The proposed merger of Marriott and Starwood has brought a predictable course of tears from many that are invested in the SPG program. As a SPG Platinum alumnus, I have to say that all things being equal, I preferred the SPG program to Marriott Rewards overall. It’s just that all things were not equal…..and they still aren’t.

Logo image courtesy of Marriott

Logo image courtesy of Marriott

Given my stay patterns at the time, obtaining and maintaining SPG Platinum was a bit of an endurance contest. Ultimately, the allure of Marriott’s plethora of properties in cities and towns of all sizes won out, and I moved over to Marriott Rewards even though stay requirements were tougher. Simply put, it made the most sense for me at the time. That has not changed. And given the propensity for Marriott Rewards to walk away from the Freddies every year with a lot of awards, the program must make sense for many others too.

That said, Marriott Rewards could probably learn a thing from Starwood about elite recognition and tailoring experiences towards individual tastes. Not shockingly, the party line from the programs is “We will work to bring you the very best of SPG and Marriott Rewards®, two of the most rewarding loyalty programs in our industry. Our members are at the core of everything we do, and that will not change.”

For now, color me hopeful that it works out, but things are going to be different for a lot of Starwood loyalists for sure.

-MJ, November 16, 2015