Another Gutting: Starwood Preferred Business Ends Points-Earning

Business programs can be a valuable supplement to personal frequent flyer and frequent guest accounts.

An early offering was Southwest’s “Secretaries Program” which awarded free travel to administrative staff booking their bosses onto Southwest.

Of course that benefit derived to the individual and company programs in theory at least benefit and belong to the company itself, though in practice they often belong to the individual managing the account (since large companies may have their own corporate deals, and these programs are often designed for smaller companies).

I get good value out of American’s Business ExtrAA program where I accumulate points that can be used for free tickets and upgrades but I usually use them to gift AAdvantage Gold status and lounge memberships.

Starwood has had an interesting program for a long time, Starwood Preferred Business. Unfortunately the richness of this program is ending.

For avoidance of doubt, changes are to Starwood’s small business program and not to the Starwood co-brand small business credit card from American Express.

SPG Business has offered (very small) company discounts, and all ’employees’ linked ot an SPG Business account receive a status equivalent to what you get just by having (and not spending on) an SPG co-branded American Express card or being a AAA member… which is to say, effectively Gold status without the bonus for in-hotel spend. That stays.

There was also earning of additional Starwood points for the company account in addition to points earned by the traveler. That goes away October 15. (Accumulated points can be redeemed through January 24.)

Members still get the discounts, their travelers still get modest SPG benefits, and the program will allow accumulation of stays that will allow the company to gift status. At a very un-generous rate.

  • (1) Gold status upgrade after 100 qualifying nights using the company’s code.
  • (1) Gold status upgrade after 250 qualifying nights using the company’s code.
  • (1) additional Gold status upgrade for every 500 qualifying nights
  • (1) Platinum status upgrade for every 1000 qualifying nights.

Here are the new terms and conditions that will be effective October 15.

The terms give the following status-earning example:

[I]f 2,350 Qualifying Room Nights were booked at Participating Starwood Properties using a Member Company’s SET Number during an applicable Qualifying Period, the Member Company would earn 2 Platinum Preferred elite status upgrade awards (1 at 1,000 Qualifying Room Nights and 1 at 2,000 Qualifying Room Nights) and 6 Gold Preferred elite status upgrade awards (1 at 100 Qualifying Room Nights, 1 at 250 Qualifying Room Nights, 1 at 500 Qualifying Room Nights, 1 at 1,000 Qualifying Room Nights, 1 at 1,500 Qualifying Room Nights and 1 at 2,000 Qualifying Room Nights).

(HT: Steve H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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