When more might mean less
The merger that will create the world's largest hotel company
Marriott International is acquiring Starwood Hotels and Resorts in a US$12.2 billion deal that’s expected to take effect in mid-2016. The merger will create the world's largest hotel company; the combined business will have 1.1 million rooms in more than 5500 hotels worldwide. The two companies have different business models, however, and that has some of Starwood’s 21 million Preferred Guest members concerned. Starwood has nearly 1300 hotels worldwide — it owns the Sheraton, Westin, W, Le Méridien and St. Regis hotel chains — and its loyalty program really pampers frequent customers. Staying 25 nights a year, for example, gets members 4PM checkout at most hotels; those staying at least 100 nights get a personal travel ambassador to handle their bookings and arrange customized perks. Marriott has over 4200 hotels, with 54 million Marriott Rewards members — and not a lot of frills. Stay tuned to find out if Starwood perks go the way of the dodo, just as upgrades and free flights became harder to get under frequent flier programs after recent airline mergers.
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