SPG Head Will Lead the Combined Marriott/Starwood Loyalty Program
When the Starwood-Marriott merger finalized late last year, the (obvious) first question from SPG and Marriott Rewards members alike was what was going to happen to their beloved program? On the day the merger finalized, TPG hosted Thom Kozik, VP of global loyalty at Marriott, and David Flueck, then-SVP of revenue management of SPG, for a Facebook Live to discuss the future of both programs.
Since the merger was finalized that day (and members were able to immediately link their accounts and match their status), the company has taken steps to bring the two programs inline. And today, we've learned that the SPG-Marriott program is going to continue to develop under the helm of a (former) SPG executive. Beginning today, David Flueck is the SVP of Loyalty for the entire combined brand.
Flueck said on a phone call that his focus is on bringing the best of both the SPG and Marriott Rewards programs together. Since the first day the merger was finalized, Marriott has launched a pilot Ambassador-like service, similar to SPG's, and is expanding its Marriott Rewards Experiences portfolio — both of which are in the pilot stages of development.
The timeline for full integration of the two programs is still to be decided — at least not until 2018. Flueck noted that the combined company has to work through some incredibly complicated details in merging the two brands, such as creating one unified program and syncing technology. However, he said that the first three priorities are: 1) bringing together the best of both the Marriott Rewards and SPG programs; 2) building the technology to allow them to do so; and 3) figuring out what to do with its credit cards, as SPG is currently with American Express and Marriott is with Chase.
Flueck has been with Starwood Preferred Guest since 2004. During his 13-year tenure, he's worked with the SPG program and helped to develop it into what members have come to love — the value that can be had from Starpoints, the services available to elite members and more. In his new role, Flueck will report to Marriott's Global Marketing Officer, Karin Timpone. Under the new leadership structure, Thom Kozik will continue his role as VP of Loyalty and will report to Flueck.
Overall, this is good news for members from both SPG and Marriott Rewards. Flueck has a history of bringing about positive developments in the SPG program, and the company continues to benefit from Kozik's insights as a frequent traveler; he has a strong entrepreneur background and understands what is desired in a loyalty program.
David Flueck is on the right side of the featured image above.