concern remains the matching of SPG lifetime status but given the gold to gold match that I already received, I'm confident lifetime gold will equal lifetime gold going forward.

I'll be posting about a couple of opportunities the merger has opened up for me personally over the next week.  Marriott and Starwood are both companies in their own right and it will be neat to watch how they proceed as one.  If the merger finalization and rollout was any indication of what's to come, get excited.

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