MarriottStarwood merger finally closes what happens now to their loyalty programs

first_imgMarriott-Starwood merger finally closes, what happens now to their loyalty programs? Friday, September 23, 2016 Share By: Scott Mayerowitz Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Loyalty Programs, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts NEW YORK — Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company.Marriott International closed Friday morning on its US$13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood’s Sheraton, Westin, W and St. Regis properties.In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world with more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That’s more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.Marriott now eclipses Hilton Worldwide’s 773,000 rooms and the 766,000 that are part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group family, according to STR, a firm that tracks hotel data.“We’ve got an ability to offer just that much more choice. A choice in locations, a choice in the kind of hotel, a choice in the amount a customer needs to spend,” Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.Starwood’s guest loyalty program – Starwood Preferred Guest – was also a “central, strategic rationale for the transaction,” Sorenson said. The program’s members are deeply loyal to it, have generally higher incomes and tend to spend many nights on the road.Starting Friday, members of Starwood and Marriott’s two loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts together. Gold elite members in one program will get gold status in the other. Platinum elite members will get platinum in the other. Marriott silver members will see Starwood’s lowest category, Preferred Plus.Each Starwood point will be worth three Marriott Rewards points.Starwood put itself up for sale in April 2015. The Stamford, Connecticut, company had struggled to grow as fast as its rivals, particularly in “limited service hotels,” which are smaller properties that don’t have restaurants or banquet halls. They are often located on the side of the highway, near airports or in suburban office parks.To get Starwood, Marriott had to outbid China’s Anbang Insurance Group. U.S. and European anti-trust regulators were quick to approve the sale but the Chinese government hesitated, delaying the sale by months.“We may have been a little too optimistic about how fast we could get this thing closed,” Sorenson said Thursday.Marriott and Starwood – like other hotel chains – own very few individual hotels. Instead they manage or franchise their brands to hundreds of individual owners, often real estate development companies. Those individual hotel owners are responsible for setting nightly room rates. It isn’t uncommon for a developer to own a Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton in the same city.The purchase gives Marriott more leverage with corporate travel departments who often look for one giant chain to house all of their employees. It also gives Marriott more power over Expedia and Priceline, the two giant online travel agencies that sell rooms on behalf of hotel companies in exchange for a commission. The hotel industry has spent the last year trying to get travellers to book directly with them instead of the travel agencies to avoid paying those fees.There are still many details to work out.Marriott has thrived as an “asset light” company, owning a handful of hotels. Starwood has been selling off properties, while signing long-term management agreements for those same hotels. As of June 30, it still owned 23 properties. Sorenson said he believes there is a strong market to continue selling off many of those iconic hotels.“There is always a market for the St. Regis in New York,” he said, adding that other assets in the portfolio have comparable stature. “In great global cities, real estate like that always has a value.”The new company will keep Marriott’s Bethesda, Maryland headquarters but hasn’t announced if it will keep any presence at Starwood’s Connecticut or New York offices.Then there are the 30 brands. Some have performed better than others but Sorenson said all of them will probably survive the merger.“I think so. Every one of them has hotels in them,” he noted.For now, Starwood and Marriott will keep separate loyalty programs. Starwood has a credit card deal with American Express as well as close partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Uber. Marriott has a much larger program with partnerships with Chase and United Airlines.“Nothing changes immediately. We have to see how those partnerships evolve,” Sorenson said.Gary Leff, who writes about points and miles at ViewFromTheWing.com, called the three-to-one exchange rate of Starwood points to Marriott points “just right.”“It’s one of the many reasonable and positive steps that Marriott has taken along the way as it acquires Starwood,” Leff said. “But there’s a whole lot still to happen between now and the programs actually being combined.”last_img read more

