I tend to think that a lot of airline and hotel loyalty programs are too transactional. In other words, if a business feels that you’re a loyal customer and worthy of a certain status (using whatever metric they decide), it would be nice if you were always treated that way, rather than only under certain circumstances.
On the plus side, it’s an area where some loyalty programs are improving over the past several years. For example, most hotel loyalty programs award all elite benefits and even elite qualifying nights and stays on award bookings, which I think is a great policy. You should feel like a valued guest even if you’re redeeming points for a free stay. Similarly, some airlines offer complimentary upgrades even on award tickets, which is a nice gesture as well.
While minor, two of my favorite historical benefits that truly reward loyalty include:
- British Airways used to have an “open door policy” for their Gold members, where they’d grant them lounge access even if they were flying other airlines; that was discontinued in 2011
- In select regions, Radisson used to offer free coffee & internet to elite members even when they weren’t staying at their hotels, which seemed like a great way to build additional brand loyalty without incurring much cost; that was also discontinued
Anyway, there’s at least one hotel that allows elite members lounge access even if they’re not staying at the hotel. It’s a property I frequent, but I didn’t realize this benefit exists.
LoyaltyLobby reports that the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport offers free club lounge, shower, and sauna access to SPG Platinum members, even if they’re not staying at the hotel.
Sheraton Frankfurt Airport club lounge
Personally I love the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, as it’s by far the most convenient hotel at Frankfurt Airport, and also has newly renovated club rooms.
As luck would have it, the club lounge is also really nice. It has an extensive breakfast spread, great snacks throughout the day, and heartier offerings and complimentary drinks in the evening.
Sheraton Frankfurt Airport club lounge evening spread
I could definitely see there being some value in this perk:
- If you’re waiting for someone at the airport and have time to kill
- If you have a long layover but don’t have airport lounge access
- Even if you do have lounge access, this might be a nicer place to sit than many airline lounges
While the SPG Business Amex gets you Sheraton club lounge access when staying at the property, I would guess that the card in and of itself won’t get you access if you’re not staying at the hotel. I certainly could be wrong, but this seems to exclusively be a Platinum benefit.
As an SPG Platinum member I’m a big fan of the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, even though I had no clue about this benefit. This is an extremely generous offering on the part of the hotel that I could see potentially being useful.
Hopefully people don’t abuse it to the point that it’s eliminated (we’ll try not to tell the guy who recently visited the Emirates lounge in Frankfurt a couple of days in a row). 😉
Could you see yourself using this benefit? Do you know of any other hotels with a policy like this?