Marriott International seals deal on mega-merger of rewards programs -- And the perks are seemingly endless

Rewards programs are one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to hospitality

Rewards programs are one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to hospitality brands and their offerings, with many consumers unaware of how advantageous and beneficial enrolling in these programs can really be.

For frequent travelers and lovers of luxury, these programs are a given, especially when their hotels or travel brands of choice go above and beyond with perks, benefits and opportunities for top points earners.

Marriott International is known to be a fine example of just this, offering top tier suites and amenities through its Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs and elaborate experiences and activations like cooking lessons with five-star chefs through its Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program.

And for members of one, two or all three of the programs, the advantages are about to triple in excitement.

Boasting over 110 million members, the three separate programs will now operate as a unified loyalty program, meaning benefits and points currency will be streamlined across the entire combined portfolio of 29 brands and 6,700 participating resorts and hotels.

Members who previously participated in two or three of Marriott International's rewards programs can now combine all of their accounts into one main account with the click of the button, making the new benefits and changes that the merger offers available almost instantaneously.

And those benefits have only seemed to improve with the three programs operating under one umbrella — Marriott reports that members now earn, on average, 20 percent more points per dollar spent at any of the participating hotels and resorts.

This is partially due to the new unified points currency, which also allows members to combine all points balances from any of their three accounts into one grand balance after they merge their accounts.

Other perks now include the absence of blackout dates for free room redemption through points as well as the ability to earn points for food/drink, spa and other hotel incidentals that are charged to their points folio.

The new rewards program is expected to be branded under one unified name in early 2019.