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By now, we’ve expected the Marriott/Starwood merger to be well underway, but Chinese regulators have opted to delay their approval, leaving both companies in limbo for another month or so. That doesn’t mean Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest managers haven’t already begun developing a plan to combine the two programs — if the below screenshot is any indication, that process may begin sooner than later.
As you can see above, a screenshot uploaded by Marriott to Apple’s App Store includes an option to “Link your Marriott Rewards account to your SPG account.” Notably, the downloadable version of the app does not include this option, so there’s no indication of what you’ll be able to do with a linked account — I wouldn’t expect that you’ll have the ability to transfer points between programs, for example, but this appears to be a first step to combining your two accounts once Marriott does decide to flip the switch.
For now, we’re still left waiting for news — assuming Marriott is able to secure approval from Chinese regulators, we should have more to share within the next few weeks.
Here’s a recap of our Marriott/Starwood merger coverage to date:
May 1, 2015 — Rumors of IHG preparing a bid to acquire Starwood
October 28, 2015 — Starwood CEO Adam Aron mentions the possibility of a sale during an earnings call
November 16, 2015 — Marriott announces its intention to acquire Starwood
November 20, 2015 — Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson addresses questions about Marriott and SPG
January 22, 2016 — TPG chatted SPG with Marriott’s Vice President of Loyalty
February 24, 2016 — TPG shares plans to attend a Marriott loyalty forum in Los Angeles
March 14, 2016 — Starwood and Marriott acknowledge Anbang’s bid
March 18, 2016 — Starwood accepts Anbang’s bid
March 18, 2016 — Starwood CEO Tom Mangas addresses the latest acquisition news
March 21, 2016 — Marriott Outbids Anbang with Latest Offer for Starwood
March 28, 2016 — Marriott Isn’t Submitting a Higher Bid for Starwood Hotels
March 31, 2016 — Anbang Won’t Be Acquiring Starwood After All
April 19, 2016 — Marriott’s Integrating Some SPG Benefits Long Before the Merger
May 11, 2016 — Two Hotel Owners Suing Marriott and Starwood Over Upcoming Merger
August 9, 2016 — China’s Been Holding up the Starwood-Marriott Merger
H/T: One Mile at a Time
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