Starwood brings back peak season award rates

Historically, Starwood has charged “peak season” award rates at the discretion of individual hotels, based on what they consider to be their peak season. Due to the economy, Starwood eliminated the peak season pricing for two years, though I guess the economy has recovered (or so they think!), since they’re introducing it again as of January 10, 2011, at 65% of category five through seven hotels. During the peak season (which is up to 16 weeks of the year at some hotels), the peak season premium for a category five hotel is 4,000 points per night, and the peak season premium at a category six or seven hotel is 5,000 points per night. You can see the full list of category five through seven hotels that are participating, along with what their peak dates are, here.

My thoughts? I’ve never been a loyal Starwood customer, and doubt I ever will be. I love their credit card, but strictly for mileage conversions. While cash and points redemptions (where you pay fewer points per night than a standard award redemption, plus a cash supplement) can be a great deal, the real value in loyalty programs for me comes with really high end redemptions, be it redeeming miles for international first class, or a stay at an iconic, $600+/night hotel. High end Starwood hotels are prohibitively expensive to redeem points for, and this only makes it worse.

And that’s why I love Hyatt and Priority Club… the ease of redeeming points at truly high end properties.

(Tip of the hat to Loyalty Traveler)


  1. Truly high end properties like Hyatt Place Kansas City or Holiday Inn Express LAX? Or high end properties like the Park Hyatt Seoul or the InterContinental Bali? 😉

  2. Does Priority Club have any truly “high end properties?” I’m not talking merely good hotels, but like internationally renowned hotels, the equivalent of SQ/CX/EK/NH but for hotels. There are definitely some Park Hyatts l (such as PH Tokyo) or some Starwood properties (such as the Hotel Imperial in Vienna) that could be called truly high end, but I can’t think of anything in the Priority Club group that would warrant such a designation.

  3. Yes, PC has IC (Intercontinental), and you can eat/drink the entire contents of your minibar for free.

    It’s a strange program, marrying Holidy Inn Expresses with Crown Plaza and IC properties. But apparently there’s some value there and they recently had some sort of promo where you could get more points back than you redeemed for some sort of cash + points redemption at low cash levels. Though I think they “fixed” that now.

    Ben .. you think redeeming SPG points for airline miles is more valuable than cat 4 or 5 5th night free awards at SPG? I don’t. I don’t think we’re going to see nearly as many “free night” (ala FFN, FWN, etc) promos in 2011 as we have been seeing the past couple of years. That’s where you thrive, isn’t it? Well, certainly using your SPG card for airline miles can be more rewarding than using the airline branded card if they only award miles at 1:1 I suppose.


  4. LIH Prem- What do you need to do to be able to have entire minibar for free? I have PC platinum…How does one get to enjoy it all for free?

  5. @David Royal Embassador (~50 nights at ICHG group hotels with at least 5 stays at 5 different IC hotels. You need to be Ambassador first and then need to earn those nights and stays within one membership year which is a rolling year starting with the month you have enrolled into Ambassador.)

  6. @ chasgoose — Perhaps InterContinental doesn’t have too many “iconic” hotels, but they do have several that I would consider truly high end — InterContinental Paris, Hong Kong, and Bora Bora, to name a few. I would consider those to be on par with most Park Hyatt hotels out there.

    @ LIH Prem — The thing is, I never stay in the same place for five nights. Actually, I don’t remember the last time I spent more than three consecutive nights in the same bed (even when I’m at home!). Beyond that, I actually don’t think it’s that fantastic of a value. I earn nearly two miles per SPG point, as I only transfer when there’s an additional transfer bonus, be it the American 35% bonus or US Airways 50% bonus. A category five hotel (not during “peak season”) costs 12,000 points/night, so five nights would cost 48,000 points. We’ll call that 90,000 airline miles (which is what it comes out to with the US Airways transfer bonus, if we do some rounding), which I believe are worth 1.5 cents each, or $1,350. Divide that by five, and you’re looking at the cost of a night at $270, and that’s an award where you’re not earning points or stay credit. And that’s not even a top hotel, only a category five hotel. Just my two cents…

  7. Oleg- Would platinum ambassador do anything? Any purpose of enrolling in ambassador program if im only Plat?

  8. @ David — Technically, Platinum benefits don’t apply for hotel stays at InterContinental properties. Instead, they have the separate Ambassador program. So it can make sense to join Ambassador for room upgrades, late check-out, a dedicated check-in desk, the buy one get one free weekend night certificate, 5,000 bonus points, etc.

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