Marriott Establishes New Loyalty Program After Massive Data Breach
The new program—named Marriott Bonvoy—will replace the current three loyalty brands that the company has: Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. This is the second rebranding since April 2018, when Marriott announced a new loyalty program that integrated Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Marriott (MAR) agreed to acquire its rival in 2015.
The Starwood program was the source of a massive data breach that was reported in November 2018. Although the number of lost customer records was eventually revised down from 500 million to “fewer than 383 million unique guests,” according to Marriott, that included 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers and 20.3 encrypted ones. Even at the lower number, the breach was still the largest in history, according to the New York Times. Marriott said that it would pay for new passports in December.
Marriott Bonvoy launches on February 13, but the company has already been preparing. Customers who had registered an email address across multiple of the previous loyalty programs received emails asking them to combine their accounts—which adds points and nights stayed from the different brands—or change the email address on one of their accounts. For those who don’t, Marriott will remove the email address from a member’s profile, which means he or she will have to log in using a member number and not an email address.