Lucky reports that Starwood Platinum members will begin receiving complimentary in-room internet worldwide on March 1.
Hyatt added free internet as a benefit for all elites last year, at the same time they added four confirmed-at-booking suite upgrades per year. This is a good move to match Hyatt, but I still consider Hyatt’s Diamond upgrade program better than Starwood’s, although Starwood Platinums do have the chance of more suites than Hyatt Diamonds (quite rare for a Diamond to receive a suite without confirming it, in my experience).
I’ve long been saying that Starwood hsa needed to ramp up benefits to stay competitive. What was once an industry-leading program has been matched and even surpassed.
Starwood’s unique selling propositions were two-fold:
True Redemptions: No capacity controls on awards. Hilton and Hyatt now both offer this.
Upgrades including suites: Marriott explicity got rid of suite upgrades from their program a few years back. Hilton doesn’t offer suite upgrades as a benefit of elite status (occasionally it happens at the discretion/generosity of the hotel, but it isn’t a benefit of the program). Hyatt used to give Diamond members one suite upgrade certificate per year, and it wasn’t always easy to use. Priority Club doesn’t offer suites as a program benefit, either. Only Intercontinental Royal Ambassador status had a meaningful suite upgrade program, and it’s too small to count. (Ok, Fairmont too, and Omni, but again not relevant.) Now Hyatt trumps Starwood on suites by letting a member confirm the suite when they really want it rather than hoping and pleading at checkin.
So free internet, good start, thogh I think Starwood still has some distance to go — although Starwood Platinum remains superior in my mind to Marriott Platinum, Priority Club Platinum (by a long stretch!), and Hilton Diamond.