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Marriott International unifies its loyalty programs

Members of Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs can combine their accounts to travel all over the world.

For the first time since Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, the programs now operate under one set of unified benefits and one currency spanning the entire loyalty portfolio of 29 brands and more than 6,700 participating hotels.

Also read: AccorHotels unifies its loyalty program

"This is an exciting time for our loyalty members who now have endless inspiration to travel and experience the world to create memories that will last a lifetime," said David Flueck, Senior Vice President, Global Loyalty, Marriott International. "We merged the incredible earning and redeeming power of Marriott Rewards with the phenomenal Elite benefits of SPG to create one of the richest travel loyalty programs with the most extraordinary global portfolio of hotels – from overwater bungalows, to mountainside ski resorts, to iconic urban landmarks."

As a result of the unified, single-currency programs, when members combine their accounts, their points balances will also combine, ending the need to transfer points between programs.

The unified programs introduce a new Free Night Award chart for redemptions across the entire loyalty portfolio. Nearly 70 percent of hotels now require the same or fewer points for a free stay than before.

With the new programs comes an array of credit card options. In 2018, Marriott and its U.S. credit card partners JPMorgan Chase and American Express will offer co-branded credit cards that provide card members with more benefits across the entire loyalty portfolio.

Marriott’s loyalty programs also offer members travel experiences encompassing much more than hotel stays. Members have access to the wide collection of nearly 120,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations on the company’s Moments platform – Marriott Moments, Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments.

The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on until early 2019 until combining under a new brand name.

But integrating travel industry’s largest loyalty programs into one was never going to be easy.

Multiple users through the weekend and on Monday morning reported issues with the merged system, from the inability to log in to elite status and point balances not showing correctly.

"We are working quickly and diligently to solve all issues that have been identified. Given the complexities of a huge integration like this, we prefer not to give deadlines, but rest assured that are completely on top any issue that has arisen," said John Wolf, Vice President of Loyalty, Digital Marketing and Innovation PR at Marriott.

Merging all of those account numbers and passwords to one system would alone be a difficult task, but the IT team at Marriott also has to convert Starwood points into Marriott points and then reprice the thousands of hotels in each brand’s portfolio onto the same currency.

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