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Marriott Finalizes Purchase of Starwood, Creating World's Biggest Hotel Chain

On Friday, Marriott International's $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide was finalized, having been delayed for months pending approval from U.S., European, and Asian antitrust regulators (the Chinese government was especially poky).

The move creates the world's largest hotel chain, spanning more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That means that more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms available on the planet now belongs in some way or another to Marriott.

Among the company's grand total of 30 brands: Courtyard, Ritz Carlton, Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, and, of course, Marriott hotels. Some of those are performing better than others, but Marriott executives say there's currently no plan to drop any of them (although some individual hotels could get sold off).

What does all this mean for the points and perks you've accrued through the two companies' guest loyalty programs? Though those programs will remain separate for the time being, you can now link your accounts at Marriott and Starwood and get comparable status at each (if you're a gold member in one, you'll be gold in the other). 

Additionally, each Starwood point will be worth three Marriott Rewards points—which is a pretty good deal.

For now, Starwood's partnerships with American Express, Delta Air Lines, and Uber will remain in place, as will Marriott's partnerships with Chase and United Airlines. In the long term, however, Marriott says those deals could change.