Marriott PlacePass experiences, growth plans and legacy brands

You may soon be able to redeem Marriott points for 100,000 PlacePass destination travel experiences after Marriott’s recent investment in the Cambridge, Massachusetts travel business. That is a development to keep in mind for 2017.

2016 Hotels and Loyalty Members

Marriott International ended 2016 with 30 hotel brands and 1,191,000 hotel rooms in 6,080 hotels (year end 2016 data). The world’s largest hotel chain has big plans to get a lot bigger over the next three years.

Hotel loyalty members are signing up by the millions. The combined membership of Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest tops 100 million.

Good Things Come in Threes

These three recent pieces of news from Marriott International Investor Day media reports reveal current and future direction for Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood hotel chains and their loyalty programs.

1. Marriott’s 3-year growth plan proposes greatly expanding its select service hotel brands, adding around 300,000 rooms by 2019. That is 25% global growth in three years compared to the current size of the hotel chain after finalizing the Starwood Hotels deal Sep 23, 2016.

300,000 rooms is probably between 1,000 and 1,500 more hotels on top 6,080 hotels in Marriott International at end of 2016. That is a rate of one hotel every day to the Marriott portfolio over the next three years.

For comparison, Marriott added 68,000 rooms worldwide in 2016, including 11,000 rooms for reflagged hotels from other brands. 31,000 rooms (46% of 2016 added rooms) were located outside USA.

* Loyalty Traveler note on relevance of number of hotel rooms vs. number of hotels.

The hotel industry measures hotel chain size and growth by number of rooms in the chain. For hoteliers, there is a big difference between a hotel with 50 rooms available for nightly revenue and a hotel with 200 rooms available for earning nightly revenue. Assume both hotels have $100 rates and 70% room occupancy. The 50 room hotel brings in $3,500 in daily revenue, while the 200 room hotel brings in $14,000 in daily revenue.

Hotel loyalty program members are generally more concerned with the number of hotels in a chain. For me as a traveler, I don’t care if there are 50 rooms or 200 rooms at the hotel. I only need one room for my stay. If I find the hotel as one of my options, then I evaluate whether the better value is paying for the room and earning points or redeeming points for a free or discount price hotel reward night room.

2. Marriott’s plans for low performing Sheraton brand hotels is upgrade, rebrand or deflag.

Sheraton, the original brand that along with Westin Hotels, became Starwood Hotels in 1999 has been an aging and troubled hotel brand in the Starwood portfolio for several years. In an evaluation of the lowest 25 Sheraton U.S. hotels, as reported in Travel Weekly, 17 will be renovated, 2 will rebrand as Four Points or Courtyard and the other 6 hotels may deflag, meaning the hotel leaves Marriott International to likely join another hotel chain’s brand.

Quiz Time: Can you name all 30 Marriott Brands?

Legacy-Marriott and Legacy-Starwood in Marriott’s 2016 Fourth Quarter Financial Report 

Some new lingo to learn:

brands that were in Marriott’s portfolio before the Starwood acquisition are referred to as “Legacy-Marriott”, while the Starwood business and brands that the company acquired are referred to as “Legacy-Starwood.” 

Marriott International Reports Fourth Quarter 2016 Results



1. Ritz-Carlton

2. Edition

3. JW Marriott

4. Marriott

5. Renaissance

6. Autograph Collection

7. Delta Hotels

8. Marriott Vacation Club

9. Marriott Executive Apartments

10. Gaylord Hotels

** 11. Bulgari Hotels is an exclusive Marriott luxury brand and does not participate in Marriott’s loyalty programs.

Select Service

12. Fairfield Inn

13. Courtyard

14. AC Hotels

15. Residence Inn

16. Towneplace Suites

17. SpringHill Suites

18. Moxy

19. Protea Hotels (Africa locations with some full-service hotels)


Starwood Hotels at year end 2015 reported 1,297 properties and 370,000 rooms in 100 countries.

Full Service

20. St. Regis

21. The Luxury Collection

22. W Hotels

23. Westin

24. Sheraton

25. Le Meridien

26. Tribute Portfolio

27. Design Hotels

Select Service

28. Aloft

29. Element

30. Four Points

Full-service hotel brands are generally hotels capable of handling conferences and events with catering staff, event space and conference rooms.

Select service hotels tend to be smaller hotels, often under 100 rooms and no banquet facilities. Full-service hotels often have several hundred rooms and even 1,000+ rooms for convention oriented hotels. Gaylord Hotels with five U.S. properties specifically designed for large conventions was an independent brand acquired by Marriott acquisition brand a few years ago.

Seven Brands in Seven Years

Seven of Legacy-Marriott’s hotel brands were acquired or launched since 2010 when Autograph Collection launched as an independent hotels branding partnership for Marriott.

Marriott Acquisitions: Gaylord Hotels (USA), Delta Hotels (Canada), AC Hotels (Spain), Protea Hotels (South Africa).

Marriott Brands Launched: Autograph Collection, Edition, Moxy

Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programs

Marriott reported 55 million members in Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards at year end 2015. Marriott reported 100 million members at year end 2016.

Loyalty members accounted for more than half of all room nights worldwide is a Marriott International 2015 end of year report statement for and Starwood Hotels reported 50% of room nights were SPG members for 2015.

Marriott states 1,000,000 new members monthly since merger with Starwood Hotels finalized in September 2016. – Redeem Points for Activities and Experiences

Marriott PlacePass

PlacePass is the world’s leading collection of amazing tours and activities. Great times begin here.

Marriott International’s investment stake in PlacePass hit the news March 21, 2017.

SPG members have had SPG Moments auctions since 2006. The addition of PlacePass will vastly expand activities and experiences available to members of Marriott , Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG.

There are not many details yet, but signs point to PlacePass activities becoming a points redemption option for Marriott-SPG loyalty members.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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