Some month back, the merger finally happened. Marriot has combined itself with Starwood, well more like swallowing it up. This is a mega consolidation and effectively
makes the behemoth that much larger and one more step towards an oligarchy of just a few large chains in the world.
All bad? Perhaps not.
First – if you are an SPG member or Marriot rewards card holder, you need to link your accounts to make sure that you harness the fact you can now earn points in one entity as opposed to different programmes. We used to fret over the fact that corporate arranged hotels in each city could differ, mainly because of proximity to the office. It fragmented the number of nights’ stayed on each programme and certainly splitted up the spend as well.
So far it has been a lose-lose proposition. Why would we care?
Unlike airlines, we never got to Gold/Platinum levels for hotel programmes. Perhaps there is now light at the end of the tunnel. If they combine, then perhaps the spend and nights stayed will lead us closer, if not attain the coveted “elite” level. See, another mark of differentiation from the other plebian travellers… As we had written elsewhere (here and here), the human desire to be special and distinct still drives our behaviour. For us, it’s just another way to gain a couple of free nights’ stay.
What is your experience with air-miles programmes and do you assiduously accumulate miles only in one or a limited number of programmes? Have you spent any of those earned miles? Tell us!