I am cautiously optimistic. I hope they don't mess with or otherwise devalue our MR points/status. SPG is supposed to be a better and more valuable program, so I think the SPG loyalists are worried about what MR is going to do to their points/status. I have French Polynesia on the bucket list, and there are no Marriott properties there. So I am excited at the possibility that the LeMeridien on Tahiti and St. Regis on Bora Bora could be MR properties maybe. But we still need some properties in New Zealand. This merger also opens up some really nice Waikiki Beach properties to us MR people, such as Moana Surfrider, a couple of Sheratons, and the Royal Hawaiian. Currently, Marriott's Waikiki beach properties are really not too great and not right on the beach. So that is a plus.
misterchk, I share your concerns re lack of competition. I have heard rumors that Hilton and Hyatt someday might merge. I think those rumors started when Hyatt and Hilton started doing joint ventures. I think there are a couple of co-branded properties either up and running or being built which is interesting. If those two merge then we really will have a lack of competition. I've always seen Hilton as Marriott's main competitor. Lots of times I can't find a Marriott property in the town or city I'm visiting, but there always seems to be a Hilton property.
clebert A few weeks ago it was Hyatt that proposed to Starwood - with Marriott jumping in you would have to be "deaf and dumb" not to see that (like the airline industry) there is major consolidation coming in this hospitality industry.
Do a survey of any major city - It is possible that two thirds of all first class and luxury hotel space will be controlled by one company.
Our (capitalistic) system's basis is COMPETITION. A form of social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) I will be quite interested in how the government views this combination.
I suspect that Jerryl may be right. While I doubt that Marriott is acquiring Starwood to shutter most of their hotels, I do see them divesting themselves as soon as possible of various Starwood properties that, for whatever reason, don't measure up to Marriott's standards.
It will be interesting to see how smoothly the transition goes, and what it means from the perspective of getting through to the Platinum reservations line, for example.
An additional potential impact is that Starwood's Platinum level is obtained after only 50 nights, It will be interesting if the acquisition contains an agreement that current Starwood's Platinum's become Marriott Platinum's with only 50 nights, or if Starwood Gold which obtained after 25 nights, become Marriott Gold without the Marriott 50 night requirement. I'm not an elitist, but I'm not going to be pleased if benefits I had to stay 75 nights for (and I realize that many of my fellow Plats originally earned it after 100 nights) are extended after only 50 nights to Starwood Plats.
Obviously, in the overall scheme of things, and when considering what is happening in the world today, this is of minor importance and concern.
Agreed. And it only makes sense if there is a Starwood property across the street from a Marriott property they wouldn't want the 2 Marriott sites to compete with each other. And the government wouldn't be fond of it either.
I remember when Chevron acquired Texaco the first thing the government made them do is to divest a lot of service stations that were in competition with each other.
Except there are already plenty of locations where several Marriott properties are adjacent to each other (or within a block or two). These are typically different level properties, but the same could be true of Marriott vs. Starwood properties. Additionally, there are facilities next to each other that are different brands but that are actually owned by the same franchisee, such as a Marriott and a Hilton - different branding, same owner.
The hammocks displayed in Sears lawn and garden dept. are probably more comfortable than the SHS by that mall. I stayed one night on a free cert. so that the kids could swim at the pool, and it was not a place I'd recommend! But I think it's the hotel management/owner and not Marriott. A prime example of a franchisee who is harming the brand, I'm afraid.
I disagree misterchk! It would take a lot more consolidation before that happens. Add Four Seasons, Mandarin and other international powerhouses and you see that the luxury market will still have a wide variety of choices,
I'm more concerned about the middle range hotels, which is where I mostly stay. At some point, our government needs to start enforcing the anti-trust laws that have existed for about a century.
phctourist Please don't shoot the messenger.
If you study the news items, Marriott's current market share of hotel rooms and revenue is approx 50% - the acquisition of Starwood is adding 50% more rooms.
The luxury market (4 seasons etc) account for a very small market share and Marriott already has Ritz and a good portion of their international properties are equal to any Ritz or Four Seasons.
Additionally there are currently 51 million members of MR and 21 million members of the Starwood program.
