What The Marriott-Starwood Merger Means For Your Reward Points

Use 'em, but you won't lose 'em.

News of Marriott buying Starwood left many travelers with the same question: What will happen to my Starwood Preferred Guest points?

It's a valid inquiry in an era where airlines, hotel brands and travel companies seem to switch up their reward programs all the time. But good news: Your Marriott and Starwood points aren't going anywhere, at least not for now.

Neither the Marriott Rewards program nor the Starwood Preferred Guest program is likely to change in the near future, according to experts. But that doesn't mean you should wait to travel with your points.

"For right now, there are no changes to either loyalty program," John Wolf, Marriott's VP of public relations, told The Huffington Post. Marriott will have further news for rewards members as the acquisition moves forward, he added.

It will likely take at least two years for Marriott and Starwood's points programs to officially merge, says travel expert Brian "The Points Guy" Kelly. Both are known for their quality -- Starwood's program includes redeemable "moments" like courtside tickets and concert passes, while Marriott's has been named one of the best hotel rewards programs by travel analysts -- so you don't have to worry too much about either one losing its punch.

A word of caution: avoid hoarding your points, because they can depreciate.

"In general, points lose their value over time," Kelly told HuffPost. "Programs do make changes, and they sometimes creep up the points numbers year after year. Don't wait to use them."

"Point" taken... we're booking a trip.

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