Marriott has cleared the final hurdle for their merger with Starwood, winning approval from Chinese regulators for the $13.6 billion takeover of Starwood. Marriott will officially become the world’s largest hotelier by Friday with more than 5,500 properties, 1.1 million rooms in 100+ countries, $20B in annual revenue, and 30 brands.
As I said last January, it’s going to be a very sad day for me as a loyal SPG fan for more than a decade. The companies I’ve worked for have often allowed me to choose between Starwood and Marriott properties, and I always picked Starwood due to their superior SPG program. When the two programs are combined, I truly hope that SPG points are valued higher than Marriott’s points and that we are not simply given a 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3 transfer ratio (it’s got be higher…let’s pray). Additionally, let’s hope that Marriott has truly been studying the superior elite perks and customer service of the SPG program like they’ve been telling the press for the last several months.
Rest easy though for a bit longer as industry experts don’t expect a combination of the loyalty programs until 2018.