Marriott-Starwood deal done, loyalty programs to be combined

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With Marriott International completing its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts on Friday, members of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs are eligible to start transferring points between accounts.

Marriott launched a microsite to enable members of both loyalty programs to learn how to link accounts.

Customers are eligible to transfer points at a 3-to-1 ratio (three Marriott Rewards points equals one SPG Starpoint). Starwood and Marriott guests will have their current status matched in the combined company’s loyalty program.

Guests are eligible for “exclusive member rates” as well as perks such as free WiFi when reserving rooms directly, through Marriott and Starwood websites, mobile apps and call centers.

Other member perks include a chance to win tickets to the Super Bowl party and the 2016 World Series as well as access to SPG luxury suites at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Marriott paid $21 in cash plus 0.8 shares of Marriott stock per Starwood share. At Marriott’s closing stock price of $69.80, the acquisition was worth about $13 billion.

Marriott now oversees more than 5,700 hotels totaling about 1.1 million rooms across 30 brands, making it the largest hotel company in the world. In comparison, Hilton Worldwide has about 4,700 hotels and 775,000 rooms, and InterContinental Hotels Group has about 5,000 hotels and 749,000 rooms.

“Marriott will deliver an unparalleled guest experience with more hotels in more global destinations, an unrivaled range of comprehensive accommodations to suit every traveler, and the industry’s best loyalty programs,” said Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson.

With the acquisition, Marriott added three board members, including former Starwood CEO Bruce Duncan. The company will hold a conference call on Friday.

On Oct. 14, Marriott will hold a “Global Travel Day” at New York City’s Rockefeller Center to promote the combined company. The festival will feature a 4,140-square-foot interactive map showing Marriott’s global footprint.

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