The Marriott/SPG merger has not gone swimmingly for so many loyal members and some have suggested they are leaving. Where should they stay instead of the world’s largest hotel chain?
Marriott Rewards Botched The Starwood Preferred Guest Merger
Perhaps the business side of the merger went better for Marriott than for the loyalty programs, but in the Understatement of 2018, Marriott Rewards botched the merger with Starwood Preferred Guest.
Elites are still awaiting the correct number of lifetime nights to post to their accounts. Missing details, stay credits, points and nights continue to plague the Marriott “Bonvoy” program and elites have noticed.
Even the name of the program was a failure in both theory and practice. They failed to achieve consensus on the name of the program, “Bonvoy” before they announced the rest of the changes earlier in the year. The name alone is proof enough of a failure as the new name was widely panned.
These issues have sent some elites looking around, and here are my picks for where they should go depending on if they were a Marriott or an SPG loyalist.
If You Were Loyal to Marriott, Try Hilton
Hilton has been an excellent program and a close number two for me personally. If you were a Marriott customer you only gain by moving to Hilton. The number of properties and their distribution between select service and premium properties remains similar excluding the new SPG properties. IHG has a similar number of hotels, though not in as many international locations, generally lower quality hotels and IHG hates their elites anyway.
You’ll enjoy breakfast at any property that serves it and much earlier in the process. Both Gold elites and Diamond members at Hilton receive complimentary breakfast which can add up to big savings if you have time to eat in the morning. Marriott didn’t and still doesn’t offer this as universally as Hilton and certainly not to members with as few as 20 qualifying nights.
Hilton runs status matches and challenges ceaselessly, Marriott members will find a welcome home in Hilton and a more consistent experience.
If You Were Loyal to SPG, Try Hyatt
The complaint about Hyatt has always been their footprint, but as some say, it’s the quality, not the quantity. That’s something that’s easy to agree to a certain extent, but there are limitations. For example, Kimpton had around 80 hotels all of which were high-quality when they were acquired by IHG (who hates their elites). That’s just too few to be able to be loyal unless you solely travel to major US cities.
Hyatt and SPG’s footprints used to be more divergent than they are now with SPG offering 1,300+ properties to Hyatt’s 700. However, when SPG loyalists think of their brand, it’s not often of the Sheraton brand which consists of about half of those hotels that were generally loathed by customers. Hyatt has continued to grow by acquiring Two Roads Hospitality and a partnership with another 54 additional Small Leading Hotels properties that better fill the map (and growing).
Hyatt has a similar upgrade policy for Globalists to SPG’s Platinum if there’s a suite available you will likely be upgraded to it. It’s not perfect in either program and SPG was more generous with the type of suite than Hyatt will be, but that benefit was likely too generous even for SPG and is not matched by any other chain in the world. Hyatt’s is as close as one can come. Hyatt is top heavy in relation to their high-end hotels when compared by percentage with other major chains; SPG was the same.
SPG members will be happier with the breakfast policy at Hyatt than with SPG, and the Hyatt credit card (we don’t sell them but we use them) is now more valuable than the SPG credit card’s current sign up bonus. Hyatt elites will also earn more points on stays with a better earn/burn ratio.
Are you a Marriott “Bonvoy” member that’s switching brands? Are you headed to Hilton, Hyatt or somewhere else?