Less than two weeks after news broke that Design Hotels would become Starwood’s 11th brand, Design Hotels is already being brought into Starwood Preferred Guest.
Starwood first acquired a stake in Design hotels almost four years ago, though that was a minority relatively passive interest. Bringing them into the broader portfolio is a big ‘get’ and a strong boost especially for their European presence. It’s a third brand of independent hotels along with the new Tribute Portfolio and long-standing Luxury Collection. I’m not sure what the difference is necessarily across the brands. But there are a fantastic number of hotels in this portfolio that I actually want to stay at which is exciting. More nice hotels that are part of a good loyalty program is a good thing.
Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, Iceland
Today is the soft launch for the effort to bring Design Hotels into the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Only 5 of the 287 Design Hotels properties are live with SPG so far. They are:
- Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City
- C-Hotel in Lake Como, Italy
- Nira Montana in La Thuile, Italy
- Ten Bompas Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa
- Kruisherenhotel Maastricht Hotel in Maastricht, Netherlands
And right now there’s just an earning relationship and modest benefits.
- Starwood Preferred Guest members will earn at these properties the same as they would earn at other Starwood hotels (and Starwood co-brand credit cards earn double points when used there).
- Members earn stay and night credit towards status plus free high-speed internet and bottled water
- Elites receive bonus points as their welcome gift.
Rockhouse Hotel, Jamaica
In other words, there’s no upgrade benefit and no amenity choice (thus no Platinum breakfast). The relationship is new enough and this is rolling out in phases that I suspect they’re figuring things out quickly, bringing these hotels into Starwood as quickly as they can, and we may see them revisit what benefits look like.
Free Night redemption is expected in early 2016. (I’ve seen references on the SPG website to March 2016, but Starwood execs are talking about ‘early’ 2016 so that leads me to think they’re trying to underpromise and overdeliver with that date.) So, clearly they’re working on it. But I have to give them credit for getting things up and running quickly.
As more Design Hotels go live with SPG, they’ll be updated on the Starwood website.