Last updated: 04:33 PM ET, Fri April 08 2016

Marriott CEO Provides Update on Future of Marriott Rewards, SPG

Hotel & Resort | Starwood Hotels and Resorts | Patrick Clarke | April 08, 2016

Marriott CEO Provides Update on Future of Marriott Rewards, SPG

With Marriott International poised to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide following Friday's shareholder meetings, in which both companies' shareholders voted in favor of the proposed merger, the focus shifts to the future of the two companies' popular loyalty reward programs: Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).

In a letter published Friday, Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson provided an update on the current state of the two programs and a timetable for when members can expect a new combined program.

"After we become one company, we expect to run parallel loyalty programs while we engage in the complicated work of integration," wrote Sorenson. "During this period, there is no change to how you manage your Marriott Rewards account or book reservations, and you will maintain your existing member benefits for some time."

VIDEO: Marriott CEO Discusses Future of Marriott Rewards, SPG Loyalty Programs

"In fact, we don't anticipate launching a newly combined program until 2018."

Marriott's acquisition of Starwood is on track to be completed in mid-2016, which means members seeking a revamped program will likely have to be patient.

Sorenson also reiterated that regardless of what direction the new company decides to take with its combined loyalty program it will aim to bring together the best of each program.

While details remain limited and likely will for some time after the merger is completed later this year, Sorenson did shed light on a trio of future initiatives, including providing members access to a collective portfolio of 5,500 hotels and resorts around the world, offering more unique benefits and providing "personalized and relevant service before, during and after the hotel stay."

READ MORE: Which Hotel Loyalty Programs Earn the Highest Satisfaction for 2016?

"In the meantime, we're actively exploring ways to build bridges between the two programs to further enhance your experience," added Sorenson.

In J.D. Power's 2016 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report, released Thursday, Marriott Rewards finished tied with Hilton Worldwide's HHonors program for the highest customer satisfaction rating, while Starwood's SPG finished 11th of the 14 analyzed programs.

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