Starwood Hotels has nine hotel brands, plus Starwood Vacation Ownership properties where members can pay and stay or redeem points for rooms and suites.

When it comes to choosing a hotel program to dedicate your loyalty, the two main criteria are the global footprint of the hotel chain and the hotel market segment. Starwood Hotels ranks high in the upper upscale and luxury market segment with more than 75% of its hotels in high-end market segment brands. Four Points is the lowest market segment for the chain. Aloft and Element are small brands with a millennial market flair for a socially active lobby space.

St. Regis and Luxury Collection hotels offer old world charm or urban sophistication. Hotels in these brands will set you back in cash or points or both with Cash & Points awards.

The limitation of Starwood Hotels tends to be the limited number of properties outside major urban centers. If you are jet setting to world capitals and resort centers, Starwood Hotels will likely be able to accommodate you. Head into the hinterland away from the major tourist centers and you will likely be looking for another hotel chain.

This post shows the most recent numbers from Starwood Hotels 2014 Q-1 reports for the number of hotels in each brand and their geographic distribution. Aloft is the hotel brand that has grown the most in the past year in the hotel chain. There has been little growth in other brands. China is the country seeing most new hotel activity.

Starwood Hotels – Hotel Chain Profile

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Starwood Preferred Guest has a great 10,000 points bonus offer for stays at two different hotels of five Latin America hotels in the Aloft brand June 1 to September 30, 2014. Stays also earn double points.

SPG members must register for this offer by July 31, 2014.

Check in to double your earnings at any of these Aloft hotels:

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Starwood Hotels has reached milestones with three of its nine hotel brands through new hotel openings in 2013. Aloft Hotels, the cookie-cutter colorful vision of W Hotels, has reached 75 properties. St. Regis, the luxury segment brand, has reached 31 hotels worldwide. Element, Starwood’s extended stay brand, has opened its first property outside the USA in suburban Toronto.

Before the financial recession of 2008 there were reports coming out of Starwood Hotels that Aloft would have 500 properties by this time. That did not work out. Yet, Aloft has seen major growth over the past five years.

Aloft Hotels

Aloft Panama is the 75th hotel in the Aloft brand and the fourth Aloft hotel in Latin America. Aloft Panama is a category 3 hotel at 7,000 points. Aloft has hotels in 14 countries currently and the brand is expected to open hotels in 10 more countries by 2016. 

In the past six months alone, the Aloft brand has opened hotels in Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Tulsa, Cancun, Bursa, Kuala Lumpur and Ahmedabad. Plans are for 17 more hotels to open in 2013 and another 19 hotels in 2014.

Starwood Hotels describes the Aloft brand as designed for the next generation traveler. I view Aloft as a poor man’s version of W colors. The primary problem is the hotel room size at Aloft favors the single traveler. These rooms are cramped. My last stay at the Aloft Broomfield, Colorado was a hotel that offered suites, however, I did not see one and the room where I stayed looked like all the other Aloft rooms. Bright colors.

My hotel review is Simple Chic @Aloft Broomfield-Denver, Colorado.


Pool table in the lobby is a cool feature of the Aloft Brand.


Element Brand

Element expands to an international presence with Element Vaughan Southwest, a 152-room hotel in Vaughan, Ontario, just outside Toronto. The hotel is SPG category 3 at 7,000 points per night. Its opening marks the beginning of a global expansion that will see the Element brand add to its global portfolio and enter key European and Asian markets over the next few years. These include new Element hotels in Vancouver and Frankfurt, slated to open in 2014; Suzhou, China in 2015; and Calgary in 2016.

Element extended stay hotels offer apartment style rooms with a kitchen. These are also cookie-cutter designed hotels, yet Element as a brand strives for environmentally friendly design.

Element made history in 2008 as the only major hotel brand to pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide. To date, there are Element hotels in 11 North American markets, with new domestic and international hotels in development. Visit


St. Regis brand reaches 31 hotels with St. Regis Abu Dhabi.

The St. Regis hotel brand has doubled in the past five years since the global recession.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi boasts the world’s highest suspended hotel suite, set between two towers.

