Several weeks ago Starwood announced that they would be revamping their loyalty program, adding several new benefits for super-frequent guests. While they didn’t add a new top tier above Platinum status, they did start to differentiate between Platinum guests that requalify on 25 stays per year and those that spend 75+ nights per year at Starwood hotels. They added benefits like confirmed suite upgrades, 24 hour stays, free breakfast, and even lifetime status.
Anyway, the changes kicked in on March 1, and the one thing I was most curious to see the execution of was the complimentary breakfast benefit. Platinum members now have the option of selecting continental breakfast as a Platinum amenity at check-in, in place of 500 Starwood points or a welcome gift. The reason I was so curious about the execution is because I stayed at the Le Meridien San Francisco a few weeks ago on a Fine Hotels & Resorts rate, which includes continental breakfast, and was offered orange juice and a croissant. Yes, that’s technically continental breakfast, though certainly not in the “spirit” of continental breakfast in North America.
Starwood has promised they’ll have “brand standards” as to what a continental breakfast consists of, though it appears some hotels are off to a rough start with the new benefit, as noted in this FlyerTalk thread. While some reports are good, others note that some hotels are pretty stingy with the benefit. One FlyerTalk member notes that the W Los Angeles Westwood offers a $12.50 breakfast credit, enough for juice and a muffin. Another member notes that the Westin Jersey City set up a table outside the restaurant for Platinum members (with no seating) containing coffee, orange juice, and muffins, instead of giving them access to the continental breakfast inside the restaurant.
So while I trust Starwood will follow up with these hotels, it seems the benefit is off to a somewhat rocky start.
Reader sendaiben even notes that the St. Regis Bangkok previously offered Platinum members complimentary breakfast (as is the case with many hotels in Asia), though now you have to choose breakfast and the 500 point Platinum amenity. Anyway, it’s hardly surprising and the hotel is perfectly reasonable for doing so, though if you previously planned your Starwood stays well by frequenting properties that offered free breakfast, you might just come out behind with the new benefit.
I have several Starwood stays over the coming weeks, so can’t wait to see how they handle “breakfast.”
Have you guys had any experiences with the new continental breakfast benefit yet? Would love to hear your experiences!