Somethings got to give and this should be a concern to all members.
misterchk, I have also seen that some of the non-corporate owned Marriott properties are owned by local/regional developers who own large blocks of the hospitality industry in their locality/region. For example, one developer in my state owns multiple hotels licensed under multiple brands (i.e., some are Marriott brands, and some are IHG brands). You'd think that the corporations wouldn't license to someone operating properties under their competitors' brands, but that is not always the case. So there's a lack of competition even among/between the various brands when the hotels are locally owned and not corporate owned.
clebert Sorry for the confusion of the concern I (and many, including those of financial and business journalists) - the local companies that you are referring to are numerous throughout the United States. The actual numbers would surprise many. In the Marriott family almost all CY's, RI's, Towns, Fairfields and Springhills and some small full service Marriott properties are franchised. And, many different brands are owned by the same company in the same geographic area. Most of these are real estate companies that engage Marriott to manager the properties for them and the larger ones find it more cost effective to have their own hotel management companies.
The point is those companies do not control the reward programs of the brands they represent.. It is the benefits of these programs that are our paramount concern.
After the merger one company is going to control about 65% of the hotel market - i.e. - what is their motivation to expand benefits, and/or retain those already part of the program. It's analogous (albeit a stretch) as complaining to the post office and threatening to take you business elsewhere.
misterchk, you are right that the franchisees don't control the rewards programs, but they obviously do have influence on prices, amenities at the individual properties, condition of the properties, location or properties and location of competitor's properties in the locality, management of the individual properties, parking, airport shuttle availability, dining options on site, etc.
clebert I'm not questioning your points - I understand and agree - I am just stating our (at least most of us receiving benefits from MR) concern is the continuation of our benefits and hope for more.
This merger retards that progression.
The concerns of pricing etc. ofcourse are a concern, but that will be handled by government regulators. Those regulators are NOT concerned with our benefits.
The mega mergers that are occurring currently and in recent history do not bode well for the consumer. A reduction in competition very rarely benefits the consumer. The Department of Justice is not performing its role in our economic system by maintaining an economic environment conducive to both consumer and business. I would guess that the cost of hotel rooms will rise or the loyalty programs will be devalued in some manner. The result of the mergers in the airline industry generally have not benefited the consumers and members of the loyalty programs.
Im good with it.
Prior to this if I stay at SPG properties then Im not accruing points at Marriott which is my main provider. Now with the merger all my stays at Delta, SPG etc will accrue to my MR account which will count towards status and of course more points to be cashed in when I want too use them.
The downside of course is when one giant company can control the market place then yes the price to the consumer can rise accordingly. Time will tell if this takes place. Not unlike the giant airline mergers, until an alternative springs up to lure consumers away. The problem with that is the points program usually keeps the devotees from straying.
jamesdean (forgive the bad humor) Loved you in "Splendor In The Grass"
Your comment "...keeps the devotees from straying..." is my major concern. If there are less places to "stray" to, perks could get more expensive or disappear altogether.
What surprises me the most is the excitement that some have as to the new choices that will come available.
Read the news items. Notice Marriott's current market share (50%) - take into account they are increasing the size of the company by acquiring Starwood almost 50%. Marriott rewards is going to grow overnight from 51 million members to over 70 million.
Anyone that believes that this merger is good to Elite MR members I personally believe are naive.
Sorry if this offends - but it is a realistic assessment based on today's news and analysis by reputable financial sources.
I think the merger will not be good news for elites in either Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) or Marriott Rewards. I have to wonder if the additional benefits (night credit on award stays, points+cash) earlier this year was done so that basic benefits of both programs are equal in anticipation of the merger. Regardless, the optimist in me says that MR will take the best of both programs combine them and we will truly have an outstanding hotel loyalty program. However, the pessimist in me says that MR will use this as an excuse to gut both programs and devalue our points in the process.
Things I like as a Platinum with SPG that I hope MR keeps:
Things I like as a Platinum with MR that I hope they keep:
It will be interesting to see what happens if the merger passes all the legal hurdles. Needless to say, they will be pains on both sides. Hopefully, MR doesn't take the United approach to the merger and leave elites scurrying to other programs!
I have mixed feelings about this merger, assuming it passes the regulators (which it probably will). Having more places to earn and burn points is good. Less competition worries me (let's look to airline industry for some context). I suspect SPG members are even less excited by this news than MR members.
I read this online
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says "we will take the best of both programs and make sure the bests are preserved."
I'm curious about what that means.
Naturally, I am most interested in how it affects Marriott Rewards members. What benefits do we gain? What might we lose? How many nights will be needed to reach different elite levels? What about suite upgrades? These are but a few of the questions that we will need to know, though I expect it will take time for Marriott to determine the answers.
The merger isn't expected to close until the middle of 2016, so it will be quite a while before anything happens. Whether we gain or lose in the process is still undetermined. If the airlines are a good model, expect to be disappointed. That said, I've still got my fingers crossed.
bejacob Whether I agree or disagree with your assessments of a certain situation what makes them important is they (appear) to be thought out and researched - giving your opinion and suggestions (to me) credibility.
