“Today marks an exciting day for our members, and we’re thrilled for you to be among the first to hear about it here!” according to this discussion launched by InsideFlyer member and official company representative SPG Champion 3 — also known as Thyetus Lee, who is one of the social media specialists of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. “With the Starwood and Marriott merger now officially complete, our loyalty programs still remain separate. However, starting today you can unlock an exciting world of new destinations (Budapest, Bahamas and more) and redemption options by linking your SPG account with your Marriott Rewards or Ritz Carlton Rewards account.”
Starwood and Marriott Accounts May Now Be Linked
When you link your frequent guest loyalty program accounts, you will instantly enjoy two new advantages at all 30 brands of hotel and resort properties:
- Elite level status match — meaning whatever your highest non-promotional elite status level you have achieved in one program, you can now enjoy in the other
- Points transfer between the programs where three Marriott Rewards points equals one Starpoint
“Other than these new account linking advantages, nothing changes today for SPG. Your benefits, elite status and existing reservations are all unaffected. And, you should continue to book, stay, earn and redeem just as you always do.”
If you are a member of Marriott Rewards, the Ritz Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest, you can link all three accounts together and maximize your earnings and redemptions, which is considered to be great news. However, you cannot earn or use benefits across frequent guest loyalty programs — Starwood Preferred Guest hotel and resort properties will not offer Marriott Rewards benefits, and Marriott Rewards hotel and resort properties will not offer Starwood Preferred Guest benefits. You will only get your points and benefits at a hotel or resort property if you are enrolled in the program in which that hotel or resort property participates — meaning that you should be a member of both the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs simultaneously with those accounts linked.
For now, the ability to book a reservation at a Marriott hotel or resort property cannot be done with an official channel of Starwood Preferred Guest — or vice versa. You also cannot currently use a gift card from Marriott at a Starwood hotel or resort property — or vice versa. Partnerships with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines will not be affected at this time while the programs continue to operate separately.
“This is just the beginning, and we’re excited for you! As always, we’ll be here and can help answer any questions that you have regarding today’s news.”
A Combined Lodging Company
The final impediment of the merging of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide — which was first announced last November — into one combined lodging company was antitrust approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce; and that hurdle was cleared three days ago, according to this official press release.
Moving forward, the combined company — now boasting greater than 5,700 hotel and resort properties in greater than 100 countries around the world — will retain the name of Marriott International, Incorporated.
The two frequent guest loyalty programs will most likely not be merged into one prior to 2018, which means that they will remain separate for at least 15 months; and none of the brands of hotel and resort properties — which are conveniently organized by category — are expected to be eliminated or consolidated.
Other than the ability to now link frequent guest loyalty program accounts, everything else remains the same — for now.
To enjoy the greatest flexibility, consider linking all of your accounts now to enjoy the benefits of all worlds — and take advantage of the benefits of both frequent guest loyalty programs now while you can, as what the combined program will look like in 2018 is still yet to be known.