Marriott revealed this morning that it has identified a major breach of security at Starwood Preferred Guest, which Marriott inherited with its 2016 acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Astonishingly, the breach has been in place since 2014. This means 500 million guest records are involved.
This is not a notional breach. A Marriott investigation has shown that “an unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information”.
For over 300 million of the impacted guests, the data stolen involves:
- mailing address
- telephone number
- email address
- passport number
- SPG account number
- date of birth
- arrival and departure stay information
Some guest have also had payment card numbers and expiration dates stolen, although this data was encrypted. The bad news is that Marriott is refusing to rule out that the hacker had also stolen details of the two steps required to decrypt this information.
For the other 100 million+ guests, only their name and mailing or email address was stolen.
Marriott will begin sending emails today to affected guests whose email addresses are in the Starwood guest reservation database.
You can see the full Marriott statement on their website here.
On a more thoughtful note …… perhaps it is time to reconsider the whole ‘making your travel experience easier’ routine? Whilst there are cost savings to be made as part of this, the airlines and hotels have been keen to collect unnecessary personal information now for many years primarily to smooth your journey.
No longer does a hotel check-in clerk need to manually copy out all your passport information, take your home address details and ask for a credit card deposit (at least for elite members). It is all centrally stored in the system for when you arrive. Except, when that system is not secure, your personal details are at risk.
Given that it now virtually impossible to secure large corporate networks, companies should – at the very least – remove passport and credit card information from the data we are asked to store with them.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (January 2022)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)