Update: September 23, 2016
Marriott closed on its merger with Starwood on September 23, 2016. And the news for now is that there will be no change to either rewards program or rewards credit card through 2017.
Not only do you get to enjoy your current rewards program until 2018, you also get some additional perks out of the merger.
- Keep Accounts and Points: You will be able to maintain your current accounts with both Starwood and Marriott. You also will retain all your Starpoints and Marriott Rewards points.
- Link Accounts: You will be able to link your existing Starwood and Marriott loyalty accounts.
- Status Match: You will have your highest status with either program honored at all Starwood and Marriott hotels.
- Points Transfer: You can earn points in one program and then transfer them to the other. Three Marriott Rewards points will equal one SPG Starpoint, and vice versa.
- Keep Your Rewards Card: Both the Starwood Preferred Guest Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Card will remain active.
- More Choices: You will have more choices to choose from, as you can now stay at any Marriott and Starwood properties (including Ritz-Carlton hotels).
Plus: Do not miss the enormous travel hack opportunity offered by this merger. Click here for all the details.
In case you missed the news, Marriott announced last month that it will buy Starwood Hotels.
Normally, news from Wall Street does not make it onto the pages of CreditShout. However, in this case we will be tracking the progress of this merger to see how it impacts:
- Starwood Preferred Guest Members
- Holders of the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card
- Marriott Rewards members
- Holders of Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
Right now, no details have been released on how Marriott plans to merge the Starwood Preferred Guest ("SPG") rewards program into the Marriott Rewards program. Nor is there any indication as to the fate of the Starwood American Express card.
From my research, I think the SPG rewards program is better than the Marriott Rewards program. In fact, the consensus is that each SPG point is worth twice as much as a Marriott point.
So after the merger, Starpoints might not even translate over on a 1-to-1 basis. But, we will need to wait and see.
Co-Branded Credit Cards
As for the credit cards, American Express is the issuer/underwriter for the Starwood credit card. And Chase issues the Marriott rewards card.
Most speculation I've seen is that only one or the other card will survive. In that case, my money will be on the Chase Marriott Rewards Card being the surviving rewards card.
But it is possible that we end up seeing something similar to what happened after the American Airlines-US Airways merger. Barclay's existing US Air card customers were able to keep their cards. But CitiCard (which had the American co-branded card already) became the only issuer able to sign up new customers.
However, there will no changes to either rewards program or the existing rewards credit cards until 2018. So you have over a year to continue earning points in your existing program and with your existing rewards card. And during that time you will be able to enjoy the added perks of being the member of a larger chain than before.
Starwood American Express Card Alternatives
If you are worried about losing your Starwood AmEx card after the merger, and want an alternative American Express business card, you may want to consider either the Simply Cash card (our review) or the Plum card (our review). We prepared an article highlighting the pros and cons of each card here.