Starwood is Considering Devaluing its Awards

Starwood is currently surveying some of its customers on how to increase the points required for awards in the least objectionable way.

The following survey was passed along to me by a reader I trust.

    Hilton Hotels has “raised their prices” to redeem a free night. Starwood Hotels and Resorts is considering changing its redemption program. If Starwood were to “raise their prices” we want to know what would be most acceptable to you.

    In thinking about the “price increases”, please review the following option below and rank them in order from 1 to 4 with 1 = the most acceptable and 4 = the least acceptable.

    1 = highest ranking …4 = lowest ranking

    • Raise the award redemption level on all six tiers of hotels in the Starwood Hotels program. For example a hotel at a 10,000 Starpoint redemption level might go to 13,000 Starpoints to redeem a free night and a 20,000 Starpoint redemption level might go to 25,000 to redeem a free night.

    • Raise the award redemption level on tier 4, 5, 6 hotels only with a 25% increase in Starpoints required to redeem a free night off peak and a 50% increase in Starpoints required to redeem a free night during peak season

    • Add a seventh tier of hotel with a 30,000 Starpoint redemption level for a free night. All high demand hotels would be added to this level e.g. St. John, Maui, Paris, New York

    • Create an off peak and peak Starpoint redemption level for all hotels with the peak redemption pricing about 25% more than off peak

This is bad. Very bad.

Starwood, the perennial Freddie Awards favorite, got trounced this year. Lots of folks have lots of theories on why, but it seems to me that they are all explained by a drift away from providing superior value to customers. Starwood was so far head and shoulders above everyone else — ease of award redemption, suite upgrades, customer service — for so long. I have anecdotes only, and certainly there are countervailing examples, but the trend seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Now is the time to head off a massive (25%+ in one shot) devaluation at the pass.

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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