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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Options are good in theory… unless you’re like me, and suck at making minor decisions.
What rewards would you like to see Starwood offer in lieu of Suite Night Awards?