Granted, the conference call is only two and a half hours away. But the Wall Street Journal came out with news of Starwood introducing a new benefit, SPG Flights, where you can redeem your points for paid airline tickets.
Sure, the redemption rate is better than Amex or Diners Club offers these days, and better than Citi’s Thank You Network variable redemptions. Which is to say you get better than 1 cent in value per point. But it doesn’t look like you can ever do better than 1.5 cents, and so I can’t imagine that I would ever use or recommend this benefit to anyone.
Granted, adding benefits without taking benefits away is a positive thing. I was just hoping for more from the big announcement — something game-changing to take on Hilton which has matched Starwood’s room redemption policies (and Marriott will likely be matching as well).
And Starwood knows they have to do something, that their in-hotel points-earning really is not competitive, and they are no longer meaningfully better on the redemption side. Granted outside of Intercontinental Royal Ambassador, Starwood Platinum is the only elite level that puts suites in the terms and conditions, and that’s a big deal. But hotels vary in their delivery of the upgrade benefit, and too often Platinums are left unrecognized.
I suppose the conference call could unveil something else, not mentioned by the Journal. I’ll be hoping. But I probably won’t worry about making it into the office in time to be all situated for the 8 a.m. Eastern call. Instead I’ll wait to hear about it on Flyertalk or dial-in for the noon…
Update: Indeed, that’s all there is to the big announcement. Oh well. I hope there’s more coming in the next few months, because Starwood needs to do something to meaningfully differentiate themselves.
The redemption chart for the SPG Flights benefit is as follows:
|up to $150||10,000|
|Higher prices (examples)|