The extravagant Abu Dhabi Suite is positioned a lofty 650 feet above ground between the two towers and offering magnificent panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, the Corniche and the city skyline. Spanning over 11,600 square feet, the suite combines contemporary design with a traditional Arabic influence. The opulent suite features cascading strands of crystals, 24-carat gold leaf accents, leather wall tiles, jewel-toned velvet upholstered walls and intricate glass mosaic patterns. The Abu Dhabi Suite features three bedrooms, a grand majlis with a soaring ceiling, luxurious spa and movie theatre as well as a kitchen, dining room, fully-equipped gym and private elevator access.

St. Regis Abu Dhabi

St. Regis Abu Dhabi is a category 5 hotel at 12,000 points or 16,000 points per night. Room rates for a standard room are $319 to $368 for standard rooms for dates checked in October.

Exterior of The St. Regis Abu Dhabi with suspended ‘Abu Dhabi Suite’ between two towers (Photo: Busi ...

Exterior of The St. Regis Abu Dhabi with suspended ‘Abu Dhabi Suite’ between two towers (Photo: Business Wire)

Kelley kept repeating that she really likes the design of the Aloft hotel brand. I kept reminding her that she had only been in one Aloft Hotel previously for 15 minutes at Denver Airport a few years back when we checked in, I photographed the room and we left for the airport to catch our flight. That hotel stay was on December 30 and made my 25th stay for SPG Platinum status.

Kelley was confusing Starwood’s Aloft brand with Starwood’s extended stay Element brand. Aloft standard rooms do not have a kitchen or couch.

Cookie cutter design is not necessarily a bad thing in hotel design.

My first Aloft hotel stay was nearly five years ago. I knew what to expect from the hotel when I walked into the lobby of the Aloft Broomfield Denver located in a mixed-use business park suburban residential area between Denver and Boulder and convenient for a stay after touring Rocky Mountain National Park. Aloft Broomfield is almost identical to the first Aloft where I stayed at Portland Airport, Oregon in 2008 and every other Aloft I have seen in the meantime.


Aloft Broomfield, Colorado.

w xyz bar

The wxyz bar in the open space lobby is usually the focal point in the evening at an Aloft hotel. Aloft Broomfield at 10pm on a Thursday night was the most happening hotel bar I had seen in some time.

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For about 15 years Dar Williams has been on my bucket list of musicians I would like to hear play live. Thursday night, June 14, Dar Williams will perform a free show at the Aloft Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina.


Aloft Hotels offer a 10 show music series this season sponsored by Paste Magazine. Read More…

Starwood Hotels launched Aloft in 2008 with the opening of its first hotel in June 2008 – Aloft Montreal Airport. The brand offering promised to deliver guests W Hotel style at a budget rate. Style on a budget means compromise and the location of Aloft Hotels are the primary compromise with the brand focused on locations in business parks, airports, and other areas where demand and price point match better than trying to place a limited-service hotel in a high-priced urban location.

The first Aloft to open in the US was June 19, 2008 with Aloft Ontario-Rancho Cucamonga at a business park off Interstate 10 in southern California near the Ontario Airport and Ontario Motor Speedway (aside: I am remembering 1978 California Jam II at Ontario Motor Speedway and a laser light show in the evening March skies across the San Gabriel Valley while Foreigner played at dusk. Ted Nugent was the headliner, but Santana was the highlight of the day for this attendee in the mass of 300,000+ people. And look who is still around making great music today – Carlos.)

My first hotel stay at the Aloft brand was in November 2008 at the Aloft Portland Airport (PDX) at Cascade Station. I missed Missy Higgins playing in the Aloft Hotel lobby by one night. My review of the hotel still stands as a basic description with photos of what guests will find at any Aloft Hotel. This hotel brand is so uniform that I am fond of stating a guest needs to look out the window to remember where they are located. In the past three years I have also been to Aloft Denver Airport and Aloft National Harbor, Maryland.

The first hotel conversion project for an Aloft is underway at the former Clarion Hotel San Francisco Airport. That was the hotel where I originally started working the concept of understanding hotel loyalty programs in 1990 and the adjacent Westin Hotel was where I first earned elite status in Westin Premier in 1991.

When Aloft made its debut in China in November 2008 there were forward looking statements by Starwood corporate claiming 500 Aloft Hotels would open worldwide by 2013. The Aloft brand is 10% of the way to that goal, but the forecast is now for 70 Aloft Hotels worldwide by 2013.

The recent press releases from the past week herald the opening of the 50th Aloft Hotel worldwide.  Aloft Hotels currently show 52 hotels open with the following hotels being the newest brand members.

