Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President Starwood Preferred Guest described Crossover Rewards, the new alliance between SPG and Delta Airlines, as about “taking care care of each other’s best members”. We had a phone interview this morning.
Crossover Rewards launches March 1, 2013 for active members who belong to both Delta Airlines Skymiles and Starwood Preferred Guest. The innovation here is creating crossover benefits for elite members of an airline frequent flyer program and a hotel loyalty program.
SPG Gold and Platinum elite members earn one point for every dollar spent on Delta tickets. SPG Platinum members get some of the benefits of Delta Skymiles Silver Medallion like free bag, priority check-in and Zone 1 boarding.
Delta Medallion Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond elite members earn one Skymile for each dollar in Starwood Hotel rate. Delta Platinum and Diamond members receive many of the hotel stay benefits of SPG Gold like 4pm late checkout, free internet, and room upgrade.
Elite members of Delta Airlines and Starwood Preferred Guest can link their airline and hotel loyalty accounts beginning March 1.
- An individual may register for Crossover Rewards through www.spg.com/crossoverrewards or delta.com/crossoverrewards only.
- SPG members can register for a text reminder: Be the first to know. Text “Cross” to 44264 and we’ll remind you to link your accounts when registration begins on March 1.
Crossover Rewards Basic Benefits
All Delta Medallion Elites
- Delta Skymiles Medallion members (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond) will earn one mile in the Delta SkyMiles program for every one US dollar or its foreign equivalent denomination spent on Eligible Rates during Eligible Stays at SPG Participating Hotels
- Miles are awarded only for room rate and not for incidental spend at Starwood Hotels.
- Delta Skymiles general members without Skymiles elite status will not earn bonus Skymiles for Starwood Hotel stays.
Basically any published fare on Starwood websites for a Starwood Hotel will qualify as an eligible rate stay when using AAA, Senior, Corporate and most promotional rates. Cash & Points and award night stays are not published rates and will not earn bonus Starpoints for Delta elites.
Delta Platinum and Diamond member benefits at Starwood Hotels:
Benefits for Eligible Starwood Hotel Stays. A Crossover Rewards Participant who has Diamond or Platinum Medallion status in the Delta SkyMiles program will receive the following elite benefits during Eligible Stays at an SPG Participating Hotels:
i. The ability to use the elite check-in linethat is used by Gold Preferred Members and Platinum Preferred Members in the SPG Program;
ii. 4 p.m. late checkout, subject to availability at resort and conference center SPG Participating Hotels;
iii. An enhanced room at check-in, subject to availability and the same restrictions that apply to Gold Preferred Members in the SPG Program under the SPG Program Terms; and
iv. Complimentary guest room Internet access.
Note: The complimentary internet benefit means a Delta Platinum or Diamond member who also holds SPG Gold elite status can choose a different hotel stay benefit like bonus Starpoints (125/250 points) than free internet for Starwood Hotel stays.
Starwood Preferred Guest Gold and Platinum Member Benefits on Delta Flights
- Benefits shown below apply only for SPG Gold and Platinum members.
- Qualifying Delta Flights earn one Starpoint for every US Dollar or equivalent spent on published and corporate fares.
- Some fares earn a set 500 miles per flight segment. (1) for special fares, often referred to as unpublished fares, including, but not limited to consolidator fares, tour, groups, merchant marine and cruise packages; or (2) for fares where the rate for the flight is unknown.
SPG Platinum Member Benefits on Qualifying Delta Flights.
4.2.a. Qualifying Delta Flights. A Crossover Rewards Participant who is a Platinum Preferred Member in the SPG Program will receive the following elite benefits with Qualifying Delta Flightsif the reservation includes the Crossover Rewards Participant’s SkyMiles account number:
i. Priority check-in at designated Silver Medallion and SkyTeam elitecheck-in lanes where Delta offers this service (currently, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, New York City – JFK, New York City – LGA, Salt Lake City, Tokyo-Narita) or at designated Sky Priority check-in lanes at all other airports;
ii. Zone 1 Priority Boarding on Qualifying Delta Flights for the Crossover Rewards Participant and up to 8 additional passengerstravelling under the same reservation as the Crossover Rewards Participant. Priority Boarding in not offered on Delta Shuttle flights; and
iii. First checked bag free for the Crossover Rewards Participant and up to 3 additional passengers travelling under the same reservation as the Crossover Rewards Participant. This waiver is only for standard first checked bag fee, if any fee applies, for a bag that is not overweight and not oversize under Delta’s applicable rules in Delta’s contract of carriage. Additional checked bags will be subject to the applicable baggage fees as outlined by Delta’s rules and the purchased fare set forth in Delta’s contract of carriage. The first checked bag fee waiver will only be applied on flight segments which originate on a Delta or Delta Connection® carrier when you check-in with Delta for both a Delta marketed and Delta operated flight. Please refer to www.delta.com/baggagefor more details.
