Business Traveller (India) - - UPFRONT -

MAR­RIOTT IN­TER­NA­TIONAL has un­veiled plans for the merg­ing of its three loy­alty pro­grammes over the next six to 12 months, with mem­bers able to com­bine their ac­counts un­der one plat­form start­ing Au­gust.

Mem­bers have been able to link their ac­counts, trans­fer points and sta­tus match since 2016, but this goes one stage fur­ther, com­bin­ing ac­counts un­der one as-yet-un­named plat­form.

e Mar­riott Re­wards, Ritz-Carl­ton Re­wards and SPG brands will con­tinue to ex­ist un­til early 2019, when a new sin­gle name will be an­nounced for the uni ed scheme.

Mem­bers of all the pro­grammes – a to­tal of 110 mil­lion across the three schemes – will be emailed over the course of the next few months, ex­plain­ing how they can com­bine their ac­counts in Au­gust.

At this point all mem­bers will be able to book re­ward stays across Mar­riott’s en­tire port­fo­lio of 29 brands (there are in fact 30 brands, but Bul­gari Ho­tels and Re­sorts do not par­tic­i­pate in any of the schemes) at mar­,, the Mar­riott and SPG apps, or by con­tact­ing cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tres.

One cur­rency will be cre­ated, with SPG Star­points mul­ti­plied by three dur­ing con­ver­sion. Go­ing for­ward mem­bers will earn ten points for ev­ery US$1 spent at ho­tels ( ve points per US$1 spent at ex­tended stay brands).

Also to fol­low in 2019 will be peak and o peak re­ward night pric­ing, with o peak rates to be set around 20 per cent lower.

ere has been much dis­cus­sion on travel fo­rums over the last cou­ple of years as to how the Mar­riott and Star­wood pro­grammes would be com­bined, and which mem­bers might lose out as a re­sult, but Flueck at­tempted to as­suage these con­cerns.

“ere’s been a lot of anx­i­ety from mem­bers, and a lot were con­cerned that when we com­bined the pro­grammes we would make it less rich,” said Flueck.

“In fact we’re mak­ing the pro­gramme more rich which is go­ing to be in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing news for our mem­bers. On av­er­age our mem­bers are go­ing to earn 20 per cent more points on their spend in our ho­tels, we’ve brought the very best of our lead bene ts to­gether, and made elite sta­tus eas­ier to achieve. We con­tinue to have no black­outs, and as we go to one awards chart we ac­tu­ally have more ho­tels that are go­ing down in cost than up in cost.”

A new awards re­demp­tion chart was set to go live as we went to press on this ar­ti­cle, al­though it will be a few months be­fore all 6,500 prop­er­ties are as­signed to the chart.

“To give mem­bers the con dence that in fact ho­tels aren’t go­ing up in price, we’re showing ve key cities and the top re­demp­tion ho­tels in New York, Paris, Bali, Dubai and Car­ib­bean and Mex­i­can re­sorts,” said Flueck.

Note also that Mar­riott con rms that “mem­bers who have achieved life­time sta­tus will con­tinue to have their sta­tus rec­og­nized”, and the free break­fast for Plat­inum Elite tiers and above will be ex­panded to 23 brands.

It’s not clear what will hap­pen to the co-branded Star­wood SPG credit card in the UK once the merged loy­alty pro­gramme name is un­veiled (and the SPG name pre­sum­ably dis­ap­pears), but for now at least Flueck says that the Star­wood Amex card will re­main, with mem­bers earn­ing a tripled rate of points to re ect the 1:3 con­ver­sion rate out­lined above.

Fi­nally Flueck said that the Mar­riott Mo­ments ex­pe­ri­en­tial plat­form will con­tinue to grow.

“We know that when our mem­bers travel they want to ex­plore the area – they want to go zip lin­ing in the Costa Ri­can rain­for­est, or ex­plore Paris like a lo­cal, so we are ex­pand­ing mo­ments – we’re bring­ing in 110,000 experiences in 1,000 des­ti­na­tions – and then we have 8,000 Mo­ments which are for mem­bers only to redeem their points, from at­tend­ing world class sport­ing events, go­ing to the F1, go­ing to the World Se­ries, to pri­vate con­certs for our mem­bers, or at­tend­ing shows – we have VIP seats at the O2 London as well as Madis­son Square Gar­dens in New York.” mar­

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