Starwood to count award stays towards elite status?

According to Gary, Starwood will likely announce on October 1 that award stays will start to count towards elite status. When Gary says something I don’t ask any questions, so… 😉

This would certainly be huge news, and it would probably be good for me. I’m a leisure traveler and trying to requalify for Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Platinum, and InterContinental Royal Ambassador. The easier each of the three are to requalify for, the better for me. But I still don’t quite understand the logic.

As it stands Starwood gives Starwood American Express cardmembers two stays and five nights towards elite status annually. Further counting award stays towards elite status has two implications:

1) More Platinum members competing for the same number of suites. At Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott, the number of elite members really shouldn’t matter, since you get the same elite benefits regardless of whether there’s one top tier member or 100 top tier members at the hotel. At Starwood, suite upgrades based on availability is a published benefit. The more Platinum members there are, the more people competing for suite upgrades.

2) Booking cash and points in place of a revenue room. One of the best features of Starwood’s program is the opportunity to redeem cash and points for a room in place of making a revenue booking. Often after doing the math I’ll still pay a premium for making a revenue booking rather than using cash and points since I want the stay credit. If cash and points counted towards status I wouldn’t make a revenue booking unless absolutely necessary.

Again, I’m not in any way complaining (I’m all for it, as a matter of fact!), but slightly puzzled by the benefit. Trust me, I’d be taking full advantage of the new benefit and likely not be making more than a handful of revenue stays a year while maintaining Platinum status. But from Starwood’s perspective, what’s the reasoning? If they really wanted to make their elite program an industry leader again they should be introducing free breakfast (or something similar) for Platinum members.

Anyway, if this benefit turns out to be true I’m excited, though the 100+ night/year road warrior shouldn’t be…

Comments

  1. To be clear, I said “likely” — it’s been confirmed to me by two individuals but I do not have direct knowledge. We should know very shortly if this is accurate 🙂

  2. I wonder if they will go retroactive for this year- I’ve had about 7 reward stays, and could really use the help getting to platinum again.

  3. How are you going to maintain RA status now that the requalification requirements have changed? That’s going to be a /lot/ of coin on a leisure traveler’s budget.

  4. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/intercontinental-hotels-priority-club-inter-continental-ambassador/1255173-new-ra-qualifying-criteria-based-ic-nights-july-2011-a.html

    I’m surprised you missed this long discussion about the change. It looks like it is now minimum 30 IC nights (but maybe? reward nights count) out still 50+ IHG nights. As usual, IHG’s opacity here is quite frustrating but lots of people posting that they were denied RA renewal with 10ish IC nights at 5+ ICs despite 60+ IHG nights, so seems real.

  5. Bad news for those of us who earn our Plat status the hard way. Even further dilution for a program that has not kept up with the competition for top tier benefits.

  6. Just tweeted by SPGInsider…We have some cool benefit news to share w/ our members this week, so stay tuned to our feed. #SPGInsider

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