Starwood Hotels and Resorts has signed a deal to sell to China’s Anbang! The $13.2 billion offer was too much to ignore compared to the Marriott $12.2 billion deal that looked like it was a sure thing. Anbang already owns the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
What Happens Now?
Unfortunately, the drama is not over yet. Marriott has 5 days to make a counter proposal, and according to Marriott, they feel that they are a better merger partner. We will have to wait to see if and what they counter for Starwood.
If the deal goes through with Anbang, this would be a huge relief to Starwood Preferred Guest loyalists. The main fear is that SPG is going to lose the value in the loyalty program if a merger happens with the Marriott loyalty program. Starpoints are worth much more than Marriott points.
I imagine that American Express is also happy about this news. After losing both Costco and Jet Blue, this would have been a big blow to Amex. In the meantime, both American Express cards still have a 35,000 points singup bonus until March 30, 2016.
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (personal): 35,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business: 35,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.
The Bottom Line
Anbang buying Starwood would be a MUCH BETTER deal for SPG loyalists than Marriott. With Marriott, the rewards program would undoubtedly be watered down.