Still no name, but Marriott to launch combined loyalty programme this August

Here's how Marriott's combined loyalty programme will work

Operators, Marriott international, Loyalty programme

Earlier this year, Marriott announced one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) for its members, and the hospitality giant has now revealed a launch date. The combined programme will be launched on August 18, 2018. However, the name of the unified programme is yet to be revealed, according to David Flueck, senior vice president, global loyalty for Marriott International.

"The combination of all our programmes will begin August 18 and that's when members will start earning more points; on average, they will earn 20% more points. They'll also be able to combine their accounts and their night stays will combine as well," Fleuck added in a telephone conversation with HotelierMiddleEast.com.

On August 18, Marriott will also launch new elite status levels and new benefits, including a new silver elite status achieved at 10 nights.This will also push members up to the next tier in terms of their status on the programme, and achieving elite status has gotten easier as well. 

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However, the company will announce the name early next year. 

How it will work

Starting 18 August, members will get a new membership number and they can choose which of the three programmes they want to affiliate with but all of the benefits and the points will be the same.

"They can pick either Marriott Rewards, SPG Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards to combine all their points and that will be how they will affiliate with the programme until early next year which is when the new one will be rolled out," Fleuck added.

According to him, it's more like "three brands but one programme".

"The challenge for us with rolling out a new brand with thousands of hotels all over the world [is that] it is a massive undertaking, and we have a lot of websites and partners so it's taking us a bit more time to get to one new brand experience," he said.

According to Fleuck, the technology team has written almost 20 million new lines of code in the last 10 months.

"It's been an unbelievable undertaking by our technology teams to be able to get to this point as quickly as they have. In most mergers of this size, its taken much longer. The reason why its so complex is because today 1,600 to 1,700 SPG hotels are on their own technological eco-systems and we have spent the last 20 months building the technology we need to enable the new loyalty programme, and we also had to move all the SPG data and functionalities to the Marriott ecosystem."

Fleuck added that the teams are now in the final stretch. 

"On August 18, our sites will go. Members won't be able to book paid stays or have access to the loyalty accounts, and our loyalty systems will be down for most of the day and the service will be intermittent while we make the cut-over," he explained.

Marriott is currently in the middle of developing new branding and its new loyalty programme name including all the digital branding and the logo.

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