Starwood has really been an industry leader when it comes to their innovative partnerships with other travel providers. This has come in a few different forms.
For example, Starwood has partnered with Uber to offer bonus Starpoints for Uber rides, which is something that I know many SPG members have found to be a great partnership.
Starwood has also partnered with major airlines, which seems like a smart idea, given that many people who frequently stay in hotels also fly frequently. This includes their Crossover Rewards partnership with Delta and their Your World Rewards partnership with Emirates. Through these partnerships, Starwood elite members receive some benefits when flying with Delta/Emirates, while elite members of those airlines receive some benefits at Starwood hotels.
I guess Starwood is trying to expand their airline partnerships globally, as they’ve just launched their latest such partnership. Starwood and China Eastern are now partnering to offer benefits to members through their Eastern Explorer Rewards program.
How Starwood & China Eastern’s partnership works
Through this partnership, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold & Platinum members receive one bonus Starpoint for every 4 Eastern Miles Points earned on China Eastern flights. Furthermore, they’ll enjoy elite in-airport benefits, including:
- Priority check-in
- Priority boarding
- Priority luggage handling
- Access to the China Eastern business class lounge
- Excess luggage allowance
Those are some pretty cool benefits, especially given that you get lounge access when flying China Eastern. In practice it looks like these benefits will be granted in the form of SPG elite members being made China Eastern Silver members, so in order to access the lounge you’ll need to show your China Eastern elite card. Whether that card ever actually arrives at your address is anyone’s guess, though, given how dysfunctional I’ve found China Eastern to be. China Eastern’s website is horrible, so I’m struggling to even register for the partnership.
China Eastern Silver status typically requires flying 100,000 kilometers in a 24 month period.
China Eastern A330 at Shanghai Airport
Meanwhile China Eastern Eastern Miles Silver, Gold, and Platinum members will receive 2 Eastern Miles Points for every 1USD spent on eligible stays at Starwood hotels & resorts. Furthermore, China Eastern Gold & Platinum members will receive select elite benefits at Starwood hotels, including:
- Access to elite SPG check-in line
- 4pm late check-out
- Complimentary in-room Internet access
- An upgrade to an enhanced room (pending availability)
- A discount of 15% or more on dining at participating hotels in China
To participate in this partnership you have to sign into your SPG account through the partnership page, then sign into your China Eastern Miles account, and then link the two.
While I won’t personally find this partnership to be especially useful, there’s no doubt that many who frequently fly China Eastern will get value out of this. China is a huge market that many western loyalty programs haven’t done much to capture yet. I think these types of partnerships are brilliant, given that generally people who frequently fly also frequently stay in hotels, and vice versa.
It’s great to see Starwood continue to develop these partnerships in spite of Marriott’s takeover. We know that the SPG program will be around for at least another year, though at that point Marriott is working towards creating a unified program. It’s anyone’s guess what that new program will look like, though here’s to hoping they keep many elements of the SPG program.