As it weathers a lull in travel because of COVID-19, Marriott International Inc. has taken in $920 million in cash via arrangements with co-branded credit card firms. The hotel firm will receive $570 million from JPMorgan Chase & Co. with the early payment of a signing bonus agreed to in the past as well as prepayment of revenues to come, Bloomberg reported.
Marriott is also receiving $350 million from American Express through a rewards points pre-purchase. The hotel company is said to be one of the biggest co-brand partners of American Express. Keefe Bruyette & Woods Analyst Sanjay Sakhrani said in a note to clients per the report, “We think this could be a benefit for AmEx to the extent that the points were purchased at a discount and also deepens its relationship with a large partner.”
Marriott, Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Hilton have also reportedly recently tapped into the bond markets. Hotel firms, for their part, are hoarding cash to survive the health emergency that has greatly affected the travel vertical. Approximately 75 percent of hotel rooms are vacant in just the United States, and seven in 10 lodging workers have been put on leave or laid off. In April, Marriott indicated that it had shuttered approximately 25 percent of its 7,300 lodging facilities.
In separate news, Marriott International Inc. CEO Arne Sorenson said per a report in April that the COVID-19 pandemic will reshape the experience of staying in a hotel — temporarily, at a minimum. He said per a report at the time that no one knows when the lodging sector will bounce back from the coronavirus impacts.
But Marriott is coming up with new ways to keep hotel workers and guests safe per the report, with the inclusion of bolstered cleaning, social distancing steps, and mask wearing by hotel staffers. Sorenson said per the report, “I’m hopeful those things aren’t permanent, but instead are about communicating through the operating tools that you can be safe in our hotels, whether you work there or are staying there.”