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Here's What Marriott Plans to Do with Starwood Preferred Guest

March 22, 2016
3 min read
Here's What Marriott Plans to Do with Starwood Preferred Guest
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This week, the Starwood merger/acquisition saga continued when Marriott responded to Anbang's bid with a higher offer of its own. To recap everything that's happened to date, check out these posts below:

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

While Anbang is expected to respond with its own boosted bid, Marriott is moving forward with business as usual — the company held a conference call for investors yesterday, during which executives detailed some of the chain's post-merger plans. As Gary Leff notes, Marriott has for the first time acknowledged that it will combine Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

As you can see in the slide above, Marriott plans to run Starwood Preferred Guest as its own program shortly following the merger, as you might expect. Eventually, however, the two programs will be combined, at which point members of either program will have access to both brands' properties around the world. It sounds like there's even a chance that we could see multiple co-branded credit cards stick around, including the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card and perhaps even a version of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Finally, Marriott addressed some of Starwood's brands on the call — according to Skift, brands like W and St. Regis will stick around, while Luxury Collection properties may become part of Marriott's "Autograph Collection," according to Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson (as Skift reports):

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We look at what’s happened at [Starwood’s] The Luxury Collection and compare that to our launch of the Autograph Collection just about five years ago — a brand which already has 100 hotels — and we think we can bring that similar kind of growth to The Luxury Collection.

That means by the time Starwood's two new Luxury Collection properties open their doors in Cuba, they could be part of the Autograph Collection, instead. Or they might not.

How do you feel about a combined Marriott/Starwood loyalty program?

H/T: View from the Wing