Starwood Introduces Free Internet for Platinums

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.

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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  1. This is great, with one glitch: a lot of Starwood resorts have a resort fee that includes the internets already.

    I don’t suppose they will somehow reduce that fee for Plats???

  2. I’m not sure how applicable this is to people here, but…

    What’s your favorite low/mid-tier elite hotel program (SPG Gold or Hilton Silver equivelent)?

  3. Hyatt also offers free internet to platinums, which only requires 5 stays per year. Starwood is only going to be introducing free internet for platinums, but not golds. Still, it is an excellent step forward.

    Hyatt has begun upgrading members to suites on a fairly regular basis. I’ve had a suite at the Hyatt Singapore on my last 5 stays. I always get a suite at the Park Hyatt Washington. Highlands Inn in Carmel will often give diamonds a two story townhouse. It’s not a promised benefit, so it is a delight when it happens. Hyatt delivers what it promises and more besides. It has suddenly surged into front out of the major hotel programs.

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