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Marriott and MGM Resorts delay partnership launch to 2024

Oct. 16, 2023
4 min read
Marriott and MGM Resorts delay partnership launch to 2024
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Marriott Bonvoy members are going to need to wait a few more months before they can start earning and burning points at their favorite MGM Resorts property.

MGM Resorts rattled the hotel loyalty orbit over the summer by announcing it was ending a partnership with Hyatt in favor of launching a broader deal with Marriott International. While Marriott and MGM were expected to launch their extensive partnership spanning loyalty, online betting and even hotel branding this month, the specific start date wasn't clear.

That was thrown even further into jeopardy while MGM faced an unprecedented cyberattack last month. The companies issued a joint statement Monday morning indicating the partnership will now launch sometime in early 2024.

"Marriott International and MGM Resorts International are creating an extraordinary experience for our loyalty members with the introduction of MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy," the statement from Marriott and MGM said. "Our two companies are excited to deliver world-class offerings and benefits for our guests. We look forward to debuting MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy by early 2024."

A not-so-surprising delay

While neither company commented on a specific reason for the delay, the need to push the tethering back by a few months isn't exactly a shock. MGM's cybersecurity threat is only part of the equation.

MGM's cybersecurity issues entailed entire IT systems shutting down for days at the company's megaresorts while investigations looking into the scope of the attack took place. Some customer personal data was accessed, and those customers were notified. MGM Resorts estimated the entire ordeal cost the company $100 million, per a regulatory filing earlier this month.

However, the cybersecurity attack also ate into valuable time that would be necessary to close the partnership between MGM and Marriott. While MGM and Hyatt were more of a loyalty tie-up, the Marriott link-up is expected to be a significantly deeper relationship with connections to the BetMGM online gaming and betting platform, as well as what essentially amounts to the creation of a new brand — the MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy — along with select MGM Resorts properties going into other Marriott brands like the Luxury Collection, the Autograph Collection and the Tribute Portfolio.

It's not exactly the creation of an entirely new brand since the MGM Collection is going to be an umbrella for existing properties like New York-New York Hotel & Casino, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Luxor Hotel & Casino and Maryland's MGM National Harbor. But it takes time to integrate properties onto any kind of new platform, even a soft brand like the MGM Collection.

Bellagio Las Vegas will belong to Marriott's Luxury Collection under the new partnership, while Aria Resort & Casino and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will be included in the Autograph Collection. Park MGM Las Vegas will join the Tribute Portfolio.

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Recent brand launches from Hilton and Hyatt had executives touting the wonders of creating something new in less than a year, so it's not a surprise Marriott and MGM need a little more time.

What to expect from MGM and Marriott's delayed partnership

Once the partnership does kick off, we anticipate the partnership between Marriott and MGM will drive higher room rates in Las Vegas since the idea is Marriott Bonvoy brings in customers who will likely pay more at a resort.

"This agreement will enhance our profitability by driving lower customer acquisition costs and with a better mix of higher [average daily room rates] and on-property spend," MGM Resorts CEO William Hornbuckle said on an investor call earlier this year.

Given the tighter relationship expected from MGM and Marriott compared to MGM and Hyatt, we're hoping for more seamless loyalty earning compared to the prior partnership where it could take weeks for points and elite night credits to appear in an account. Others think this presents an opportunity for MGM to expand beyond resorts with casinos attached.

We'll wait until early next year to find out just what it all means.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.