Same here. The only hotel loyalty program I use is Marriott Rewards. I travel enough to make one useful but not enough to make having two or more viable.
Consolidation in the airline industry certainly hasn't helped travelers. Seems reasonable to think the same would be true in the hotel industry.
It would be nice to think that a combined Hyatt/Starwood would make Marriott more eager to retain loyal customers and offer more benefits for our loyalty. More likely, we'll see an increased focus on the bottom line. That's never good for loyalty programs.
I've been talking about this a bit on other forums too. I'm excited to see what could happen, but I feel that this merger (and the possibility of a rewards program merger) would result in a ridiculous amount of elite members, and eventually a devaluation of elite benefits. Both Starwood and Hyatt really only have 2 elite levels. Gold and platinum, and platinum and diamond respectively. There is no middle ground for anyone, and both of the low tiers offer essentially nothing in the way of actual benefits.
In my opinion you would end up with an extremely top heavy elite pool and I feel like upgrades would slowly diminish, and lounge access would handed out like candy (kind of like the United /Marriott deal.)
I also touched on the fact that amex recently added hilton Gold as a benefit to the amex Platinum card. Maybe because they knew the spg gold would soon be gone because of a merger.
The biggest hit however would be to the spg airline program. Spg is currently the only hotel program (that I know of) that allows 1:1 transfers, up to a 1:1.25 transfer ratio (when transferring 20k points)
The loss of that would be a huge hit to many in the points and loyalty game.
As a guest, this does not make any impression on me. I am not a big fan of either Starwood or Hyatt and the combined operation would have no additional appeal for me.
On the other hand, as a consumer, I fear that this consolidation could raise costs somewhat. I believe that the Federal Government has become far too lenient regarding mergers during the past two decades. Cable, airlines, and so many other industries have been able to raise prices way too easily. I'm not overly concerned about this one merger having such an effect on the hospitality industry, but were this the beginning of a trend, I'd become concerned.
Hyatt was the first hotel loyalty program I belonged to. Great hotels, but I haven't used them in a couple of decades. I joined Starwood because I was spending a lot of time at a Westin in Bangladesh (no Marriott). Hotel was great. Rewards program wasn't.
I'm lazy and loyal. And by that I mean as long as I'm getting treated decently by my regular provider (hotel, plane, phone, cable, you name it) I'm too lazy to go to the effort of looking up other brands.
**** me off and I get energized.
To me, mergers always mean higher prices. However, in this case, Hyatt does not have that many hotels and Starwood is small compared to Marriott and Hilton, so maybe not too bad on prices. Hyatt already sold their timeshares so maybe they are in trouble. I mostly stay at either Marriotts or Hiltons. Lately Hilton has been treating be the best so I have been moving more in that direction.
Iit's not going to make any difference to me as both these groups barely try in the UK. SPG is somewhat better in the EU but almost all my EU stays are leisure. I earn my points in UK hotels on business stays, and need good nationwide coverage, neither Hyatt nor SPG provides that, and they're no better together. I would love to see either take over IHG and introduce either the GP or SPG program to IHG hotels, but I guess thats not likely to happen now...
brightlybob, along with news about Hyatt looking at Starwood, I've also read that IHG is considering purchasing Starwood. Also there is talk of a buyout of Starwood by a Chinese entity.
Here's your blog, brightlybob. I agree with all your findings/opinions! There is a large, full-service Holiday Inn right by my office and a large, full-service Sheraton a few miles away near the convention center in my town. Despite the fact that the HI is recently refurbished with nice rooms, a great CL and a very convenient location, my business clients usually stay at the Sheraton instead. I really think it's because they perceive Sheraton as a better brand than HI and they think staying at a HI is slumming it.
Thanks very much for digging that one up, clebert.
I'm not at all surprised by the choice made by customers, If I didn't know better I'd view any Sheraton as better than any Holiday Inn. But a fully refurbished Holiday Inn can very easily give Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton a real run.
Marriott has always been my number one choice and will remain so. I don't think I would mind a merger between Hyatt and Starwood. I have a rewards account with both brands and average about 1-2 nights a year with both programs. A combined rewards program could mean that I would have a better chance of accumulating enough points for a free stay that I may not otherwise have.
Really? Napa Valley on Thanksgiving and you're complaining about the price. There are B&Bs in that are that charge triple that, or more. This isn't "limited competition" but rather booking one of the most popular and expensive holiday destinations on the biggest travel day on the planet.
I just looked for next week, $200+ per night.
(LOL) I would like to point out that I hold a BA and MA in Political Science not English!
Actually had a professor scribble on an examination "blue book" during my undergraduate years (do they still use those) "Misterchk, you are very fortunate that this isn't the English department!!
(BTW - Not to brag, but I also have a Phd in procrastination)