Another interesting, albeit fairly long, article on the merger.
No new information, but worth the read
Excellent read, particularly for those of us who are relatively recent to the acquisition.
That was an interesting read.I'm putting on my flame-retardant jacket, to deal with the backlash to my comments below, which I'm sure will follow ...
Here's what I didn't like about the article - how the article tone kept referring to how SPGers got the short end of the stick in this deal. It's an ongoing saga that has to come to an end.
The parent company sold itself to another company, that is doing it's best to appease you with no real obligation to do so, other than retain your loyalty (which is a fickle thing for all of us). Imagine how things would have played out for SPG (and by extension SPGers) without this acquisition, or worse, if Anbang group (fraud!) would have acquired SPG. I get that it sucks to lose some "expected benefits", but that's the nature of any M&A. It's how us MR elites feel about our much-beloved 7-night Air & Travel packages getting devalued tremendously. It's happening, we just have to accept it, and hopefully get some answers from the corporate overlords on what it entails.
I, for one, would like to point out, that the SPGers will have more redemption opportunities now, simply because MR valued their Starpoints at a 1:3 ratio. The higher end properties that are currently SPG (e.g. St Regis Maldives) are currently out of reach to most MR elites due to the sheer number of points needed ( I called - it was 270,000 SPG or 810K MR points for 3 nights in Nov!!!), and as soon as Aug 19 rolls around, that property will be available at deep discount for the next 3.5 months. MR members on the other hand, see their crown property (Domes of Elounda) go up insanely, to the point where only well stocked SPGers and lifetime MR point hoarders can afford them. All the resort/prime Marriotts, JW's , etc. that are going UP after Aug 18 (sucks for us MRs that could get them for 40k-45K/night) will now be readily available to those bringing SPG points at a third of the cost.
If I had the ability to stay at SPG properties for the last decade while I traveled for work, I would have. Problem is, and always has been that SPG does not have properties everywhere (like Marriott or Hilton), and those that are in the cities I travel to, rarely, if ever, offered the rate I was required to book at. Inaccessibility to a wider audience has ALWAYS been the SPG problem, and is part of why it went on sale.
In summary - It doesn't matter how we all got our status and points (CC spend, years and years of mattress runs, meetings, voodoo), what matters is we are here, let's move forward together and stop this hurt feelings routine.
I agree with you. It is time to move on. I have accepted the changes (reluctantly of course) as it is out of my control.
LOL. I started to write exactly what you wrote....and then hit the backspace key repeatedly. I didn't want to start a flame war. But since you said it, I agree. SPGers should be happy that SPG was bought out by Marriott. SPG was dying....going down the tubes....properties getting no attention and decaying. Sure, I get they had a great rewards program and they found ways to manipulate it to their advantage. But frankly, they could have lost all or most of their benefits. I think Marriott did a pretty fair job to help make SPGers whole, or close to whole. Frankly, I gasped when I read the quotes about hoping that a Chinese company would buy them out instead. Really? I'd worry about my internet being bugged and shipped back to Beijing; not to mention lots of other potential issues. Hell, if the Chinese found them guilty of fraud, imagine how bad it really was! Corruption runs rampant in China. I think our SPG brothers and sisters should be thankful that they have a decent program and that Marriott adopted several of the "perks" of their programs. They didn't get everything they had but they got most of what they had. Considering the alternative, they could have been worse than the old Marriott rewards program.
No flames from me thriftyscrooge, pretty well represents what I’ve been saying for months, how any SPGers could possibly believe they’d be better off in the hands of a company nationalised by the Chinese govt amidst allegations of rampant fraud just makes me gasp. I can see what SPGers have lost, and for a few it’s been considerable, but what they had wasn’t sustainable - that’s why Starwood hitched up its skirt and offered itself for sale on the corner of Wall Street! Compared to Anbang, Marriott turned out to be a white knight!
Can you lend me your fire helmet, thriftyscrooge?
sonnyandsam, brightlybob... yes, the Chinese option was not a good one, to say the least.
My problem lies less in the actual M&A that took place, and more with the way its being portrayed. the MR program is good for what it is. It's also why Marriott has been able to expand and retain customers in the age of AirBnb. You need a room in almost any small- big city at a decent rate, they have one...might not be the type of property that you fancy, but it's decent, has minimum standards of service you can expect, and comes with a level of familiar comfort. Have been unable to say that with SPG over the years.
I HAVE stayed at a few SPGs over the years (W, Westin and a Sheraton) and while they may be fancier (in some cases) and cater to a customer with more to spend on a nightly rate, they overdid it with pampering their customers, and ended up in an untenable position where they had to look for an M&A.
White Knight.. maybe not. At least Marriott gave it a fair shake, and tried to do right by the SPG horde... they may be rabidly faithful to the notion of "elite treatment", but instances like the one highlighted in the article (Maldives) are the reason why SPG was about to go belly up in the not too distant future.
