It was announced last year that Marriott was planning to purchase Starwood and the two hotel chains would merge into one. There was some speculation about whether or not the merger would take place after a few events, but ultimately Starwood is now merged into Marriott as of a few weeks ago. This means change.
While SPG and the Starwood brand are now a part of Marriott, nothing has really changed for the average person. SPG is still going strong and the Starwood brand is still present. Elite qualifications and SPG benefits remain the same, for now. You can, however, link your loyalty accounts together to status match and transfer points between the brands.
Throughout my travels all around the world, I’ve stayed at some amazing Starwood hotels and have used my SPG points for incredible stays, flights, and SPG Moments. I figured I would take the time to write a bit about why I’m #StarwoodProud and how amazing Starwood and SPG are.
Hospitality and #SPGLife
The hospitality at every Starwood hotel is amazing. I’m constantly treated with respect and thanked for being loyal. I’ve never been disappointed and I’m always impressed at the professionalism and friendliness of the staff and agents. From the moment I walk in, to the moment I checkout, I’m looked after and cared for to ensure my stay is as comfortable as possible.
Each Starwood hotel includes amazing “soft” benefits and great service. The #SPGLife is more than staying at a hotel, it’s about sharing your incredible experience with everyone and really “living the moment”. A Starwood hotel is more than just a room with a bed – it’s the place to unwind, escape, and relax.
Types of Hotels
Starwood is (was?) a much smaller hotel chain than the others. They only have 11 hotel brands, ranging from low-cost hotels to Business hotels to super high-end luxury hotels – so a great mix overall. No matter the hotel, I’ve always been impressed. Even the low, category 1 hotels have impressed me.
The smaller amount of hotel brands means that Starwood can focus on truly identifying the “image” of each hotel brand and what types of people it appeals the most to. Hotel chains that have more brands usually struggle to differentiate some of the brands from others and then it becomes a bit confusing. With the Marriott merger, there will be tons of brands all operating under Marriott.. talk about differentiation then!
SPG Elite Benefits
While most major hotel chain loyalty programmes have a few elite tiers, Starwood only has two: Gold and Platinum. Benefits include complimentary room upgrades, late checkout, a welcome gift, bonus Starpoints, and more Starpoints per dollar spent. SPG Platinum Elite includes additional benefits such as upgrades to standard suites, more bonus points, and even more Starpoints per dollar spent. I know some people complain about never receiving upgrades or other elite benefits, but I’ve honestly never had any issue and I was always thanked for being loyal, and upgraded right away.
Starwood does a great job recognising and thanking their elites. I’m constantly amazed at the amazing room upgrades I receive and the constant recognition, worldwide. No other hotel chain has ever treated me as great as Starwood has. Hell, when I was SPG Gold I was treated better than HHonors Diamond (Hilton’s top tier).
SPG Starpoints are amazing. They’re the single, most valuable, points currency. Not only can you transfer Starpoints to airlines at a great ratio, they can be redeemed for hotel stays starting at just 2k Starpoints per night – that’s incredible. Starpoints can also be redeemed for SPG Moments which include VIP access to sporting events, concerts, etc.
The SPG AMEX Credit Card is considered one of the best points-earning credit cards for earning airline miles with (especially with the airlines that do not partner directly with major points currencies). SPG partners with over twenty airlines and most have a transfer ratio of 1:1, plus SPG adds 5k bonus miles for every 20k Starpoints converted to airline miles.
Not only that, the SPG AMEX offers compelling benefits such as stay/night credits towards SPG Elite Status, no foreign transaction fees, premium internet, and more. The Business SPG AMEX also offers complimentary access to the Sheraton Club.
Finally, it has been a privilege to be loyal to Starwood. The overall brand and loyalty programme have been amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever received such great service and hospitality with other hotel chains (even though I’m top tier with most of them).
Starwood has been more than just a hotel chain and a giant corporation, they’ve always treated me as family and they’re perhaps the only company that has never let me down or made me feel like I don’t belong. They’ve always made things right and apologised for the smallest details in the biggest ways.
I will miss Starwood Preferred Guest and the Starwood brand once they fully merge into Marriott within the next two years. I couldn’t be more #StarwoodProud and I’d like to thank SPG and all of the Starwood Hotels for a “life full of moments”.