I mean this sincerely - please continue with your methods - I for one am most appreciative of your insights.
As to your recent posting (above) - members should do as we did and read the various news items from reputable financial sources and arrive at their own concerns and opinions.
The most laughable line is in fact the one you pointed out, Mr. Sorenson's use of the trite statement ""we will take the best of both programs and make sure the bests are preserved." What Mr. Sorenson failed to reveal is that their opinion of the best of each program would be the same as the members of each program.
The exact same cliche was used by the executive that become the CEO of the United/Continental merger where absolutely nothing went right.
It will be interesting to see how this proceeds. How do you add 20 million Starwood members to the already crowded 51 million MR members.
Time will tell.
My primary concern will be the flood of new Marriott elite members. Even if you're a loyal Starwood member, there would be times when you stayed at a Marriott because it was the only hotel in the neighborhood.
Now if that happens you will be a Marriott elite member (instead of Starwood) and thus be competing for upgrades so suites and elbowing me out of the way in the lounge.
Kind of like United now basically has 2 statuses, GS and everyone else, Marriott may end up that way. If you're not PP you're nothing because there are too many of us.
Living with this now for about 12 hours i'm quite pessimistic about the outcome. It's going to take a while to play out. Bur when the president of Marriott uses the cliche
""we will take the best of both programs and make sure the bests are preserved." a normally optimistic individual starts to be concerned.
Mergers generally hold little benefit for consumers. See the airline industry, but there are important differences in hospitality and Marriotts first decision underlines that: selling Starwoods owned properties. Airlines don't franchise their metal!
Marriott is in reality a hotel management name, but with 30 different brands in the combined group there will be some pruning, but not much, Marriott is a hotel brand company after all so the more brands the better, but each brand must have a, well, brand, so where there's a crossover or confusion, those brands may be expunged. Sheraton will happily sit in the signature category with Marriott, and a place will certainly be found for W, Westin, Luxury Collection (an extra-posh autograph). The Tribute brand will be subsumed in the far more numerous Autograph but Four Points has a chance of remaining as a less mandated CY type property. Design, Aloft, and Element are the most likely brands to join Tribute. Le Meridian should find a place as a Eurpoean inspired version of Renaissance.
Now the merger will create the worlds largest hotel group and I expect such a big dish to give Marriott some significant indigestion. The deal won't complete till Spring next year and I expect it will take well over a year to assimilate the two into one effective group. I wouldn't expect a unified loyalty program till 2017 at the very earliest. And a worthwhile loyalty program will remain in place as however well respected their loyalty program, Starwood was definitely playing in the second league in terms of size. Marriott will still need to attract regular guests in competition with the industries remaining leviathans, Hilton and IHG, so Marriott Rewards will continue to play a signficant part. As a result I don't foresee a significant watering down of MR benefits, though SPG regulars may well see it differently. I think the big temptation in such a costly merger will be the points, will the beancounters manage to resist sticking their hands into the Cookie-jar of point-hoarders, which represent a real drag on the assetts sheet as a "future liability"? I foresee a big hotel recategorisation resulting in increases across the board, thus reducing the on-the-book-liability represented by our point-stashes but an increase in the points earned at top-tier, something like the IHG Spire 100% which will keep future earn-and-burn rates similar.
Now I've burned my stack, but for those sitting on a points mountain, 2016 and 2017 will be the years to burn, before the entire process is completed.
To my favorite "across the pond" pen pal brightlybob
Thank you sir - we needed a lawyer to describe the realities of yesterday's proposed transaction.
Beautifully written using your English that even American's can comprehend.
This merger, if successfully consummated, will set into motion a major change in the hospitality industry that has never been experienced up to now. It will also effect other related services in it's "wake". ( Think benefits to United Airlines alone is an example).
I remember reading that directly or indirectly Marriott is the largest purchaser of bedding in the United States - etc etc etc.
The "jury" is out and the verdict is years away on how it will change Elite member's benefits. My guess is ultimately a negative effect.
Always great to converse with my favourite pals from across the pond misterchk
And, I think you're right, these mega mergers are never proposed as "let's give our customers some of our profit". I just don't think it'll lead to the gutting of the loyalty schemes which need to be good enough to attract repetitive stayers to spend their bosses dime at Marriotts hotels.
What surprised me the most was the initial reaction of the majority of our forum. Most were thrilled with the potential increase in choices to stay or use points.
