Marriott Expects a Better Credit Card Deal and One Program

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When Senior Executives speak in public, interesting little pieces of knowledge often come out, and it was no different when Marriott’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lenny Oberg spoke at the Goldman Sachs Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant, & Leisure Conference. Some interesting details emerged about the future relationship between Marriott and SPG.

Ko Olina Marriott

First, she indicated that the company aims to bring the Sheraton brand back up to par. Out of the 200 Sheraton properties, they took the 50 bottom properties in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction, and 25 are being renovated, a couple have exited the Sheraton Brand, and the company is in discussions with the rest of the properties.

In terms of further Marriott SPG integration, Oberg confirmed that hopefully the loyalty programs would be fully merged into one by late 2018. The biggest hurdle faced was the technical challenge of combining the backend IT infrastructure so that it is capable of running both front ends, and ultimately merging into one program.

The other biggest challenge facing integrating the Marriott and SPG programs, is the current credit card deals, with Marriott being signed up by Chase, and SPG being a client of American Express. Not surprisingly, she expects the new credit card agreement to be much stronger due to competition. Which ultimately will be great news for everyone involved.

The hardest item to resolve will be the timeshare deals the companies have since they are usually 80-year contracts. Oberg didn’t elaborate on how these deals will be solved. Finally, she commented on what Marriott can gain from Starwood’s, especially brand marketing, innovation, and running a loyalty program.

Overall

While there is still plenty of time, it might be a good time to consider picking up one or several of the hotels’ cards. Deciding whether to opt for the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card or not will depend on your spending patterns. Either way with the programs combining and plenty of time there are many opportunities to maximize your earnings in preparation for the merger of your accounts.

Source: View from the Wing

Marriott Expects a Better Credit Card Deal and One Program
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Comments

  • Curious to see the new developments. While certainly SPG will gain some added foot print in the market, this could potentially benefit us.

  • We’ve seen some positives so far (3:1 SPG transfer ratio, benefits across brands), but until the final ink is dry, who knows if it will be an overall positive, negative, or neutral result from this merger.

    • If you look at the miles conversion rate you’ll receive another ratio – 5 to 1, so I estimate Starwood points much more.

    • I’m optimistic at least for the first few years, maintaining SPG guest loyalty will be top priority for Marriott

  • good info on those low performing Sheraton hotels, hope to see the improvements

  • More partnerships the better IMO. Can only improve some of the chains and offer point collectors more choice.

  • I hope the brand stays closer to Amex than Chase, solely for avoidance of the 5/24 rule.

  • Hopefully this change will afford us some arbitrage opportunities or at least some new sweet spots…. Anxiously awaiting

  • I wonder who the issuer will be. In any case I hope they retain SPG points value.

  • Wasn’t this a while ago? I wonder what one program means. Sheraton is apparently supposed to be a luxury brand. Who knew?

  • So much to undertake, corporately. It will be interesting to follow any progress being made.

  • The current Marriott credit card product is weak, so “stronger” is a low bar.

  • I was rather hoping that Marriott would want to keep two credit card deals (and therefore keep SPG open awhile longer…)

  • Spiffing up the Sheratons is good for all. Hopefully, the merger of the credit cards will somehow benefit us the consumers and not just the banks/hotel chains. thanks for the information.

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    The merger of the Marriott card is only going to be of benefit to the point collector. Multiple brands to redeem on and a stronger bonus system, win, win!

  • Alice Chen says:

    Any idea what happens to the existing cards?

  • Great!!! Moving in the right direction for sure!

  • I’d like to see how this works out. So far just talk. Let’s see in a year how it looks.

  • Air Flyer says:

    Quite interesting. I’m looking forward to the big merger.

  • SPG amex card is more valuable than Marriott chase. If it’s gone, not sure if I will sign up for Marriott card, or switch to Hyatt

  • Let’s hope the “stronger” credit card deal significantly improves their current offerings…I’ll believe it when I see it!

  • Sebastian says:

    Weak – this is interesting, as there is no Card for Germany al together…So I’m hoping they will improve it

  • My suspicions tell me that they are in the back room figuring how to maximize company return on the credit card deals. While also devaluation scheme. Most likely they will stick with chase. Amex not accepted everywhere and they just paid a fortune for Hilton exclusive. Done deal Marriott card from chase. Get Amex Spg before it is gone.

  • I hope the new credit card is a better deal for the consumer. I am not happy about Marriott instituting a 72 hour cancellation policy on reservations.

  • Jon Karol says:

    I’m anxiously trying to be optimistic, but I’m guessing I have a year left to get real value out of my SPG Amex before it’s folded into a new, inferior product. So, I’m going to figure out a plan for the best way to spend the points I have before this happens.

  • For those unable to get the marriot card( 5/24), I wonder if the SPG will be converted?

  • Although all we can do is speculate at this time, I believe most people are hoping the new program will have the same amount of airline transfer partners as SPG. If this does not occur, it will mean one fewer truly flexible points programs, and that will be a great loss.

  • I really hope the 1:1.25 points to airline miles transferability will still be there after the merger.

  • Hopefully they will want to up the bar enough for us the consumer to see some significant changes we can all benefit from

  • I hope a better deal than all others revealed thus far happens. Many of these cards I believe could be much stronger

  • Better for Marriott. Screw Chase, Amex, and right the customers.

  • nice, need to cut down hard pulls!

  • Fingers crossed… I like Marriott as a chain so much and would love a good reason to pick up a card!

  • Everyone always says that SPG is stronger so who knows which will come out ahead on this. I’m hoping that Visa or MasterCard will bid well, since like someone else said, Amex is not accepted everywhere. I might go for Hilton Amex instead.

    Marriott did change their cancelation policy. I hear most people upset about it and I agree it’s not the best but maybe it’ll help get upgrades at the last minute? ;o) If elite and customers complain enough then maybe they’ll change back, if other hotels don’t follow along. I usually see that. Any other hotels you hear changing or thinking about it?

  • Really want to see what will happen to the brands credit cards. I hope it gets a very good bonus and perks

  • I think Chase will get it, but I hope Amex is the issuer whenever there is a new card.

  • want to see a better sign up bonus then what they have now. looking forward to the super ritz card deals.

  • I think this should be interpreted that the value for customers will be focused on the credit card programs more than the hotel earning options.

    I am a little worried that the SPG 20,000 to 25,000 airline mile transfers will be gone.

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