Instead of whining about a hotel merger, how about spending some time with your family or volunteer building a house?
On Monday, Marriott International announced it would acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a merger that would create the largest hotel chain in the world. The new Marriott-Starwood hospitality monster would own 30 brands (including the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W, Sheraton, and Westin) with 5,500 hotels in over 100 countries.
According to Bjorn Hanson of NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, it is the “biggest transaction of our lifetime,” as far as hotels are concerned. If approved by shareholders of each company, the deal should close in the middle of next year.
So I get that these massive conglomerations threaten customer choice and the free market, as well as mess up the massive amount of loyalty points a number of Starwood customers have accumulated, but dudes are being crazy about this.
“It ruined my breakfast,” said Edward Pizzarello, a partner in a venture capital firm, in an interview with the Associated Press. “I realized all the effort put into lifetime status with Starwood has been wasted.”
“I’m livid,” said Hugo Espinoza, a man who has spent 203 nights in Starwood hotels this year, in an email to the New York Times. “I dread to think what the merger will do to my platinum-for-life status.”
The Times reports that the loyalty program is pretty fancy:
Even staying 25 nights a year will get you guaranteed 4 p.m. checkouts at most hotels, a benefit that is only offered subject to availability at Marriott. Those staying at least 100 nights a year are assigned a personal travel ambassador to handle their bookings, cajole hotel managers for upgrades and arrange customized perks.
Marriott’s platinum guests have access to nicer rooms but aren’t generally offered suites. They will give you breakfast, but late checkout is “subject to availability.”
“I send my ambassador a Christmas gift and know about her family, and she knows my wife,” New York consultant Ryan Huff said.
“Oh great, now I can use my over one million hard-earned SPG platinum ambassador points on that new SpringHill Suites,” Chicago consultant Joe Cutaia agreed sarcastically.
“No Starwood Platinum member has ever said, ‘I would rather be a Marriott Platinum,’” hotel and travel blogger Gary Leff said.
For many men, this announcement is the greatest tragedy of their lives, so I would urge us all to treat the consultants in our life with just a drop of extra sympathy. See him waiting in line for a coffee? Volunteer your services as an assistant and bring his order to his office. Is he left without proper rain gear in a storm? Lie face down in a puddle and let him step on your back.
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