The most recent openings highlight the fact that 12 of 27 Aloft Hotels in the pipeline are developments in Asia-Pacific region.

Other hotels scheduled to open in the next year include:

Aloft Hotels are places of vibrant colors and fun game activities centered around a lobby bar. I think these are great places for business travelers who want a social atmosphere and a place that invites interaction.

Aloft Portland Airport PDX at Cascade Station

Personally I find the rooms a bit too cramped for more than one person. But that is just my opinion. When the price is right and the promotions are good I will stay at Aloft Hotels. For a similar price point in similar locations I prefer the rooms at Hyatt Place Hotels. Aloft Hotels are where I would prefer to hang out if bored and wanting some human contact. The Aloft lobby is set up for meeting people.

Aloft National Harbor, Maryland

Related Loyalty Traveler Hotel Review: November 8, 2008 – Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station.



Starwood Hotels reported its Q4 2010 financials yesterday. I am not a stock guy. I like the room rate and hotel numbers data from these reports to get an idea of where travel trends are happening.

Loyalty Traveler Quick Observations on year-end 2010 compared to year-end 2009:

  • Occupancy for Starwood Hotels is up in every global region, particularly Asia Pacific (over 7.0 percentage points) and Latin America (6.7).
  • Africa is one region where Starwood Hotels showed slower occupancy growth at 1.9 compared to the next lowest growth region here in the U.S. / North America 4.8 and Europe at 4.9 in the mid-range occupancy growth for 2010.
  • W Hotels is 2010 highest performing brand in Starwood Hotels at 4.7% Average Daily Rate (ADR) increase and 9.4 occupancy increase. W hotels also leads all Starwood brands for highest average occupancy 73.7%. W hotels are located in major cities and business is coming back. The two W Chicago hotels were packed with suits during my week in Chicago October 2010.
  • St. Regis and Luxury Collection are reported together by Starwood Hotels. These luxury brands had weakest performance of Starwood brands with lowest overall average occupancy at 62.9% and the greatest room rate decline (down 1.9%). Still, Average Daily Rate of $296 for these two luxury brands was more than double the room rate for Sheraton (ADR $143) and 26% higher than W hotels (ADR $234).
  • St. Regis and Luxury Collection had lowest occupancy percentage of any Starwood Hotels brand at 62.9%. However, this is a rise of 5.2 percentage points and the best occupancy rise of any brand behind W Hotels (9.4). Starwood luxury segment hotels are seeing a comeback. But the luxury segment also suffered the biggest downturn in the past two years after the ‘AIG effect’ triggered by the late-2008 conference at St. Regis Monarch Beach, Orange County, California.
  • Average room rates in Europe, Middle East and Africa have declined since 2009 and are still  dropping for last quarter 2010.
  • Asia Pacific is a hot hoteliers market with rates rising 12% year-to-year for last quarter 2010.

Starwood Hotels 2010 Q-4 Statistical Data

2010 Year-End Statistics

Estimate of annual hotel spend needed to earn SPG elite status

The average room rate for Starwood Hotels in North America is $154 for Q4-2010.

  • SPG Gold elite = 10 stays = $1,540 annual spend for 10 one-night stays.
  • SPG Gold elite = 25 nights = $3,850 annual spend for 25 nights.


  • SPG Platinum elite = 25 stays = $3,850 annual hotel spend with one-night stays.
  • SPG Platinum elite = 50 nights = $7,700 annual spend with 50 nights.

SPG Gold elite will likely range in price from $1,540 to $3,850 in annual hotel spend to earn.

SPG Platinum elite will likely range from $3,850 to $7,700 in annual hotel spend to earn.

Many frequent guests will spend far in excess of these upper range hotel spend values.

And some SPG elites will spend far less than the lower range values shown here.

A savvy shopper with flexibility in planning hotel stays can reasonably expect to reach 25 stays at low cost Starwood Hotels for about $2000 in annual hotel spend or an average $80 room rate. If SPG offers a ‘stays count double’ promotion during the year, then the total hotel spend can be even lower than $2,000.

Starwood Preferred Guest has put fast-track elite into play for the next three to four months with two promotions targeting SPG stays at Aloft, Element, and Four Points brands.

Nights/Stays Count Double Oct 1- Dec 31. Registration required.

Gold elite after four stays October 1-January 31. Registration required.

