Oct282010

SPG is turning Chinese

I think turning Chinese is a good thing, so please don’t start a Loyalty Traveler boycott.  Chinese members actively using Starwood Preferred Guest have surpassed the United Kingdom membership as the second most active SPG members behind the USA membership. SPG enrollment jumped 58% this 2010 year in China compared to last year and 2009 saw 50% growth. Chinese members are SPG’s fastest growing customer base.

More than 50% of guests are Chinese at China’s Starwood Hotels.

All this data comes from the HotelsMag.com story (10-27-10). Here is the link, but you need to become a member (free) to view the article.

Watch for China SPG promotions

I would love to see another good SPG promotion targeting China hotels. That would be incentive for someone like me to take a country tour.

SPG is not the only hotel chain recruiting members in China. China, Brazil, India, and Russia are the hot spots for global rapid hotel growth. The big hotel chains are branching out rapidly. Competition in marketing hotel brands means hotel loyalty program competition. Watch for promotions. I think they will come in 2011 for the hearts and minds of loyalty travelers. I just hope they are open to us in the U.S.A. I’d love a good incentive for a trip around China.

Hey SPG! How about running another one of those stay at 5 Starwood brands and get 50,000 points?

SPG ran a promotion like that in 2003 for the Asia-Pacific region. With the opening of the Starwood Luxury Collection The Astor in Tianjin this summer, there are actually hotels in China representing every SPG brand, except Element.

Eight brands for 50,000 bonus points!  Now that would still be a decent SPG offer.

Update October 28, 2010 – 

As it happened, SPG announced a free night after 3 stays promotion yesterday:

 Stay 3 times and earn 1 free weekend night when paying with MasterCard at over 250 Starwood Hotels in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa from Nov 1 – Jan 31, 2011.

Registration required and goes live November 1, 2010.

Promotion is limited to one free night per member during promotion. A good offer, but the one night limit keeps this from being a great offer.

Free nights may be redeemed from Dec 2 through February 27, 2011 at Category 1-6 hotels. 

SPG Free night promotion link

 

Loyalty Traveler warning! SPG category shift predicted to rock China

I have a feeling category shift to higher redemption award night levels is a past trend in SPG that may accelerate in China’s Starwood Hotels. Currently there are no SPG category 6 or 7 hotels in China. At the present time there are seven category 5 hotels in China.

Starwood Hotels in China at SPG Category 5 Award level

My Loyalty Traveler advice regarding SPG  for all you new Chinese Starwood Preferred Guests is spend points at the category 1 and 2 hotels before they become category 3 and 4 as rates likely will rise over the next couple of years.

Starwood Hotels in China at SPG Category 4 Award level (10,000 points/night)

I remember when some of the currently category 4 hotel awards were category 2 awards just a couple years ago.

Starwood Hotels in China at SPG Category 3 Award level

Starwood Hotels in China at SPG Category 2 Award level

There are still category 1 hotels in China. These hotels are only 2,000 points for a Friday or Saturday award night. You can buy that many Starpoints for US$56 right now.

Starwood Hotels in China at SPG Category 1 Award level

Just buying points from SPG will get two nights ($112 for 4,000 points) for the price of one night based on the prevailing rates at the Sheraton Zhoushan.

Get two nights for Price of 1 buying Starpoints at $28/1,000 points

And if you are more in the upper-upscale and luxury dream set then grab those category 5 awards at 12,000 points since they are more out of reach when SPG increases some of these hotels to category 6. Seriously, how long can the St. Regis sit in category 5?

The 20,000 points needed for a free category 6 award night results in a 67% increase for a free night. Currently you can get a five night stay for 48,000 points at one of China’s top level category 5 hotels and resorts.

If you have 50,000 points to spend and any of these hotels move to SPG Category 6 in March 2011, you will see your 5-night award stay potential reduced to two nights.

There are dozens more Starwood Hotels in China scheduled to open over the next three to four years.

Starwood Hotels posted 2010-Q3 financials today. They have a quarterly loss through taxes despite optimistic growth forecasts and around 10% growth in revenue per room. Wyndham and Marriott report being happy with their financials too. The big are getting bigger in the hotel world.

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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