Is InterContinental Part of Marriott?

Rate this post

When looking to book a hotel, you may come across big brand names like InterContinental and Marriott. This leads to the question – are these two major hotel chains actually connected or part of the same parent company?

The short answer is no. InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International are completely separate and independent hotel corporations.

They have no shared ownership or merger between them.

However, the two giants still compete closely as leaders in the upscale and luxury hotel segments. Understanding their relationship as rival brands can help you make informed lodging decisions.

Is InterContinental Part of Marriott?

Background of InterContinental Hotels

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. It operates several hotel brands including:

  • InterContinental – Luxury hotels
  • Kimpton – Boutique lifestyle hotels
  • Crowne Plaza – Business hotels
  • Holiday Inn – Midscale family hotels
  • Staybridge Suites – Extended stay hotels

Overall, IHG has nearly 6,000 hotels across 100 countries. The InterContinental brand is its most premium luxury line.

IHG hotels participate in the IHG Rewards loyalty program. This allows guests to earn and redeem points across all IHG brands worldwide.

Background of Marriott International

Marriott International is based in Bethesda, Maryland and encompasses 30 plus hotel brands including:

  • JW Marriott – Luxury hotels
  • Renaissance – Boutique lifestyle hotels
  • Marriott – Full service hotels
  • Courtyard – Select service hotels
  • Fairfield Inn – Budget hotels

Marriott has over 7,600 properties spanning 132 countries. The JW Marriott brand competes most directly with InterContinental in the luxury space.

The Marriott Bonvoy program integrates rewards across all Marriott hotel brands and partners. Members earn points on eligible stays.

IHG and Marriott Group Rivalry

Despite no corporate connection, InterContinental and Marriott groups compete head-to-head in many hotel segments:

  • Luxury – InterContinental vs JW Marriott
  • Lifestyle – Kimpton vs Renaissance
  • Business – Crowne Plaza vs Marriott
  • Extended Stay – Staybridge vs Residence Inn

The flagship InterContinental and JW Marriott luxury brands battle for global upscale travelers. Meanwhile, each group offers similar hotel experiences targeting various markets across other brands.

Guest loyalty programs also contend for members with contrasting program features and elite benefits. The competition between these two powerhouses drives innovation and value across their hotels.

Brand Confusion Between IHG and Marriott

Given the lack of affiliation between the groups, some confusion exists around separating their brands:

  • InterContinental is not part of Marriott International in any way.
  • JW Marriott is not part of IHG’s brand portfolio.
  • Loyalty programs are completely separate – IHG Rewards vs Marriott Bonvoy.
  • No merger or acquisition unites the hotel groups.
  • They operate as fully independent competing corporations.

Despite the divide, both have succeeded in cultivating strong brand identities that travelers recognize globally across their respective properties.

Partnerships Between the Brands

While IHG and Marriott do not share ownership, they have established partnerships in certain areas:

  • Credit Cards – Co-branded credit cards like the IHG Rewards Premier Card and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card allow earning points in either program.
  • Travel Packages – Some bundled vacation packages combine airline, rental car, and select hotel brands from both groups.
  • Global Hotel Alliances – Alliances like Global Hotel Alliance allow earning/redeeming points across participating hotels including some IHG and Marriott brands.
  • Travel Agent Programs – Agent programs provide access to book hotels under any brand, creating affiliations between all major chains for agents.

So strategic partnerships do exist in the travel space, even between competing groups. But the hotel brands themselves remain under separate management.

Loyalty Program Status Comparison

As rival programs, comparing IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy status tiers:

| IHG | Marriott |
| Gold Elite – 50 nights | Silver Elite – 10 nights |
| Platinum Elite – 75 nights | Gold Elite – 50 nights |
| Spire Elite – 100 nights | Platinum Elite – 75 nights |
| InterContinental Ambassador – Invite only | Titanium Elite – 100 nights |
| | Ambassador Elite – Invite only |

The night requirements are aligned though Marriott offers an extra Silver status tier. Top invite-only ambassador tiers mirror each other.

Benefits like upgrades, lounge access, points bonuses also compete heavily between the two loyalty programs by status tier.

Brand Acquisition Activity

Both groups continue acquiring new hotel brands into their portfolios:

  • IHG – Recently acquired Six Senses luxury resorts and Regent premium hotels.
  • Marriott – Purchased Starwood Hotels in 2016 to absorb brands like Westin, Sheraton, and St. Regis.

But they have not encroached on each other’s brand holdings. IHG and Marriott seem focused on expanding footprint rather than overlaps.

The future could potentially bring a shakeup if one giant eventually acquires the other. For now, no mergers are underway. But the hotel industry remains fluid.

Choosing Between IHG and Marriott

When it comes to choosing a hotel, focus on brand experience over umbrella company. Consider:

  • Location – Which property is most conveniently located?
  • Rates – Which has the best price for your dates?
  • Benefits – Will elite status amenities apply at one over the other?
  • Loyalty – Do you have existing points with IHG or Marriott?
  • Preferences – Does one brand better align with your travel needs?

For any given stay, weighing individual property advantages matters most when selecting between the two groups. Brand familiarity and benefits simply provide an extra layer of information.

The Takeaway

Despite similar positioning in the upscale hotel segment, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International operate as distinct competitors.

They represent strong rival brands while pioneering their own accommodations experiences across the globe.

Jennifer Tuffen
Jennifer Tuffen

I'm Jennifer Tuffen, a travel enthusiast and storyteller, six years and 10+ countries deep into a journey of discovery and cultural immersion.