PostHarvey cancellations near the 10000 mark Air Canada WestJet issue advisories

first_imgTags: Air Canada, Texas, Travel Alert, WestJet TORONTO — The number of flights cancelled in the wake of Harvey is about to top 10,000 and that’s just within the U.S. Both Air Canada and WestJet have also cancelled flights and both airlines have issued updates for passengers with tickets to affected airports.While Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport says it is closed until further notice, some reports suggest the airport could reopen for commercial traffic on Thursday at noon local time.WestJet says 25 flights between Calgary and Houston have been cancelled since Friday, impacting travel plans for 1,400 passengers.It says aircraft are positioned to resume service when the situation on the ground has improved.WestJet says it is tentatively planning to operate one flight that day and one on Friday. Extra flight segments will be added over the weekend to help transport passengers.Air Canada has cancelled several flights between Houston and airports in Montreal and Toronto. It wouldn’t provide details about the number of passengers affected.More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesAir Canada has implemented a policy for customers who purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than Aug. 26, 2017 and whose itinerary includes a flight between Aug. 26 and Sept. 5, 2017 to, from or via any of the following airports: Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), San Antonio International Airport (SAT) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).“If you are scheduled to travel on the above dates, you may contact Air Canada Reservations (1-888-247-2262) to change your flight, free of charge, to another date between now and September 20, 2017, subject to availability in the cabin you originally purchased. Otherwise, any fare difference will apply,” says the airline.Passengers may also choose to travel to an alternate destination. In that case, any change fees will be waived, provided they are travelling between now and Sept. 20, 2017. Any fare difference will apply.WestJet has also put out an advisory notifying passengers impacted by Harvey about flexible change and cancel rules. “To review your flight options, please call: WestJet (air-only): 1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET). WestJet Vacations: 1-877-737-7001. If you have made an air-only booking through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent directly.”More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upHurricane Harvey has dumped a record 49.32 inches of rain on Texas. Wednesday, August 30, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Posted by With files from The Canadian Press Share Post-Harvey cancellations near the 10,000 mark; Air Canada, WestJet issue advisorieslast_img read more

Another awardwinning chef signs partnership with Air Canada

first_img Thursday, August 1, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group Another award-winning chef signs partnership with Air Canada << Previous PostNext Post >>center_img MONTREAL — There’s more to savour onboard Air Canada, thanks to a new partnership with award-winning Canadian Chef Antonio Park.Exclusively featured on select Air Canada flights to Asia and South America, Park’s meals will be destination-inspired, kicking off on the Montreal-Tokyo-Narita route that links two cities he has called home.“We’re thrilled to continue showcasing the very best of Canadian talent with Chef Park joining our team of celebrated chefs,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice President, Product at Air Canada. “Apart from elevating our customers’ dining experience with destination-inspired creations on Asian and South American flights, we chose to partner with Chef Park due to his passion for promoting the Canadian culinary scene and his appreciation for fresh ingredients and sustainability.Event Speech Footage // Séquence de discours d’événement from Air Canada on Vimeo.Park’s culinary career was first inspired by his Korean mother’s kitchen while growing up in Argentina. He then trained under revered Japanese cooking masters and developed a passion for farm-to-table cooking. He has worked in Japan, New York, Toronto and Montreal before opening his first restaurant, Park, in Montreal in 2012. Park has served as a judge on Food Network Canada’s Chopped and Top Chef Canada, and has been recognized multiple times in Canada as ‘Chef of the Year’.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaOn his new role with the carrier, Park said: “It’s a blessing and an honour to partner with Air Canada. I’m extremely proud and humbled to be sharing my food with Air Canada’s customers flying at 30,000 feet. It is the perfect opportunity to use Canadian ingredients and Japanese techniques, marrying the two to enhance the onboard experience.”Park joins Air Canada’s panel of Canadian culinary and wine talent who have designed award-winning food and wine options. They include celebrated Canadian chef David Hawksworth, who creates signature dishes exclusively on Air Canada flights worldwide in Signature Class and the Air Canada Signature Suite; and Véronique Rivest, the carrier’s sommelier who handpicks wines to pair with Hawksworth’s menu. Contemporary chef Vikram Vij also creates Indian dishes for all cabins of service on Air Canada’s Canada-India flights from Toronto and Vancouver.Following Montreal-Tokyo-Narita, Park’s menu will be rolled out on flights from Toronto to Tokyo-Haneda, Vancouver to Tokyo-Narita, and from Montreal to Sao Paulo this fall. In 2020, his meals will also be available on flights to Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Sao Paulo (from Toronto), Santiago and Buenos Aires, as well as on seasonal flights from Calgary to Tokyo-Narita and Vancouver-Osaka.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterHis meal options will be available in Signature, Premium Economy and Economy Class on all flights from Canada to Japan, and exclusively in Signature Class on all other flights departing Canada to Asia and South America, in addition to options by Hawksworth. Share Tags: Air Canada, Chef Antonio Park, Signature Classlast_img read more