Marriott, Ritz, Starwood: Unified Benefits

Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada, at the reception introducing loyalty unification held in Toronto recently.

Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada, at the reception introducing loyalty unification held in Toronto recently.

TORONTO — Marriott International will introduce one set of unified benefits across Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) rewards in August 2018, creating a rich hospitality loyalty program with 110,000 members, including 3,700 in Canada.

A performance by Canadian icon Sarah McLachlan headlined a high-energy event at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto recently, as Marriott International announced the one set of unified benefits.

With the revamped loyalty program, effective August 2018, members will be able to combine their separate Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on under the new set of unified benefits until a new program name is introduced in 2019.

Also beginning in August,
travellers will have the ability to book stays across the entire portfolio for
the first time on Marriott.com, SPG.com and the Marriott and SPG apps, or by contacting
customer engagement centers. 

Sarah McLachlan (left) and Marriott's Jen Bryl.

Sarah McLachlan (left) and Marriott's Jen Bryl.

“We are now the largest hotel loyalty program in the world, now that we have combined 30 brands with 29 under the loyalty program,” said Jen Bryl, director loyalty marketing and CRM, Canada for Marriott. But, she added, the goal is not necessarily to be the largest, but the world's favourite loyalty club — something Marriott has to earn from its members.

The unification process began on in 2016 Day One of the Marriott-Starwood merger, as members of the two loyalty programs received instant status matching and the ability to transfer points between the programs. But there was still lots to be done at the back end to integrate two systems and two programs and align benefits, said Bryl. Since then, Marriott International has worked hard on those back-end capabilities, and come August, the three programs will become one.

Benefits will include access to the
6,500-strong portfolio of hotels, expansion of the Moments experiential
platform and richer and enhanced benefits for members.

Sarah McLachlan performs at the Marriott event announcing the unified benefits.

Sarah McLachlan performs at the Marriott event announcing the unified benefits.

Achieve Elite
Status and Earn Points Faster

In August, members will
be able to earn and redeem across the entire portfolio of participating hotels
and earn elevated benefits and elite status faster with new elite tiers. The breakfast offering
for Platinum and Platinum Premier members will be expanded to 23 participating
brands, including Courtyard, AC Hotels by Marriott, Protea and Moxy, as well
as  resorts.

Under the unified
benefits, a single points currency will be introduced. In August, SPG members will
see their points balance triple. SPG, Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton
Rewards members will all earn ten points for every dollar spent at all brands
except for Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element which will be five
points per every dollar spent. With bonuses, elite members will earn even more
for stays. In August, all members will begin earning points for food and
beverage and qualifying incidentals on their folio, rather than just the room
rate.

Simpler to Redeem
Points

To make it easier for
members to redeem points, all hotels throughout the loyalty portfolio will have
no blackout dates for points redemptions. In addition, a Free Night Award chart
with peak, standard and off-peak pricing will be adopted for all hotels. The
chart, which will launch with standard pricing in August, will add off peak and
peak in 2019.

More Mobile
Features

Members will enjoy a
significantly improved digital and mobile experience. When members book
directly on Marriott.com, SPG.com or any of Marriott’s mobile apps, they will be able
to choose from all 6,500 participating hotels, and also take advantage of
exclusive member-only rates and free Wi-Fi. In addition, members will be able
to check-in or check out, receive Room Ready Alerts chat directly with hotels
using Mobile Requests and where available use their smartphones as their room
key on all of Marriott’s mobile apps.

Co-Brand Credit
Card

Canadian card members
with the existing  Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card, can
continue to enjoy the benefits of their current card and the exciting changes
that will be announced soon. Marriott will be announcing changes to cobrand cards in
Canada at a later date. 

Increased Access
to Unparalleled Experiences

Marriott’s greatly expanded
experiential offerings on Moments can be purchased with cash and do not
require a hotel reservation. As an added benefit, Marriott Rewards, The
Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members will earn
points every time they purchase one of the new experiences. The 110,000 new
Moments experiences in 1,000 destinations are in addition to the 8,000
exclusive, member experiences that only can be redeemed with points on Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments.  In the future, all Moments experiences will be
available to be redeemed with points.

To learn more about program changes and benefits, please go here.