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Official Announcement: SPG Transformation with effect from March 1st, 2012

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by SPG Champion 3, Feb 1, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
    • Original Member

    tommy777 Co-founder

    First of all, improvements are good. After reading through the entire list, I have to tell you, I'm not that impressed. For me as a 60 something night Platinum, the day to day changes are virtually non existent.

    SPG is trying to catch up and IMHO, they are not back on top.

    As a Platinum staying at a property with a club, there are absolutely no changes. You get breakfast at the lounge and still get your 500 points.

    The new breakfast benefit
    At a property with no club, you can get a continental breakfast (which is defined by the property, just think of how messy that will be..), but you have to give up your 500 points by choosing something that costs 9-20 USD per person. The half way breakfast is limited to 2 people, kids have to pay.

    Compared to Hyatt who offers full breakfast for up to four people AND a welcome amenity that includes 1000 points, SPG are still far behind in my book. When on a business stay, I will never choose the breakfast as my employer will pay for it anyways. On a personal stay, I probably won't choose the breakfast either because the undefined continental breakfast will probably suck and I would have to pay for what I really want to have for breakfast when I'm on vacation.

    The suite upgrades

    When is a confirmed suite upgrade valuable? For those special trips where you really want to enjoy yourself.

    This new benefit is just strange. I qualify for it myself, but fail to see how useful it will be. I'm going to Asia in 3 weeks for my annual splurge. I'm staying at the Park Hyatt Tokyo on my first stop and I'm gladly paying 400 bucks a night because I confirmed a 1200sqft suite 4 months ago. Those 4 confirmed suite upgrades are really valuable to me because it takes the front desk clerk and the hotel out of the equation from the get go. If I couldn't get it confirmed, I would stay somewhere else and I have plenty of time to make that decision.

    The 4 confirmed suite upgrades available at booking, gives you up to 7 nights per cert, which means up to 28 nights in a suite. SPG gives you 10 nights total and they don't confirm till 5 days out. And for those important stays, it's too late. I would compare Hyatts certs as SWUs or CR1s while SPG coughs up 500 milers.

    Sure, the suite upgrades with SPG are valid on award stays, but that's the only advantage they have. In order to get 4 confirmed suite upgrades with Hyatt, you only need to do 25 stays, while SPG requires 50 nights.

    Gold benefits

    Sure, these are an improvement, but at the end of the day, most programs have free internet at this level already. The improvements does not stand out as being a winner at 10 stays.


    Sure, the thought is good, but it comes at a cost. If I hop off a redeye at 6AM and I'm at the hotel at 730AM AND I've been smart enough to request this 2 days in advance, I can get a room at that hour, confirmed. But what it then means is that my check out time is then 730AM. So it definitely comes at a cost (like most of these enhancements): I have to concede my 4PM guaranteed check out in the process of getting this benefit. Sure, the SPG people will say that the hotels will be flexible, but when the T&Cs say that if you check in before 9AM, your new check out time is then 730AM, the hotel are in their full rights to kick you out at that hour (as a 75 night guest)
    I think RA has this nailed down: 8AM guaranteed check in. Why are you not just offering that, why making it so complicated and why are you throwing us at the mercy of the hotels?

    4 SPG points per dollar spent at 75 nights

    FINALLY some earning differentiation! I've never gotten why all SPG elites earn the same amount of points. But I seriously think the extra point should come at the Platinum level, not this high up in the food chain


    Couldn't care less. I hate interacting with people, I like making my own arrangements, but I can see the benefits for some. But Hyatt offers PL agent for ALL diamonds and they do pretty much the same thing.