Now, what's happening to our existing FN certificates?
Yea the Starwood travelers are whiners... :-)
Unsurprisingly, I found the article fairly represented what most of us rabid SPGers think about the merger. I wish all of these "influencers" who are agitating for more changes the very best of luck - after all, anything extra they can leverage will be available to all of us and who doesn't want more? Not sure why we SPGers complaining is "whining" and the hoards of Marriotteers complaining about the new lifetime tenure requirements aren't similarly regarded. Sometimes you need to walk in someone else's shoes to fully understand situations - try imagining how you would have felt if the merger had been the other way round and Starwood had stopped credit card nights, rewarding events etc etc - do any of you seriously suggest you would have just quietly accepted it? Most of us are doing our best to just get on with it, but any type of loss requires a period to get over it. The appalling way that the launch of the new programme has been handled is making the situation worse - instead of properly analysing and codifying the new programme before its launch, Marriott have drip-fed information and miss-information for the past 4 months and here we are with just a couple of weeks to launch and there are still hundreds of unanswered questions. Each time we hear of a new cut in benefits or drop in value there is a new storm of criticism - a classic way of miss-managing a launch. Twelve years ago I had a choice about which programmes I would hitch my wagon to - at the time Marriott was my "first choice" brand. I became totally frustrated by the constant chasing that I had to do to have my stays accurately recorded. In the end I gave up and joined Starwood and Hilton - and can honestly say I've never had any problems with either programme, other than the ubiquitous complaints about devaluation. I'm going to do my very best to make the new Marriott programme work for me (after all. its much closer now to the SPG programme than the old Marriott programme) but I certainly won't stop "whining" if Marriott can't deliver on their promises and I couldn't care less about anyone whining about my whining!
normanp honesty I don't even know how to respond to these comments, without getting reported and banned from this Insiders site! All I'm going to say, it's August(one program month) and in a few weeks there will be no more Starwood/SPG, so TBH I'm not going to even waste my time having a debate with MRI members(they will never understand anyway).
Marriott won, Starwood lost. I don't care anymore.
The best thing I gained from Marriott is, Last April I met and learned a lot from some of incredible people at the #tipple in Arlington. Built some real friendships(still hang out with some on weekends) I'm very thankful for that.
Chiming on to say that I would prefer that Fairfield spread to some Element breakfasts.
Whew! I just made it out of Marriott's nine circles of moderation hello.
What caught my eye in the article was that it costs 250,000 Starpoints or an amazing 750,000 Marriott points.
I don't know, as nice as the breakfast buffet was, I'd doubt if I would call it 'free'.
I'm always tickled when someone writes, almost in surprise that a Ritz - (for example, the Half Moon Bay one, which I've stayed at on Awards, and yes, it is lovely) provided 'superb' service. Well I would certainly hope so. I've also stayed at the very pleasant Capitola Fairfield Inn (paid) on my drive down Highway 1. These two properties are often an $800 to $1,000 a night difference (can you guess the more expensive one?), so of course, more will be offered at the Ritz.
The SPGers were living large (not that it made them more sophisticated travelers - and none in this forum have implied that) and they had plenty to lose, so I am empathetic, but similar to the AmEx arbitrage (where many of us Marriotteers immediately jumped on board grabbing the windfall, knowing it wouldn't last), courtesy of the Insiders forum, few SPGers, should have been surprised of the devastating changes, regardless of what Marriott was telling them (thus the warning about the boiling frog, remember?).
I also got a kick out of the Lifetime status revision mentioned in the article - even that little twist was predicted (although I didn't go as far as crediting Flueck in being that Machiavellian). Hey, I'm a big boy investor, who happens to not have enough employees to have a decent health care insurance plan and I get killed paying those premiums, just waiting to limp into Medicare, so as the peanut farmer taught us, "life isn't always fair", so hang in there SPGers and make the most of it, like the rest of us - some at Marriott (b.e), some at Hilton (ping), some Hyatt (star), some Intercontinental (bbob) and some banging around as free agents (erc, brian et al.).
It is what it is, now let's get down to business and
Keep on keepin' on Insiders - it only gets crazier from here on out
Well said, as always, erc.
I'd further argue, though, that it isn't just SPGers that are "losing out" but even Marriott Rewards members that don't travel for business and rely on credit cards and other tricks to maintain status and build points. I understand why Marriott would want to make things more difficult for those like myself and don't fault them for it. But it still sucks. However, as many have said, we just have to role with the changes. It's the name of the game. That's why I have backup status with World of Hyatt and Hilton HHonors.