It wasn't until some of us began to comment that these mergers usually resulted negatively for consumers as well as employees of both companies.
Overall I'm pretty positive about this, many more choices is a good thing. I do see a clear opportunity for the beancounters to raid the point-hoarders, especially those in the SPG scheme which I anticipate will simply be subsumed into the Marriott Rewards program. SPG members have much to be concerned about here, they will gain breakfast, and won't lose lounge access, but their suite upgrades and 4pm checkouts, not to mention the "my24" scheme are definitely endangered. I doubt SPG members will see much joy at Courtyards.
Thank you sir.
I have visited Oxford many times over the years and have enjoyed every moment, (even suffering the weather)
My daughter will be spending her Junior Year Abroad at Oxford (she attends Sarah Lawrence College in New York)) beginning in September (2016) - Might have the opportunity to meet and have a drink.
I also have concerns. I'm Lifetime Gold in Marriott and Gold in Starwood. The Starwood status is gifted by the Am Ex Platinum card. I also have the Marriott and Starwood credit cards. Starwood points are far more valuable when transferring into airline points. For every 20,000 points, I receive 25,000 airline points in most prgrams. I like to transfer into AA because their awards are more available and for less points. Even with their recent changes, I can get business class to Hawaii for 80,000 points round trip. Marriott rapes you when transferring into airlines. This is bad news. Delta, if you are very lucky, gets 130,000 and up for those tickets. United just has NO availability for them. I fly from the east coast and coach is just murder on you from there.
I'll have to transfer all my Starwood points before they combine the programs.
For Marriott Rewards, this is a win, win. French Polynesia is now possible with 3 properties. I suspect some of the top tier properties will group into the Ritz-Carlton collection. Others, they will just sell off. They don't need the lower tier properties because they are covered with those. For those going to Hawaii, it is a win, win. The Royal Hawaiian is sure to go into the Autograph Collection and possibly the Moana Surfrider. The Sheraton next door, would make a great JW. All are right on the beach. You also have the Sheraton Princess Kalulani to pick from. That's a lot of properties with Marriott's existing hotels.
With the conversion into time shares of part of the Marriott on the Big Island, the Sheraton Kona Resort gives them another high end option. They are also getting a premier property on Hanalei Bay in Kauai at the St. Regis Princeville Resort and The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, as well as the Sheraton Kauai Resort.
In Maui you have an additional 3 high end properties to choose from giving you better location choices....south, midway and north.
I'm happy for the Marriott people, but feel the Starwood people will be jumping ship. Hilton is a bad option for a rewards program, so I think they'll be looking at Hyatt.
Only time will tell....
Message was edited by: MyCatDixie
Frankly, I used to stay at various Starwood properties but quit since they were not being well maintained and the staff was not as friendly as Marriott. However I am not pleased with this merger since per the airline mergers, the value of elite membership went down just because the number of elite members increased a lot.
...I am a total marriott girl!...for nearly 25 years I have only stayed at marriotts...I will even go out of my way to be able to stay at a marriott....over the years I have compared the rewards programs of hiltons, holiday inns and others to marriotts...but I personally do not think they even come close to having a rewards program that is as good as marriotts...again...my humble opinion...sooo I certainly hope they dont mess with our rewards program too much...just sayin'...have a blessed day!
The "Big 4" all have different ideas on rewarding loyalty:
IHG is mainly about points, top tier (75 nights) gets 20 per $. In-stay benefits are thin, 500/600 arrival points (yet more points!) , wifi, maybe a room upgrade, no mandated breakfast, no mandated lounge access. Their mantra is all about the points and redeems at 5,000-50,000 points per night.
Hilton mixes points with better in-stay benefits. Top tier Diamond (60 nights) choosing to double dip with points gets 20 per $, wifi, likely room upgrade and a checkin mandated choice between 1000 points or daily free breakfast/lounge access. Redemption costs are very high however from 5,000-95,000 points per night (and only about 100 hotels worldwide are at 5000 points).
Marriott goes further with the in-stay benefits so top tier Platinum gets 15 points per $, wifi, 500 arrival points, likely room upgrade and both mandated free breakfast and mandated lounge access. Redemption costs are similar to IHG at 7,500-45,000 points.
SPG goes furthest on the in-stay benefits. Top tier here, Platinum (75 nights) earns only 4 points per $ but the 500 arrival points represent a better arrival sum. Likely room upgrades, guaranteed suite upgrades and mandated lounge access make it well respected on the benefits side, though note no mandated breakfast, other than with lounge access. The redemption table starts at 3,000 points but tops out at 35,000 points which means that its earn and burn ratio leaves it some distance behind the other 3.