All legs of a Crossover Rewards Participant’s reservation must be on Qualifying Delta Flights to be eligible for elite benefits under this Section 4.2.a.
The qualifying fares portion on the Delta flights side of the equation is more confusing than the Starwood Hotels eligible rates.
“Qualifying Delta Flight” is a ticket with flight legs that are both marketed by Delta and operated by Delta or a Delta Connection® carrier and that is eligible to earn miles in the Delta SkyMiles program under the Delta SkyMiles Rules & Conditions, except for flights that are booked through online travel agencies including, without limitation, expedia.com, hotwire.com, priceline.com, orbitz.com, cheaptickets.com, travelocity.com and each of their subsidiaries. A flight operated by a Delta codeshare partner is not a Qualifying Delta Flight.
3.2 Delta Flights. A Crossover Rewards Participant who is a Gold Preferred Guest or a Platinum Preferred Guest in the SPG Program will earn Starpoints in addition to earning miles in the Delta SkyMiles program in accordance with the Delta SkyMiles Rules & Conditionsas follows:
3.2.a. One Starpoint for every one US dollar or its foreign equivalent denomination spent on published and corporate fares (excluding taxes, fees and surcharges) for Delta tickets on Qualifying Delta Flights;
3.2.b. 500 Starpoints per eligible leg on Qualifying Delta Flights: (1) for special fares, often referred to as unpublished fares, including, but not limited to consolidator fares, tour, groups, merchant marine and cruise packages; or (2) for fares where the rate for the flight is unknown; or
3.2.c. Either the amount specified in 3.2.a or 3.2.b for Corporate Sales, Military or Government fares, dependent on the organization’s contract with Delta.
All legs of a Crossover Rewards Participant’s reservation must be on Qualifying Delta Flights to be eligible for Starpoints under this Section 3.2.
Note:the last term that all legs must be Delta or Delta Connection marketed and operated means a ticket with legs operated by another airline, say a ticket with Delta USA to Paris and then intra-Europe from Paris on Air France or KLM, will make the ticket ineligible for earning Starpoints.
There are other terms for SPG members who already use Delta Skymiles as their SPG Airline Direct Deposit (ADD) program where all Starpoints earned automatically transfer into miles at 1:1 rate. Links to official T&C and FAQ pages from Delta and SPG are at the end of this post.
Crossover Rewards is a loyalty innovation
Crossover Rewards will likely be a case study partnership in loyalty program development. A successful venture might see other hotel and airline loyalty programs follow suit for awarding miles, points and elite benefits for partner travel to create cross-brand loyalty among elite members.
HHonors has had a longstanding competitive advantage of “Double Dip” for points and miles. What does it mean if more hotel chains partner with airlines for partner points, miles and elite benefits?
Hyatt Gold Passport gave United Mileage Plus 1K a huge bonus points promotion a couple years back. We could see new types of promotions where elite members of an airline or hotel chain get limited time elite benefits from the travel partner. The idea is the elite members are the most profitable customers and crossover elites may shift valuable customers from one preferred hotel or airline to another for the crossover elite benefits.
Expanding the idea of elite crossover rewards among other airline and hotel programs is kind of an appealing idea for me. Battling for elites at its basic tactic in the travel industry means offering a better product or benefit for us as consumers.
Unfortunately, Delta does not fly from Monterey Airport. And there are no Starwood Hotels around Monterey Bay. I’ll sign up for Crossover Rewards though as an SPG elite member and hope for some bonus Starpoints in case I find myself on a Delta flight in 2013.
Crossover Rewards FAQ (Delta)
Crossover Rewards FAQ (SPG)
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.