Last year I suggested hotel loyalty programs should focus on targeted Stays Count Double for their luxury hotel brands, but that idea wasn’t picked up. I am happy to see this promotion from SPG target the least expensive Starwood Hotels brands, at least for my wallet.

Promotion 1: Nights Count Double at Aloft, Element and Four Points Hotels (about 200 hotels).

  • Every eligible night or stay counts double October 1 – December 31, 2010.
  • All global properties in Aloft, Element and Four Points participate.
  • An eligible night is a paid night that qualifies for earning points (Cash & Points or Standard Award Nights do not count. Must book through an SPG channel, so no Expedia or Travelocity booked stays.)
  • Any SPG member may sign up for the promotion. (FAQ states SPG® members who receive the promotional email may register for the promotion, but Starwood Lurker II, an official SPG social media representative to the FlyerTalk community,  posted on FlyerTalk today that any SPG member is eligible.)
  • Register by December 31, 2010. Stays completed prior to promotion registration will receive double credit.
  • Stays with arrival before October 1 or departure after December 31 will count as long as one night falls in the October 1-December 31 period. (SPG FAQ: If I check in before October 1 or check out after December 31, do my stays and nights count double?  Any stays with an arrival date occurring during the promotion registration will count double. Any nights during the promotion period will count double.)
  • Multiple rooms for same hotel stay will only count for one double credit.

Loyalty Traveler 5-Key promotion opportunity for Stays Count Double elite.


Promotion 2: SPG Gold Elite after four stays in Aloft, Element or Four Points hotel brands.

  • October 1, 2010  – January 31, 2011
  • Register by January 31, 2011. Stays completed prior to registration, but during the promotion period will be counted.
  • Gold elite membership earned after four qualifying hotel stays from October 1 through January 31, 2011 will be valid for all of 2011 and through February 2012. [There is no point in waiting for January 2011 since the Gold elite offer is only for the 2011 membership year.]
  • The four hotel stays can be at any hotels in the three brands of Aloft, Element, and Four Points. You can stay four times in the same hotel or complete four stays in four different hotels.
  • Gold elite membership earns 50% more Starpoints as elite bonus (3 points/$1).
  • Gold elite members receive complimentary internet at Starwood Hotels.

Loyalty Traveler 5-Key promotion opportunity for fast-track Gold elite after four stays.


Loyalty Traveler Theorizes Why Stays Count Double is Limited to 3 Starwood Hotel Brands

The FlyerTalk thread on this SPG Stays Count Double promotion questions Starwood’s motivation for offering elite fast-track opportunities at the lower level hotel brands of Starwood Hotels. Here is some data which may shed light on why there is an effort to stimulate business in this hotel market segment.

There are currently about 45 Aloft Hotels (40 USA/Canada; 5 international), 7 Element Hotels (all USA) and around 153 Four Points Hotels (104 North America and 49 international).

Four Points Hotels are a Midscale with Food & Beverage hotel brand. This market segment is not seeing the occupancy recovery being led by the upscale and luxury hotel market segments in 2010. STR Global reported the 2010 outlook broken down by hotel market segments. The Midscale with F&B hotel market segment has less than 1% occupancy increase for 2010 when the luxury segment is looking at 8% and Upper Upscale 6% and Upscale near 5% occupancy increase for this year. Room rates are still in decline in the Midscale F&B hotel market segment. The RevPAR hotel profits indicator reveals the Midscale F&B hotel market segment is on pace for the worse statistics of 2010 in all hotel market segments.

Starwood Hotels numbers through June 30, 2010 show Four Points room rates in North America barely moved during the first six months of 2010 from $99.14 Average Daily Rate (ADR) in June 2009 to $99.36 in June 2010. At least the rates did not decline year over year. The room rate data is not broken down for Aloft Hotels or Element brands.

Four Points occupancy actually increased on average by 2.7% from 60.8% in June 2009 to 63.5% in June 2010.  While Four Points is faring better than the average North American Midscale with F&B hotel chain, Four Points shows an occupancy gain that is less than half the average gain (5.5%) for Starwood Hotels as a whole in 2010.

Aloft and element are the newest Starwood brands still trying to make an impact in the midscale to upscale business traveler market. That is tough with other new hotel brands like Hyatt Place, Marriott’s Edition, Hilton’s Home2Suites, IHG Hotel Indigo and other relatively new brands trying to grab the traveling public’s attention.

