Starwood Introducing Alternative To Platinum Suite Night Awards

Filed Under: SPG

In 2012 Starwood introduced a suite of new benefits for elite members, which really propelled them to one of my favorite hotel loyalty programs out there.

New-Starwood-Benefits

Starwood’s new elite perks in 2012

From my perspective, the two most significant enhancements included:

  • Platinum continental breakfast: Platinum members can choose continental breakfast in lieu of their 500 Starpoint welcome amenity
  • Suite Night Awards: Platinum members earning at least 50 qualifying nights in a calendar year receive 10 Suite Night Awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade for a one night stay five days prior to arrival

St-Regis-Deer-Valley-63
Who doesn’t like free breakfast?!

The latter benefit has proven really useful to me. It’s smart from Starwood’s perspective, since it gives members an incentive to qualify for Platinum status with 50 nights as opposed to 25 stays. Furthermore, it allows members to lock in suite upgrades for the stays that matter most to them. Do they always clear? No. But I’ve actually had fairly good luck.

Unfortunately I had four Suite Night Awards expire this past year, I guess because I was hoarding them too much. The thought process of redeeming them is kind of tricky, given that Platinum members already (at least theoretically) receive unlimited complimentary suite upgrades based on availability. So when choosing to redeem them you have to decide not only how much you want the suite, but also what your chances would be of otherwise getting the suite upon arrival.

St-Regis-Deer-Valley-23
Suite at St. Regis Deer Valley, Park City

Suite Night Award alternatives coming?

Many have reported not having any luck redeeming Suite Night Awards, which is kind of surprising to me. But I guess Starwood is listening to feedback in that regard, and will soon be offering an alternative to Suite Night Awards:

PLATINUM MEMBERS WITH 50 ELIGIBLE NIGHTS CAN CHOOSE THEIR REWARDS BENEFIT.

Coming soon: We will be unveiling a selection of rewards that will allow eligible members to pick the reward that suits them best.

What comes next?
The new reward options will be ready in March 2015. In the meantime, keep booking and staying. We’ll send all eligible members an email with the details as soon as the selection is rewards is available.

SPG-SNA

View from the Wing thinks that the new options will include bonus Starpoints and award redemption discounts:

My understanding, and I have an email in to Chris Holdren at Starwood on this now, is that the choices will include bonus points and award redemption discounts.

On one hand it’s nice to have options, on the other hand I’m bloody horrible at making these kinds of decisions. So I’m curious to see how rich the alternatives are, but chances are that one option won’t be significantly more lucrative than the other, in which case I’ll probably pull all my hair out trying to make a decision.

Up until 2013, Starwood offered Gold & Platinum renewal gifts, which they didn’t offer last year. It almost sounds to me like these new alternatives are what we would have been offered as a renewal gift.

Bottom line

Options are good in theory… unless you’re like me, and suck at making minor decisions.

decisions

What rewards would you like to see Starwood offer in lieu of Suite Night Awards?

Comments

  1. I would have hoped the option would be either the existing SNAs, or as an alternative something more like the Hyatt Diamond upgrade certificates (perhaps only 5 nights’ worth instead of 10, since the Hyatt certs would clearly be more valuable). The idea of confirmed upgrades is nice, the SNAs were just a disappointment because the 5-day confirmation window seemed too often to not work.

    In particular, in my experience, weekend stays could be tricky because someone checking in on Thursday for a weekend stay would see their SNAs clear before anyone checking in on Friday. That’s no different from how confirmed-at-check-in upgrades would work, but since those were never supposed to be “guaranteed”, it’s much more frustrating when something that’s supposed to give you priority doesn’t feel like it is doing so.

    It also always seemed like certain properties were trying to game the system with respect to SNAs, but then those were mostly the same properties that didn’t play fair on at-check-in upgrades anyway. Lucky, part of the reason you may have been luckier than most with SNAs is that in my experience properties outside the US are often better-behaved both with at-check-in upgrades and presumably also with SNAs, whereas many other Platinums may have been trying to use SNAs at the same US properties that never liked to give upgrades to begin with.

  2. Personally, I found the SNA’s to be completely useless, I had 8 of them expire and went 1/9 while trying to apply them.

  3. I had 8 of my 10 expire. I had about the same track record in years past. I didn’t get any this year, as I finished the year with 46 nights and 28 stays – more than enough to requalify for Platinum, but 4 nights shy of the 50. Since the SNAs were basically worthless, I didn’t bother to do a mattress run for those 4 nights needed to get to 50. It wasn’t worth the incremental cost, since I put the value of SNAs at very little.

    I’m disappointed that Starwood discontinued the Platinum renewal gift. I was looking forward to getting my 35% off a reward stay. With the 5th night free and 35% off, I could take a nice week-long vacation for just a scant few Starpoints. Why did they discontinue renewal gifts? Was this announced, or did it just quietly disappear like my hairline?

  4. Totally agree with everyone here. I had all 10 of mine expire this year. I tried to use them for 7 nights, but it never pulled through.

    @Neal, the 5th night free + 35% off gave me a nicely discounted trip in 2014. I would welcome that again.

  5. It was rather puzzling they didn’t even bother doing a token requalification gift in 2014. Previous year’s 35% off redemption was very nice but they could’ve done something less generous like double points.

    Anyhow, my preference would be for a discounted award stays 🙂

  6. I recently achieved 50 nights this year and have been given a couple different options to pick one from.

    – 10 SNA Awards
    – Gift gold status to friend, family or colleague
    – $100 Amazon code
    – 4 Uber rides worth up to $25 each
    – TSA precheck application to bypass long airport screening lines for up to 5 years (worth $85)
    – and $100 donation to unicef

    Hope this helps

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