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Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts have finally officially merged into one company in a US12.2bn (£9.4bn) deal. The acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts makes Marriott International the largest hotel company in the world.

Now members of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programmes can get reciprocal benefits. The combined programmes will have 85m members.

Starwood will keep its own websites and apps for the short term.

“The marriage of these two leading hotel companies means Marriott will deliver an unparalleled guest experience with more hotels in more global destinations, an unrivalled range of comprehensive accommodations to suit every traveller, and the industry’s best loyalty programmes,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International.

It took the best part of a year after first announcing the merger agreement, for Marriott International to complete the purchase of Starwood.

With the addition of Starwood’s portfolio, the new Marriott now has 30 brands with more than 5,700 hotels. That amounts to 1.1m rooms in more than 110 countries, making the new entity the largest hotel company in the world.

The merger was a drawn out process, with Chinese insurance consortium, Anbang making a counter-offer to top Marriott’s initial bid. Then there was the question of approval from Chinese authorities.

Starwood includes luxury brands St. Regis and W Hotels and they will now sit alongside Marriott’s The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, and EDITION.

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