    Lifetime status

    Great work. Very transparent and easy system

    I am a little surprised of the low numbers needed to become a lifetime member, though
    Skye1, From NYC, Jimgotkp and 3 others like this.
  2. mauld

    mauld Silver Member

    Wow, I opened my e mail about 5 minutes ago and got the message from SPG:cool:. While I'm already Plat for 2012 (and on my way for 2013) my 'infinite' status currently is Gold. Not a big deal for me as I intend to keep up Platinum status yearly, but for those times in the future when my travel patterns change, it's nice to know that I'll have a 'soft' landing. Don't really care about the breakfast or other new perks-- the status is what's exciting for me.
    IDGflygirl likes this.
  3. Scott Schmidt

    Scott Schmidt Silver Member

    This is great news for the Gold member and the Super-elites, but I guess I am in the donut-hole of Platinum Members qualifying on Stays for whom the only plus is the choice of a continental breakfast in lieu of the other welcome amenities.

    With the exception of hotels like the US Grant with a high Suite to Room ratio, It feels like a dilution of the Suite Upgrade benefit is imminent.

    I suppose you cannot make everyone happy, but some bone thrown our way would've been nice!
  4. Skye1
    • Original Member

    Skye1 Silver Member

    As for Lifetime Platinum, let's hope that's it's stays as "Platinum" as it is for a "Lifetime." What makes this amazing news isn't just the lifetime-length of the status, but also how good the status actually is and the benefits it yeilds.....foregoing any dilution of it, including by "giving" it away too often to too many or altering its benefits through restructuring of the program, submersing it below additional "layers", etc.

    (ps. that's not an implicit "dig" at the new additional nights benefits, as it's absoultey right that SPG can tangibly, additionally direct rewards to specific high revenue customers).
  5. Jimgotkp
    • Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    I like what tommy said...+1
    From NYC likes this.
  6. thethinwhiteduke
    • Original Member

    thethinwhiteduke Silver Member

    i dont see how starwood is implementing changes to current status based upon past behavior without an opportunity to influence or change our behavior. i now have 11 months of being mid-tier.

    and, sorry, but the decision to keep everything platinum instead of creating new levels is just plain deceptive.
  7. Seacarl
    • Original Member

    Seacarl Gold Member

    On the whole I find all the changes positive.

    Regarding the new lifetime program, may I suggest that the Account Summary section of the website display the number of years of elite level, and number of years of Platinum? Too bad that stays only since 1999 count, since I've had many stays at Westins and Sheratons prior to that date.

    Regarding the breakfast benefit for Platinums, may I suggest that when the hotel restaurant offers a buffet, that the Platinum be entitled to the full buffet. That will prevent individual hotels from attempting to cheapen out this benefit. It could be that the choice is the continental from the menu, or the buffet. I also agree that it should include children in the same room - it could be for 2 adults and up to 2 accompanying children.

    I can see that Your24 might be valuable when you arrive really late at night. If you are occupying your room at midnight, you get it for that full period. There are times when that would be valuable. But I agree with Tommy that if I arrive at 8am, unless I have an early morning flight, I'd rather have the room the next day until 4pm.

    But on the whole, nice improvements, including making the Gold level more valuable.
    jbcarioca likes this.
  8. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

    I hate to admit it, but the lifetime status and a few of the other changes will be having me throw some of my business from Hilton over to SPG. And I was just about to put more effort into Hilton with the 'suite' upgrades for diamonds.
    jbcarioca and IDGflygirl like this.
  9. Scott Schmidt

    Scott Schmidt Silver Member

    One additional concern I see is the quantitative easing of points can lead to award chart inflation. Golds getting more points and SPG75s getting more points, mean award space will become more scarce or more costly in the long run.
    jbcarioca likes this.
  10. jbcarioca
    • Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    This I like. That i qualify is better. It would be about time for a fourth tier anyway. Between 50 and 75 nights is a lot of time spent at a hotel. I'll be there again by June or so, so I wish they'd add a bit for a 90 night or so. Why not?
    TRAVELSIG and IDGflygirl like this.
  11. Simon
    • Original Member

    Simon Milepoint Guide

    SPG is so pulling out of stays and going nights like Marriott which sucks for me but might benefit others more.
    • Original Member

    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

    In my case it is better, however it is logical that there are plus/minuses to every program change.

