Old Sep 7, 18, 7:45 am
  #72  
Jon Maiman
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Programs: MR LT Titanium, IHG Plat., SWA A-List,UA Premier Silver, & PA/OH Turnpike Million Miler
Posts: 1,337
I am staying the course which for me is Starriott as my primary program and IHG as my secondary program. My MR activity detail for my stays in August finally posted last night. It took a little while but I am also able to use my SNA's whenever I would like. Yes the communication during the integration could have been much better. Yes it was annoying not being able to see my MR activity posting. For those who couldn't use an award or otherwise had booking problems, I fully understand your deeper frustration. Fortunately I didn't have those issues myself. The hard product is the same as before and I continue to be generally treated well by the properties. As a long term loyal Marriott person, I now have lots more SPG properties I can stay at including in my primary business destination Philadelphia, PA. After the MR property category adjustments, it was a mix for me. Overall I was pleasantly surprised that at a macro level it appears to be mainly a wash for me even though individual properties shifted up and down. E.g. my points still have approx. the same overall value for my stay patterns.. While Hilton properties are also generally nice and they also have good breadth of coverage, ROI for Hilton Hhonors awards versus spend still continues to be poor. While there are some nice IHG properties IHG's, (Kimptons, some CP's and HI's, HIX's outside of cities), I still generally prefer Starriott properties over IHG. Hyatt is too small and doesn't have the reach I need for my travel patterns.

So distilling it down, MR is still the best program for me in terms of experience on property, breadth of properties, ROI for rewards program, and fitting within my corporate expense guidelines. The problems experienced this year during the integration were annoying but should be totally behind us soon., Life moves on and Starriott still makes the most sense for me based on my requirements and preferences. Everyone should periodically reevaluate their travel requirements and adjust the loyalty programs they focus on if needed. In recent years my biggest adjustment has been for air travel. I no longer focus on United and now focus on Southwest. Even then I am mainly price driven since for my level of air travel, the loyalty program benefits are fairly modest. Prior to that my most recent adjustment was adding IHG as a secondary program to MR. Diversifying my hotel stays was a good move and came in especially handy this summer when I mainly used IHG award stays for my family vacation. YMMV....

--Jon
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