Really, we're all in this together. Yes, overall the new program is better than expected and does have more negative changes for SPGers than Marriott members. But, come August 18, everyone will be one and the same. And, in my opinion, post integration is when we'll really have to keep an eye on things. With the clout Marriott has and will have once everything is done, don't expect them to remain so generous. Hilton devalued massively because they could, I'd expect Marriott to do the same. Especially if the economy continues on an (overall) upward trajectory. So hedge your bets. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket if you can.
well said, erc, kharada46. The end is nigh, que sera sera!
most M&As of this size in an oligopolistic sector tend to have a death-by-1000-cuts approach to "progress".No one truly knows what the outcomes of the changes will be, and adaptability is key to survival/happiness.....while the opportunities exist.
Earn 'em and burn 'em never seemed more appropriate, esp. with the dynamic pricing shenanigans that are right around the corner in 2019. I remember when UA merged with Continental about 5-6 years ago, and the "it's better for our elites" statements that were made back then.
Forward to present day, and I can't remember the last time I wasn't number 30+ on an upgrade list, and have to now find "saver" dates/flights for award mile redemptions, which are exactly what the old rates used to be for any flight,... of course, they only tend to offer them on historically undersold flights, or during off peak seasons.
Sign o' the times to come . You've been warned!
Yes! I wouldn't doubt hotels going the way of the airlines. It's only a matter of time. The value proposition for them is too much to pass up! It'll suck BIG TIME for us, but what can we do? I know some that have become free agents, not only for airlines but hotels too. And since there are cards out there like the CSR and Amex Plat that provide Elite-like benefits at a large variety of properties, sometimes being a free agent makes even more sense. But, I'm getting ahead of myself lol. Things aren't bad enough (yet) to make that jump, but if they do take that turn, I'm ready!
Agreed... Free agency seems tempting, if you can leverage "outside forces" to get comparable benefits (or at least some min. level) across all competing vendors. If the CSR card offers a fat sign up bonus again, I might get in on it and shelve my MR cards completely next year. Having reached the soon-to-be LTP (current LTG), I'm not chasing nights anymore.
FWIW - I use UA sparingly now, mostly for work (IAD is a hub, so there's tha too!) and if JetBlue or SWA are offering better deals, I take those for personal travel domestically. When traveling internationally, UA is only good for trans-atlantic jaunts to Europe; anything Asia/elsewhere, I look for Emirates/Etihad/Singapore Air as viable alternatives. Superior service, almost equivalent price points. I would not have considered anything but UA for ALL my travel 5 years ago. Vote with your wallet!
Let's hope communitymanagers are reading this and passing it up to MR Corp.... I wouldn't want the same philosophy to apply to where I choose to stay a couple of years down the line. Remember Marriott, "all that glitters is not gold", esp. with squeezing profit at the cost of brand loyalty. You need only read the poll currently underway on "which brand would you leave MR for", to get a feel of whats around the corner.
Sadly, I believe the 'reading and passing it up to MR Corp' is wishful thinking (although the CMs do 'pass along' things to The Appropriate Team - it's not them not interested, it' The Man).
I am of the mindset that few if any Marriott executives bother themselves with reading our blog - Flueck, as any experienced executive would, did read some prior to our Tipple meeting, but that was an exception in my opinion. We have pleaded for years to make Insiders, not an instrument of change, but one of significance, but Marriott which had several opportunities to really make Insiders the "Go to" forum for information which would have greatly increased the participation and value, has repeatedly rejected the concept, opting to go to the affiliated bloggers instead (which we then learn of as Insiders share).
Our numbers pale in comparison to overall 110 million Rewards members and certainly the half a billion Alibaba/alipay active users that Marriott just engaged, so I expect little corporate reaction to any of our concerns, which makes Insiders even more in the need of sharing updates and info, because it's not going to be Marriott providing much.
The days of treating Marriott as a family company are long gone (nothing necessarily wrong with that, such is life) and our best approach IMO, is to handle Marriott arms length, because certainly that's how we are handled.
I apparently spoke prematurely about being out of Moderation jail - this was written at 9:42 EST 8/2.
Another apparent sad revision - it appears that youtube links and articles are going to be blocked by jive - oh well, whaddaya gonna do?
Couldn't agree more. That being said, they're at least doing a better job with us than Hyatt does. Many believe, in fact, that Mr. Zidell left Hyatt simply because he didn't agree with the direction management was taking the program.
I wouldn't hold out for an outstanding signup bonus with the CSR again. Chase has lost a megaton of money on the initial signup bonus and even had incurred an unexpected $330,000 in award-related expenses thus far in 2018 thanks to the card. I expect them to get stingier with cardholder benefits in the future too unless they somehow find a way to become profitable without cuts. But, for now, it's an excellent card regardless of the bonus. I actually converted my CSP to a CSR because they wouldn't let me apply (I'm lol/24) and don't regret it at all!
Good article; thanks for sharing!!!
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