Friday Briefing: Marriott, Starwood Offer Combined Rewards, New Sabre CEO

New combined rewards from Marriott and Starwood and a new president at Sabre are the travel industry headlines to watch today. 

Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton Offer Combined Rewards

Marriott and Starwood are bringing their rewards programs closer together post-merger with a new set of coordinated promotions. The move comes shortly after the companies announced that members could link their accounts to have their Elite status matched and transfer points between Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

Now, for the first time, the three programs are offering the same promotional opportunity, which will give members the chance to earn double points on their first three stays at participating hotels in each program. The points can be redeemed for free nights, flights, exclusive experiences on SPG Moments and Marriott Rewards Experiences Marketplace and more.

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Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG members can register for each of the promotions and earn double points for their first three stays at participating properties for each loyalty program. Members can choose to earn double points through SPG, and a choice of Marriott Rewards or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

The registration period runs now through March 15, 2017, and the earning period runs January 16, 2017, through April 15, 2017. 

Visit members.marriott.com

Sabre Corporation Names Sean Menke President and CEO

In other news, Sabre Corporation has announced that its board of directors has appointed Sean Menke as president, CEO and a member of Sabre's board, effective December 31. 

Menke will succeed Tom Klein, who has served as president, CEO and board member since 2013. In addition, the board named Larry Kellner, currently the non-executive chairman of the board, as executive chairman, also effective December 31.

Menke joined Sabre in October 2015 and currently serves as executive vice president of Sabre and president of Sabre Travel Network, Sabre's largest line of business. Under Menke's leadership, Sabre Travel Network has won new business opportunities, increased global market share and secured Sabre's position as the leading global distribution system in three of its four major operating regions (North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific), and successfully extended new multi-year agreements with many of its largest global travel management companies, online travel agencies and travel retailers, Sabre said. In addition, he has led the solution that enables the sale of more customized fares and ancillary products through Sabre Travel Network and strengthened the technology solutions that will be offered to travel agencies next year as part of the launch of the new Sabre Red platform. 

Prior to Sabre, Menke served as CEO of Frontier Airlines and held senior executive positions at Hawaiian Airlines and Air Canada, among other carriers. He also served as executive vice president at IHS Services, a global technology company. He holds an MBA from the University of Denver and a dual bachelor of science degree in economics and aviation from Ohio State University.

Kellner joined Sabre as non-executive chairman of the board of directors in August 2013. He has served as president of Emerald Creek Group since 2010. He previously was with Continental Airlines, Inc. from 1995 to 2009 where he served as president and chief operating officer from 2003 to 2004, and chairman and CEO from 2004 through 2009. He was also a member of the Continental Airlines, Inc. board of directors from 2001 to 2009. In addition to Sabre, Kellner also currently serves on other boards of directors, including The Boeing Company and Marriott International, Inc. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of South Carolina.

Sabre also announced that, in connection with Kellner's appointment as executive chairman, Sabre's board has designated Karl Peterson as lead independent director. 

Visit www.sabre.com

Atlantis, Paradise Island

In Case You Missed It…Hawaii’s New Atlantis Resort

Finally, in case you missed it, China Oceanwide has entered into a management agreement with subsidiaries of Kerzner International Holdings Limited for a new Atlantis resort in Ko Olina, a 642 acre development on the white sand beaches of Oahu

Overlooking both the Honu and Kohola Lagoons, Atlantis Ko Olina will encompass over 26 acres of experiences, water play in Aquaventure Waterpark, The Ambassador Lagoon and The Lost Chambers Aquarium and dining experiences. With a design that aims to celebrate the natural elements of Hawaii’s environment, the resort will have approximately 800 guest rooms and suites, as well as approximately 524 residences. Guests and residents will be able to enjoy a variety of unique amenities, from private gardens and private pools to a variety of experiences to a Beach Club. Luxury retail boutiques will be curated to offer a wide and interesting selection for shopping. The resort will also house a Spa, introducing traditional and holistic practices fused with modern spa therapies, as well as a fitness centre. Younger guests will experience their own adventures, from discovering exotic marine life, to culinary lessons, to the latest innovations in technology. In addition, event space will be available for both large and small gatherings.

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And keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates. 

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