Business

Marriott and MGM link loyalty programs in a bid on business travelers

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Two big brands go big on loyalty

Marriott and MGM Resorts International announced a partnership Monday to link their loyalty programs and give customers more options for cashing in.

Under the deal, MGM guests in the United States can earn Marriott Bonvoy rewards points and Bonvoy members will in turn have access to 17 MGM properties when they spend their points.

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MGM’s 40,000 rooms will increase Marriott’s global portfolio offerings 2.4%.

The partnership seeks to capitalize on frequent or business travelers, who can be fiercely loyal to certain hotel brands in effort to rack up rewards. Those loyalty programs drive business and help differentiate competitors at a time when travel is continuing to rebound from a pandemic pause.

“The value is in the quantity and the quality of the customer,” MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle told CNBC in an interview Monday.

Bonvoy has more than 180 million members. If members want to use their reward points for a stay on the Las Vegas Strip, currently, their only hotel option is the Cosmopolitan, which MGM bought in 2022.

When the new partnership launches this fall, Bonvoy members will be able to redeem their rewards at 12 additional resorts on the Strip and five more MGM resorts nationwide.

Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said MGM Resorts brings a wealth of intellectual property to the portfolio as well as entertainment, high-end culinary options and other one-of-a-kind experiences.

“It’s really an exciting opportunity for our membership,” Capuano said.

Capuano said last month that the global hotel chain raised its revenue per available room forecasts based on a 26% hike in group business this year.

The convention business has yet to fully recover from its Covid-19 pandemic lows. Still, the conference calendar is packed, and there’s optimism that group business, along with increased international visitation, could push results higher.

Las Vegas is one of the top destinations in the United States for conventions, conferences and meetings.

When asked whether the Bonvoy program would give MGM a competitive advantage in group business against competitors such as Caesars, Hornbuckle said, “The answer is absolutely, unequivocally yes.”

Casinos, meanwhile, are facing tough year-over-year comparisons for the second half of 2023, and the partnership with Marriott could deal MGM a competitive advantage in its sports betting business, BetMGM, co-owned by Entain.

Customers of MGM’s sportsbook will earn Bonvoy points on some transactions, and Bonvoy members will see MGM sportsbooks marketing on the Marriott site.

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said in a news release announcing the deal that it will create a “truly robust rewards program that connects our players and Marriott guests to the full BetMGM omnichannel experience.”

— CNBC’s Dawn Giel, Jessica Golden and Kasey O’Brien contributed to this report.

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