My comparisons on rates of earn and burn have always turned out with Marriott being the best, IHG second, Hilton 3rd and SPG plumb last. The feeling amongst SPG members is they have much fear from the Marriott takeover but I'm not so sure, apart from a good record in room upgrading, most especially to suites, the SPG program and particularly points earn and burn, pales next to Marriott. I think SPG members will be pleasantly surprised by Marriott Rewards, unless of course they really value those suite upgrades!
The biggest problem for me is points conversion into airline points, which I use all the time. 20,000 SPG points equals 25,000 airline points in most programs except United. Marriott wants about 3 to 1 for conversion unless you get a vacation package. This is a huge problem for those of us with SPG points.
I love Marriott and choose to stay there most of the time, but SPG points are more valuable.
mycatdixie You seem to have two choices (forgive the obvious)
Convert the points you currently have or "hope" (which could be useless) that MR will receive your SPG points at a conversion rate that will recognize their value.
I'm sure you are not the only SPG member with this concern.
OH yes, mycatdixie there's no question that SPG points are more valuable, but so they should be, a dollar spent by an top tier IHG/Hilton yields 20 points, Marriott 15, SPG just 4 points!
Those SPG points need to be more valuable. 4 times more valuable on $ spend in fact.
And they're not. Not on hotel redemption. Not on airline miles.
THe the fact is that IHG and Marriott have a much better earn and burn rate (return per $ spent) than SPG. SPG earn and burn is competing with Hiltons gutted scheme. SPGs need have no fear about Marriotts earn and burn rate, they are about to start seeing better returns per $ spent, however, they are going to experience Marriotts somewhat lower grade in-stay benefits package.
We can only hope the new program adopts Marriotts earn and burn and SPGs in-stay benefit program, though this does remind me of what was said about British Leyland cars in the 1980's which managed to take the worst from its Japanese team-up using British build quality (shoddy) and Japanese cabin design (dull).
I agree, Marriott has by far the best rewards program out there in my opinion too. I have a Starwood Gold membership, but the perks fall short of what Marriott offers. A few years ago I decided I was hurting myself dividing my time up between the two brands and decided to support Marriott due to the perks. I will stay at Starwood properties if a Marriott is not nearby, which is rarely, but when I do its always a pleasant experience. I only recall one upgrade when I used SPG exclusively. I was visiting DC and staying at the St. Regis on business for 4 days. I booked a 620 sq foot Metropolitan Suite. My husband and 5 year old twins at the time were accompanying me. Upon arrival I was informed I had been upgraded to the St. Regis Suite, 1040 sq foot corner suite. We had an amazing stay. The "heavenly bed" is the best bed I have slept on away from home. But I am sure this is only a preference thing. I will enjoy having the extra properties to select from when traveling, but I hope it does not impact our points. Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best. Maybe we will all be pleasantly surprised. :-)
Welcome to the forum.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your thoughtful concern of my choice of font and uppercase usage. I will do my utmost to give it more thought in the future.
In the interim I would suggest that there are more important issues than my crude attempt at graphic art.
Perhaps a little more thought on your part like thinking "outside the box of letters" will help you see the inequities that sometime occur where your opinion will be more constructive.
At the time this thread was posted dansplan the Marriott/Starwood takeover was astonishing news.
A few months earlier SPG had said it was looking for buyers, Hilton and Marriott both indicated they weren't interested, IHG needed a partner and speculation mounted on a merger there, then Hyatt began discussions for a reverse takeover, then suddenly came the announcement that those talks had ended AND MARRIOTT HAD DONE THE DEAL. It was genuinely jaw-dropping, not so much that Marriott having expressed no interest at the beginning ended up eventually being the buyer but that one day it was Hyatt, and the very next they were out and the Marriott deal was DONE.
Now its all old hat and a big shouty thread like this looks hyperbole, but it most certainly wasn't when it was posted!
I agree. There are some locations that I want to visit/revisit where I prefer the SPG property to the Marriott. Napa CA as an example. I haven't stayed at the Marriott Napa, but I haven't heard great things and from several people. I have however stayed at the Westin Napa and it was awesome. Eventually I should be able to use points once the merger/buyout is approved and the rewards programs are combined. More options at destinations I like is always a good thing.
The Napa property, far from exceptional is in fact very acceptable.
I have had a few wonderful stays - have been upgraded to a Jr. Suite and, if you look closely at their name, the word "resort" is absent. Consequently they have a CL.
The next time you are in Napa, and looking to use points, I don't believe you will be disappointed.