The news we’ve all been waiting for is here—Marriott International and Starwood have finally completed their $13 billion merger. With the sale originally announced almost a year and a half ago, the twists and turns surrounding the Marriott Starwood merger occasionally felt like a daytime soap opera. Through it all, the travel industry has been anxiously waiting to hear the details, especially how travelers and travel managers will make out in the end.
What happened with Starwood?
- In April 2015, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide first put itself up for sale.
- They initially had 30 serious parties interested in merging, both U.S. and international.
- In November 2015, Starwood announced a deal with Marriott for $12.2 billion. (Read Skift’s article about how Marriott played hard to get here.)
- They slated the deal would be finalized by mid-2016, with a $400 million termination fee if it didn’t go through.
- From there, the merger needed approval by regulatory authorities in over 40 countries. The U.N. also approved the deal in June.
- The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) requested more time in August to review the merger. They finally approved the deal September 20, 2016.
- This merger created the world’s largest hotel company.
Marriott, the largest hotel company, ever:
- The new company now has over 30 hotel brands. This includes operating or franchising more than 7,500 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries.
- The hotels that are now under the Marriott- Starwood merger include:
- Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio, Four Points by Sheraton, Element, and many more.
What does the Marriott Starwood merger mean for travelers?
One of the biggest concerns about the merger have been regarding the loyalty programs. Both companies have their own loyalty programs. And as any frequent travelers knows, their perks often keep the customer loyal. Well, good news for any worried road warrior out there. Marriott has acknowledged the necessity of loyalty programs since the beginning of the merger. Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, said integrating Starwood’s guest loyalty program was ‘central, strategic, rationale for the transaction.’
This week, Marriott announced the loyalty points will be linked and transferable. One Starwood Preferred Guest point will be worth three Marriott Reward points. This is yet another strategic tactic that many travelers wont be able to pass up. The process to connect your loyalty rewards is already set up and ready to go. Simply start at Marriott’s New Member page and follow the steps.