Not sure how many of you listened to the conference call this morning, but there was not much new information aside from what has already been shared via the early morning press release. However, one interesting tidbit seems to be that the SPG program actually played a part in Marriott’s desire to acquire Starwood. Marriott’s CEO said that the SPG loyalty program was one of the reasons Marriott was attracted to Starwood. He noted that SPG’s members are younger and that the program “is very valued by elite travelers”. He pledged to take the best of both programs…one can only hope!
“We will take the best of both programs and make sure the bests are preserved, full details will be revealed at a later date.”
As I noted in my last post, this is a very sad day for me. SPG is one of my favorite programs among any travel loyalty scheme. I love the value of my points and I find that the SPG team goes above and beyond to find availability for me, even when there are no points rooms available. They have forced hotels to book award nights for me at least 5x this year including the busy Xmas, President’s Week, and Europe summer holiday periods AT REASONABLE RATES. In the case of the St. Regis Punta Mita over February break and the Sheraton on the Park Sydney over Xmas and New Year’s, Starwood saved me thousands of dollars this year. Marriott and Hilton rates in those locations for the same periods were completely outrageous.
The companies I’ve worked for have often allowed me to choose between Starwood and Marriott properties, and I always select Starwood due to their superior SPG program. When the two programs are combined (anticipated mid-late 2016), I truly hope that SPG points are valued higher than Marriott’s points and that we are not simply given a 1:1 transfer ratio. Let’s also hope that given the statements above, elite benefits and some other SPG perks are maintained or integrated into an updated Marriott Rewards program.