Aloft Hotels – Loyalty traveler review of Aloft Cascade Station Portland Airport (PDX) Oregon (November 2008). These are colorful hotels and my review includes many photos. But once you have seen one Aloft Hotel, you basically have seen them all. Looking out the window is the best way to tell where you are in the country.

Element Las Vegas (Summerlin) – Loyalty Traveler review with lots of pictures (August 2009).

Every Night Counts for double or triple base points is Starwood Hotels primary fall 2010 promotion for stays from September 8 through December 15, 2010. Promotion registration is required by October 31, 2010. The registration link is now live.

Stay 1 to 9 nights during the promotion period and earn double base points.

If you stay 10 or more nights by December 15,2010 you receive triple base points for all hotel nights. The additional points are even applied retroactively to the initial nine nights.

The main drawback of this offer is the large number of properties that opted out of the promotion. More than 150 hotels or about 15% of Starwood brand hotels globally are not participating. There is a list of participating Starwood Hotels on, but you may find it easier to check this FlyerTalk list of nonparticipating Starwood Hotels.

The promotion FAQ state this offer may be combined with other SPG promotions. I sure hope they come out with more to fatten up this slim pickings.

Loyalty traveler promotion rank = 2 of 5 keys. (not a promotion worth chasing)


SPG Every Night Counts - fall 2010 promotion


Every Night Counts Loyalty Traveler Analysis 

Calculating SPG Double/Triple Base Points

SPG members earn 2 base points per $1 in hotel spend. Starwood counts incidental spend such as room service, restaurant charges and such for earning points.

SPG Double points = 2 bonus points for 4 points  per $1.

SPG Triple points = 4 bonus points for 6 points per $1.

Assume you stay 10 nights at $150 per night = $1,500 in Starwood Hotels spend during promotion.

$1,500 x 2 base points per $1 = 3,000 base Starpoints for $1,500 in hotel spend.

Earn 3,000 base points during this promotion assuming you spend $1,500. These 3,000 points are the basis for double or triple points promotion bonus.

Double Points is 3,000 bonus points (assume $1,500 spent on 7 hotel nights).

Triple points is 6,000 bonus points (assume $1,500 spent on 10 nights).

In this scenario the SPG member who spends $1,500 earns at most 6,000 bonus points from Every Night Counts. That is not even enough for a free night at a lowly category 3 hotel (7,000 points per night) in the seven category reward system for SPG.

Starwood’s “Every Night Counts” promotion by itself does not excite me at all.

Now perhaps combining three 4-night Starwood Resort vacations for 30,000 bonus points is the real SPG fall 2010 deal that can be made slightly sweeter with Every Night Counts.

Act Fast: Starwood Lurker is within 25 posts of his 20,000th FlyerTalk post in the past ten years. Check this FlyerTalk post to email the date and time you think the 20,000th post will post for 20,000 Starpoints.

Starwood Hotels reached a statistical milestone in 2009 of 500 hotels in North America with the opening of the St. Regis Atlanta. An article last week in provided some interesting growth patterns for Starwood Hotels achieved in 2009.

                W Ft. Lauderdale is the 30th W Hotel worldwide.

                Element Denver Park Meadows is the 5th Element Hotel in North America (and worldwide).

Aloft Tallahassee Downtown is the 30th Aloft Hotel worldwide. While nearly all Aloft Hotels currently open are located in the US, there is already an Aloft Hotel open in Beijing and the Aloft Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open in about six weeks. India is scheduled to open several Aloft brand hotels in the next two years and Brussels will be the first Europe location scheduled for opening September 2010. Aloft Hotels directory link.

Four Points, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada is the 100th Four Points hotel in North America.

Starwood Hotels is poised to reach 1,000 hotels open worldwide in 2009.

Paul Sacco, Senior Vice President of Development for Starwood’s North America Division, points to hotel conversion as a major growth opportunity for Starwood Hotels. In this tough economic climate for hotel owners there will be plenty of hotel rebranding over the next couple of years.



The future holds plenty of potential for loyalty travelers as the major hotel chains grow and absorb more independent hotels and hotels organized in smaller associations.


Le Méridien Panama, the newest hotel in the brand, is Starwood’s first Le Méridien property in Central America.


element by Westin, Summerlin, NV (Las Vegas)

element by Westin, Summerlin, NV (Las Vegas)

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