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.