Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Mon April 11 2016

What's Ahead for Starwood Preferred Guest Members?

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | April 11, 2016

What's Ahead for Starwood Preferred Guest Members?

Although Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide are on schedule to merge in mid-2016 following last week's shareholder vote, members of the two companies' loyalty programs shouldn't anticipate a complete transition to a combined rewards program until 2018.

But that doesn't mean Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members shouldn't expect any changes to the program until then.

In a recent emailed message to SPG members, Starwood CEO Thomas Mangas and senior vice president Chris Holdren hinted at coming additions.

READ MORE: Marriott CEO Provides Update on Future of Marriott Rewards, SPG

They also confirmed that a new combined program remains a long way out.

"Soon we will begin the long journey to integrate the very best of SPG and Marriott Rewards," the letter stated. "Through this process, your perspective will help guide these discussions."

According to the two Starwood executives, the coming years will be spent researching and brainstorming ways to deliver unique rewards and protect the value of members' currency and status while adding new hotels, resorts and destinations as a result of the impending merger.

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

Mangas and Holdren noted that Starwood's Tribute Portfolio as well as Design Hotels will be integrated into the program, while SPG will continue to look for new and unique experiences to offer members through its partnerships with Major League Baseball and other companies and organizations. 

Starwood's message to SPG members echoes the message Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson wrote to Marriott Rewards members Friday in which he pointed out there will be few or minimal changes to either program in the near future.

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

"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."


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