Dec212009

SPG eliminates peak season award rates for 2010

Starwood Preferred Guest sent out a “Happy Holidays from SPG” email Friday, December 18. I received a copy. The email reflects on the past 12 months with the $6 billion dollar Sheraton makeover, opening of W Hotels in Barcelona, Spain and Santiago, Chile, and the growth of aloft and element brands.

The next two paragraphs caught my attention.

We also continued to enhance many aspects of our program based on your feedback, including offering rewarding promotions such as Night After Night and Free Weekends, to help you make the most of your travel.

 

We’ll continue to stay focused on what matters to you in 2010. In fact, we’re pleased to announce that peak season Starpoints® pricing will be eliminated again for next year. This is the first of many efforts to celebrate the start of a new decade.”

 

The letter is signed by Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO Starwood Hotels and Chris Holdren, Senipr Vice President Starwood Preferred Guest.

 

Starwood Hotels at the high end categories of 5, 6, and 7 has had peak season rates for several years and suspended the peak season surcharge for 2009. Now we have another year with award redemption rates set at one level for high category SPG Starwood Hotels.

No Peak Season Award Night Rates in 2010

SPG Category 5 Hotel     12,000  points        Peak Season 16,000      

SPG Category 6 Hotel     20,000  points        Peak Season 25,000           

SPG Category 7 Hotel     30,000   points       Peak Season 35,000    

SPG eliminated peak season rates for 2009 at all but three Italian resorts. The email received by many SPG members, including me, states 2010 will be another year without peak season rates. I did not locate any additional details on the SPG website.

At some time in the future SPG and other major hotel loyalty programs will certainly make negative changes resulting in members’ points losing value. Hilton made their decision to implement a major devaluation of points for 2010 with the addition of a new high end category and realignment of hotels within these categories.

This elimination of peak season rates is a move by Starwood Preferred Guest to maintain the value of points in their hotel loyalty program. With this one positive aspect of redeeming points for free hotel nights, SPG has made an initial simple gesture of good relationship management with their frequent guests for another year.               

Let’s hope we see some great promotions and not too much upward movement of hotels within the SPG free night categories when hotels are shuffled in early 2010.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. SPG has the possibility that a Category 6 hotel is available for $150 + 8,000 points. This can be a good value using Starpoints.

    Category 7 hotels are at the outer limit of hotel loyalty program value. Sure if the hotel is regularly $700 to $1,000 per night, then 30,000 points is reasonable. The elimination of peak season keeps Category 6 and 7 hotels from being obscenely high in points and a poor redemption value.

    Hilton comes out looking fairly good with many hotels, even at 50,000 points for Waldorf or Category 7 when compared to high end Starwood.

    Gary Leff in his View from the Wing post 12/20 commented on Starwood Hotels’ “Aspirational properties” in his comparison of the high end Starwood Hotels compared to the other major chains.
    http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthewing/2009/12/20/starwoods-brand-positioning/

  2. Sorry, Ric; that wasn’t a request. That was a comment on Starwood’s not using an opportunity to charge more points for free nights while Hilton is charging 20% more. I apologize for any confusion, although your response was informative nonetheless. Sorry!!

  3. Sometimes I don’t mind adding more to a post. I still think I need to make a comment on how SPG has eliminated peak season while HHonors has Waldorf Astoria Collection peak season rates in effect for 2010.

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