Marriott International has officially completed the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the hotel chain announced in a press release on Friday. This makes Marriott the largest hotel company in the world.
If you are a member of the Marriott Rewards program — which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards — or Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program, here’s what you need to know about this change.
Merging the Rewards Programs
Starting Friday, you can visit members.marriott.com to link your Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts, according to the acquisition press release. With this merge, account status will be matched between both plans and members can transfer and/or redeem points across programs. The points are transferrable at a three-to-one ratio (three Marriott Rewards points are equal to one SPG point). These points are redeemable for travel and merchandise through the loyalty shopping mall. Member benefits will include discounted rates, access to exclusive “money-can’t-buy events and experiences,” free in-room Wi-Fi and more.
According to the website, the programs will “continue to operate as separate entities for some time,” and it’s expected to remain that way until at least 2018.
What About Credit Cards?
“Everything is additive, there will be no change to the credit card programs at this time,” Thom Kozik, vice president of loyalty for Marriott International, said in an email.
For now, Marriott Rewards will remain paired with Chase for its credit card, and the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card will stay with American Express. An email from a Marriott spokesperson said that “current card holders should continue to use their cards as usual” and that “no new cards will be issued.”
Choosing a Hotel Rewards Credit Card
If you’re considering getting a new credit card tied to your hotel loyalty program (you can see some of the best hotel rewards credit cards here), it’s important to keep in mind that this type of plastic generally requires a good credit score in order for you to qualify. Before you apply, it’s a good idea to take a look at where your credit currently stands so you can determine your chances of getting the card. (You can see a free snapshot of your credit report, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)
If you find that your scores aren’t in great shape, you can do something about it — pay down your current debts, repair any errors on your credit reports and limit credit inquiries until your scores have time to rebound.
At publishing time, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
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