Say “bon voyage” to Marriott Rewards and hello to … Marriott Bonvoy?
After months of leaks (including the program's name and logo), the world's largest hotel change made it official on Wednesday. Starting Feb. 13, the combined loyalty program for Marriott, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz Carlton will be named Marriott Bonvoy.
This change was years in the making. The massive hotel brands began their merger way back in 2016, eventually launching a combined loyalty program this past August. But that has operated under the banner of the old Marriott Rewards name. That's changing soon.
“Marriott Bonvoy marks an evolution in travel because it represents more than a loyalty program,” Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott's global chief commercial officer, said in a statement.
Other than its name, not much is changing for Marriott and this rebranded rewards program that was overhauled last summer. At least not immediately,
The mishmash of Marriott and SPG's loyalty programs opened up some great opportunities for travelers with hotel points. Namely, Marriott won't launch its top pricing category for award nights until March. That means you can book great properties like the St. Regis on Nusa Dua Beach in Bali, W Hotel in Koh Samui or Ritz-Carlton properties in Dubai and Tokyo for 60,000 points until March, when they’ll jump to 85,000 points per night.
The hotel chain will introduce peak and off-peak pricing sometime later this year. And there is a suite of new credit cards now available, including a Marriott co-branded Chase card. Along with smartphone apps and other branding, the new name will migrate to these cards come Feb. 13.
But Marriott has bigger things to worry about than its name.
The merger has been beset by one IT headache after another. Loyal users have grown increasingly frustrated with long waits, issues crediting hotel stays, and more. And to top it all off, the hotel chain divulged in late November that information on 500 million or more guests had been stolen in a massive data breach.
What's in a name? If you ask us, Marriott went a bit more than “too cute by half” on this one.
What do you think?