Will Hyatt Buy Starwood With Cash And Points And What Will That Mean For Mileage Junkies?

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Yesterday the rumor was that several Chinese firms were in talks to buy Starwood. I didn’t have much to add to that, so I just briefly posted it in on DDF in the “Interesting Articles” thread.

Today the rumor is that Hyatt will buy Starwood and that a deal could be in place in less than a week,

“Hyatt Hotels is in talks to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts in a deal that is said to be as little as a week away, sources told CNBC.

Under the cash and stock agreement, Hyatt management would retail control of the combined companies. Talks between the two companies have been going on for weeks.”

A cash and “points” redemption does seem apropos šŸ˜‰

If the deal goes through it will have massive implications for mileage collectors. Some quick initial thoughts:

As Hyatt will be the acquirer it’s possible that their policies will become the future policies going forward.

But it’s more likely that we’ll see a hybrid of policies from both companies. Luckily there is more competition in the hotel industry than the airline industry, so I don’t see them picking the worst of both worlds as we saw happen in the Continental+United merger.

Undoubtedly we’d see a massive battle between AMEX and Chase for the rights to be the card issuer for the combined chain.

For the short term they may keep both issuers, but long-term they’ll likely pick just one. When American and USAirways merged Citi won the contract over Barclaycard, though Barclaycard holders still have grandfathered AA mileage earning credit cards. That’s not always the case though. When Delta and Northwest merged, USBank Northwest cardholders had their cards turned into FlexPerks cards.

When the banks pay more money to keep Hyatt though, it may increase the value that Hyatt gives to their points.

As it stands now Starwood Starpoints are more valuable than Hyatt points. That’s primarily because of the ability to transfer points into dozens of airlines at a 20K:25K ratio. But Starwood also offers 5 night free awards that are quite valuable as well.

Hyatt does have some advantages over Starwood though. Their ultra high-end hotels are far more affordable (the maximum rate is 30K points) than Starwood’s high-end hotels that can cost as much as 100K points for a night. Time will tell if Starwood’s high-end hotels become more affordable, if Hyatt’s high-end hotels get more expensive, or if they meet somewhere in the middle.

While Starwood used to have an awesome cash and points award chart, they devalued it a few years ago and now Hyatt’s cash and points award chart is more lucrative.

Hyatt’s top-tier elite program is more generous than Starwood’s thanks to suite upgrades that are confirmed at the time of booking and the ability to get a full breakfast, including a free catered kosher breakfast at many properties.

However Starwood has a far more attainable lifetime elite program (10 years Platinum and 500 nights for lifetime Platinum) than Hyatt does (10 years as a member and $200,000 spent in Hyatt hotels.)Ā  Which program will win out and how will those vastly different requirements be merged?

Mergers are rarely good for consumers. But I’m cautiously optimistic as Jeff Zidell, head of Hyatt’s Gold Passport program, has generally proven to understand that brand loyalty is a 2-way street. Hopefully he will manage to combine at least some of the best features that both programs bring to the table as cherry-picking the bad or just implementing Hyatt’s policies will just cause loyal elites to head for the exits.

Even if there are devaluations to the airline transfer program, there will almost certainly be a warning beforehand so that you will be able to transfer Starpoints into airline miles at their current favorable ratios.

What are your thoughts on the potential Hyatt takeover of Starwood? Hit the comments!

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27 Comments On "Will Hyatt Buy Starwood With Cash And Points And What Will That Mean For Mileage Junkies?"

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tony c

impending disaster!

Dan

@tony c:
It might ruin my 2 favorite hotel companies, that would be quite sad.

Hopefully they find a way to avoid that.

my thoughts?

Meh

J

I actually can’t wait!

Anonymous

@Dan: No love for Fairmont?

Dan

@Anonymous:
That’s different, no points program there.

But yes, I suppose they are my favorite (ignoring the points aspect) for now. At least until IHG buys them šŸ˜›
Mergers are scary for consumers.

Redbull3

Don’t know how to digest this good/bad but spg points have been getting harder to obtain, maybe ur/hgp/free nights can redeem at Starwood properties?

Dan

@Redbull3:
If Chase wins out, sure.
If AMEX does, UR transfers would likely end.

Reb Yid

For a regular room, there are many SPG properties where using points gives you a valuation of 3 cents compared to the cash rate. You don’t find that with Hyatt. Overall, SPG points are worth more for the average traveler (although perhaps not for the ultra-high-end suite people who arrived there via a first class suite on Singapore Airlines to Frankfurt lol)

Curtis

Tired of mergers and acquisitions in this realm – we lose out every time.

AA

CNBC needs a copy editor. “Hyatt… would retail control…”

Gabi

I am so upset… I’m dreaming about my St. Regis redemptions with starwood points that I’ve been collecting all my life… I hope this merger won’t kitt this dream.

Rob

So, hypothetically speaking, let’s say as a result of this SPG airline transfers end or devalue significantly. What would you do with your Starpoints before that happens? Move them to Alaska? Leave them alone?

GTR

As someone who doesn’t generate many more points than just what I use for flights, I’ve never found hotel redemption to be worth it at less than $.01 CPP. Particularly Hyatt.

@Gabi

Dont put your eggs in one basket unless your monogamist in business also

Dave

I have an award reservation in March 2016 at Al Maha, a property of the Starwood Luxury Collection. If this deal occurs, what will be the implications?

Marc

Hopefully they’ll use Starwood’s lifetime Platinum requirements and combine my lifetime stays at Hyatt with my Starwood stays so that I’ll receive lifetime Platinum sooner vs. later! That was the best thing that came out of the United/Continental merger…the merger of lifetime miles.

travel4less

Just finished my required spend on SPG. Hope I didn’t do all that for naught!

YF

@Dan,

If there is a merger, you can write to the Bureau Of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission to comment on how the merger may affect consumers regarding the hotel points/awards market. Give examples from previous mergers and ask the FTC to require certain actions as a condition of merger approval. https://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-competition/contact-information

Colors

@Dan how can I use my Starwood points best? I have over 30k. Does it pay to save for hotels or use to travel? I could use either. Or is it more worth it to sell? Do you know if I can transfer to Delta?
TIA!

Eli

I hope amex keeps the rights. I need those nights/stays.
#SPG Plat

sol

dan, do you think well be able to use hyatt free nights at starwood hotels??

jo

which spg properties cost 100k spg points I thought the highest was category 7 @ 30-35k

Jkl

So with all of this change taking place which is a better card to spend on, amex starwoods or chase ink

Marc

Starwood has more locations for medium range hotels. I found Hyatt hotels although nice too limiting in locations in the US.

John

I just earned my Starwood Platinum for life and still have about 250,000 Hyatt points where I was a Diamond member for many years. I’ll be ANGRY if they take my Starwood privileges away when the companies combine!

everyone

Here’s to hoping that SPG will stay the same amount of points, and you”ll be able to transfer UR at a 1:1 ratio! šŸ™‚

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