When Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016, the merger created a monster of a program that quickly became the best reward program of its kind. Membership in the two programs has been merged as of this year, and now Marriott Rewards has expanded its reach to include more than 34 million members in the United States.

Marriott Rewards is a program that rewards you for traveling with the Marriott hotel chain. The program is now part of the Starwood chain, but if you don’t mind the change, the program has a lot to offer.

The Starwood merger has made the world of frequent-travelers a bit more complicated, but one thing remains the same: Marriott Rewards is still a better program than it was prior to the Starwood merger. The new program has weathered the storm and remains a top contender for your loyalty dollars, even after the new program has settled into its new form.

Why Marriott Rewards Is Better Than It Was Before The Starwood Merger

 

Why Is Marriott Rewards Better Than It Was Before The Starwood Acquisition?

on July 23, 2022 by Gary Leff

I dunk on Marriott a lot for its failure to deliver on promised benefits, for its clueless customer service agents, and its broken IT. And Starwood members are generally unhappy with the Marriott Bonvoy program. To be fair, benefits aren’t received as consistently as they used to be for Starwood members. The credit card’s earning isn’t as rich. And top status is harder to earn, with a minimum spend requirement at the 100-night level to receive ‘Ambassador’ service that no longer includes an individual assigned Ambassador.

However, the Marriott Rewards program members have reaped the benefits of the Starwood merger, which is easy to overlook.

  • There was no assurance of a late checkout prior to the Starwood acquisition.
  • There is no breakfast at resorts, and as an elite perk, there are more brands.
  • The Marriott credit card now offers a higher earning rate for spending than it did before (basically meeting the Starwood Amex in the middle)
  • Suite upgrades were not guaranteed if a suite was available upon check-in prior to the Starwood merger, and there was no advance suite upgrade program or 24-hour check-in for top elites, and no Ambassador program at all.

Marriott Rewards members don’t have nearly the same earn-burn value as they formerly did, with hotels needing more points than before (and a single Marriott point worth a bit less). They do, however, have access to far better hotels than they had previously — the Starwood portfolio includes aspirational properties throughout the globe where points may be spent, while Marriott’s pre-merger inventory was much more workmanlike generally.

Marriott has lost its sine qua non of consistency, which is difficult for members to accept and an entirely valid complaint. And Marriott hasn’t lived up to the high promises it made to Bonvoy members when it first debuted. But it doesn’t alter the fact that the merger benefited pre-merger Marriott Rewards members.

Starwood members, on the other hand, who stayed with the program because of the exclusive experience, have a valid complaint. Those advantages aren’t as simple to get or use in a consistent manner. Credit cards aren’t as valuable as they once were. There are some redemption values that are ‘beyond the award chart’ (charging double the points of a top category hotel – or more) and there are more places to redeem compared to Starwood pricing at top end hotels that were ‘beyond the award chart’ (charging double the points of a top category hotel – or more).

More From the Wing’s Perspective

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The Starwood merger was supposed to unite two of the world’s largest hotel chains into a single network, bringing together Starwood’s world-renowned brands, including Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Sheraton, Aloft, and Le Méridien with Marriott’s flagship brands, including Courtyard, Delta, J.W. Marriott, and Marriott Hotels.” After the merger, Marriott Rewards members will be able to earn and redeem points for both the Starwood and Marriott brands, and earn and redeem points for both the Starwood and Marriott brands.. Read more about marriott-starwood merger issues and let us know what you think.

Starwood is a hotel chain, while Marriott is a hotel company."}},{"@type":"Question","name":"Is Starwood Preferred Guest the same as Marriott?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":" Starwood Preferred Guest is a hotel loyalty program that was created by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Marriott is not affiliated with this program, nor is it owned by the same company."}},{"@type":"Question","name":"Should I combine SPG and Marriott accounts?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":" Marriott and SPG are two different brands, so combining them would not be a good idea."}}]}

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Starwood and Marriott?

Starwood is a hotel chain, while Marriott is a hotel company.

Is Starwood Preferred Guest the same as Marriott?

Starwood Preferred Guest is a hotel loyalty program that was created by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Marriott is not affiliated with this program, nor is it owned by the same company.

Should I combine SPG and Marriott accounts?

Marriott and SPG are two different brands, so combining them would not be a good idea.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • marriott merger with starwood
  • starwood hotels
  • marriott and starwood
  • marriott acquires starwood
  • is marriott part of starwood
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