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TORORNTO — A performance by Canadian icon Sarah McLachlan headlined a high-energy event at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto last night, where Marriott International launched one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).
With the revamped loyalty program, effective August 2018, members will be able to combine their separate Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on under the new set of unified benefits until a new program name is introduced in 2019.
The programs count some 110 million members globally, including about 3.7 million members in Canada. Marriott bought Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016 in a US$13 billion deal.
“We wanted to get this out to members, so they can start earning on a seamless platform,” said Jennifer Bryl, Director, Loyalty Marketing & CRM, Canada for Marriott International during a pre-event interview yesterday.
SPG members will be getting a new account number, Bryl added. “For members of Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, their numbers will not change.”
The revamped program allows members to earn more points faster than under the prior programs – on average, 20% more points for every dollar spent, Bryl added.
Also new, Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will be able to earn points on their complete folio, not just the room but now including food & beverage purchases, spa and so on.
For the first time, members will have access to book stays and earn or redeem points among 29 participating global brands comprising 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories.
The Moments experiential platform is also expanding, with more than 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations from must-see attraction tickets and tours for purchase with cash by all guests, to once-in-a-lifetime events only available to members using points, including the new bespoke Moments Live event series.
About 50% of guests at the company’s hotels are members of at least one of the loyalty programs, notes Bryl.
Travel agents looking to familiarize themselves with the loyalty programs should check out members.marriott.com, she added. One of the company’s biggest challenges is educating travellers and the trade about its many brands: “If travel agents have someone who’s making a booking, they need to know what brand is what.”
The members.marriott.com site has a helpful chart of all 29 brands now under the Marriott International umbrella (some 19 of those brands are present in Canada).
“We listened to the travel aspirations of our members and set our sights on unlocking the full potential of our loyalty programs,” said David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, Marriott International. “We are excited to announce that this August, our members can enjoy one set of benefits across our extraordinary portfolio of hotels from iconic full and select service, to extended stay, to unique boutiques and luxury brands. We hope to inspire our members whatever their travel passion, whether it is resorts featuring overwater bungalows, peaceful secluded island settings, ski-in / ski-out mountain resorts, towering hotels with picture-worthy views or even former palaces converted into hotels.”
In the coming months, Marriott will provide members with information about how and when in August they can begin combining their loyalty accounts.