    As a hotel owner, it would seem that nights would be a much more logical incentive for a loyalty program- however without inside glimpses into the data it could be an incorrect assumption.
  13. unavaca
    • Original Member

    unavaca Gold Member

    It's nice to see that SPG is stepping up their game. There's still a ways to go to give Hilton Gold a run for the money, but it's looking good so far. Thanks!
  14. Skye1
    • Original Member

    Skye1 Silver Member

    I'm with tommy777 on this one. I'd rather keep the 500 points, and get an inexpensive breakfast off-property.
  15. MSPeconomist
    • Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    I would rather sleep late and skip breakfast than go to a hotel restaurant and either wait to be served or see people with disgusting heaping plates of food. Often my business travel involves breakfast being supplied at morning meetings. If this is not the case, I appreciate the ability to get something light very fast in a lounge. Otherwise, it can be more fun to find a local cafe. Frequently I skip breakfast at home, so it isn't a priority when I travel. I'll sometimes indulge when a fantastic buffet (such as at the Tokyo Westin or the Lausanne Palace with champagne) is available, especially if I can do this at a late hour, but I'm really not a brunch fan either. I guess I'm just not so fond of typical breakfast food items.
    IDGflygirl likes this.
  16. Misplaced Texan
    • Original Member

    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

    I have a question just to clarify. Assuming I hit the 75 nights and get the Your24 for next year (which would require staying at some inconveniently located SPG properties, but I might do it), does it carry over across a multi-night stay.

    In other words, if I fly in on Sunday night and arrive at 8PM, does that mean I have the room until 8PM on my check-out night several nights later so I don't have to check out that AM if I won't be finished at a client in time to hit 4PM? That would actually be a big benefit because I hate having to get up half an hour or so early to pack.
  17. SPG Champion
    • Original Member

    SPG Champion Official Representative

    Not really. The same benefits that have always been available to Platinum members are available for those who still choose to earn them with 25 stays. However, if you want access to some of the extended benefits, the way to get them is to stay 50, 75 or 100 nights.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

  18. SPG Champion
    • Original Member

    SPG Champion Official Representative

    It's regardless of how many nights in length your stay may be. The check-out time is the same as the check-in time on your chosen day of departure, even if it is 1 day or 90 days later.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

  19. Black Cloud
    • Original Member

    Black Cloud Gold Member

    Very much agree with much of your post. A couple of my comments, from my perspective, tacked on.

    Agree that it's relatively meaningless when traveling for work. On vacation, it very much depends on the property. Would be nice for SPG to define a minimum standard of what a continental breakfast is, so the guests can make an informed decision. As we all know, the variables between properties can lead to feeling like you received a wonderful benefit, or are greatly disappointed. I'd rather mitigate the disappointment.

    Agree. Don't like playing upgrade roulette. The 5 day thing is silly. I completely get that hotels want to sell the rooms for revenue, but for certs issued for that volume of business the 5 day window is a non-benefit. Especially when hotels play games with upgrades.

    I actually think this is a very good benefit and the guest should figure out what's more important -- confirmed early check-in or a more standard check-out. It's nice to have the option.

    Agreed as well, but am not fixin' to look the gift-horse in the mouth. My question is whether the 4 points per dollar after 75 carries forward for the entire next year, or does it stop at the end of that year.

    My thoughts exactly.

    It is significantly cheaper for a hotel to operate a room with a guest for multiple nights then turn it over for a new guest every night. I often wondered why hotel loyalty programs seem to encourage hotel hopping.

    Not sure how accurate these numbers are these days, but the cost for a room to be occupied at a FS Hyatt I worked at many moons ago was about $35/night, inclusive of labor. The cost to "turn over" a room was about $50/night. Those are direct room related costs (mostly related to housekeeping), and didn't factor in ancillary revenue offsets, marketing costs, or additional staffing needed outside housekeeping (not even sure if front desk staff were included in those numbers).

    Before ya'll get the crazy idea that hotels operate with super high margins based on those numbers, don't kid yourself. There's a lot of other costs that aren't reflected in the cost to operate the room. But, the ~30% delta is pretty clear. Extrapolate that over a 1,000 room hotel and those $10 - $15 start to add up.
    IDGflygirl and TAHKUCT like this.

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