Topic of the Week: Delta and Starwood Crossover Awards


Yesterday, Delta and Starwood Hotels announced crossover awards where elite members in each program get benefits in the other. What do you think? Would this make you more likely to use one or the other? Is it a smart move?

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16 comments on “Topic of the Week: Delta and Starwood Crossover Awards

  1. The reason why this happened in simple: American Express. Delta and Starwood are the major travel cards in the American Express network, so it makes sense for them to tie up. Will it influence my decisions? Eh. I already have a Delta AMEX and I am essentially a “captured” person anyways due to my location in the SE. I’m going to take a look at how many stays it takes to get status on Starwood properties and see from there if its worth it to give business elsewhere.

  2. I think its a great idea to do crossover rewards–potentially huge innovation.

    BUT realistically, most DL silvers+ have hotel loyalty already, and many get SPG Gold for free through Platinum card, corporate contracts, or old fashioned earning (and SPG Platinums are obviously on the road a lot and likely have higher than silver status). The hard part, is that the DL mileage on SPG stays is worse than earning starpoints then transferring them into DL points. The benefit crossover is minimal, as most people already have the benefits on their own.

    1. I agree that often one has status with both programs anyway. So no additional benefits, except for the additional points and miles.
      What do you mean with “The hard part, is that the DL mileage on SPG stays is worse than earning starpoints then transferring them into DL points.”?
      Without the crossover rewards an SPG elite earns 3 points per $1 which he can transfer to 3 or 3.75 miles (when transferring 20,000 points).
      With crossover rewards he earns 3 points + 1 mile per $1. So that makes 4 or 4.75 miles per $1.
      Well, it ain’t much, but better than nothing ;-) that’s how I see it.

  3. I’m an occasional/accidental Delta elite (this year I happen to be silver), but I’ve never been a hotel elite. I find that there’s much more difference between hotels than between airlines — most importantly, the specific location of individual properties plays a key role for me. Also, there are a lot more hotel chains than there are airlines/alliances. So while I take the points when I get them, I’ve never been loyal to a chain and rewards don’t play a role in my hotel choices (for air travel, rewards play a marginall role).

    I know these crossover rewards are supposed to be above and beyond the regular point earnings in each program, but I wonder if it signals the beginning of a break from the situation where all hotel programs partner with all airlines. Perhaps the future is an alliance-style alignment, along the lines of major credit card issuers?

    Finally, what’s in it for American Express?

    1. I agree that my hotel loyalty is much less than airline loyalty (and that’s not much BTW). Although I’m gold elite for Marriott on a recent trip to Montreal I stayed Hilton as the Marriott I was at on a previous trip wasn’t very nice.

      Starwood premium hotels are great but Sheraton and Four Points are very hit or miss. Same for Hilton and Marriott. Unfortunately I can’t stay at the W or LeMeridien every trip without raising eyebrows in accounting.

    2. I agree. Its harder to see the benefit of hotel elite status as the quality of hotels, even amongst flagships, can vary so wildly. I’m not sure if I would be willing for instance to stay at a Sheraton in every city, as some Sheraton’s are out of the way, poorly maintained etc. Moreso than airlines, consistentcy of service seems to be a serious problem for hotel chains due to the franchise nature of the business.

  4. So if I book a hotel stay at a W Hotel through Delta I will get the same amount of SPG points if I book it through SPG?
    Because I have a Hyatt Diamond Membership and a Marriott Platinum Membership… and when I book a hotel stay through Southwest (or another partner airline) I don’t get as many “Hotel” points as if I would book it directly through the hotel websites themselves… What am I missing? (Besides a lobotomy)

    1. I don’t see anything that requires you to book hotel stays through Delta. Starting March 1, you’ll be able to link your SkyMiles and SPG accounts, and if you’re elite the rest should happen automatically.

  5. It’s innovative, but not sure how much of a difference it’ll make. Chances are if you’re that high up the DL totem pole, you travel so much that you’ll have elite status with a hotel chain, anyway. So for example, if you’re partial to Hilton and have HHonors Gold or above, and you mostly fly DL, would you switch to Starwood just to get the same level of benefits you have already with Hilton? Personally I wouldn’t, but maybe DL’s market research people see it differently.

    FWIW, hotel elite status comes in handy for a couple of things – free wireless Internet and free breakfast. If I have a choice between Hilton and someone else, I go with Hilton every time, since both of those can start adding up fast (easily $40-50 per day for 2 people) to make it worthwhile.

  6. Starwood is not on my radar in the slightest. Haven’t stayed in one of their properties for over ten years. Must be an urban elite thing, where Delta appears to place much of their focus. Not worthwhile for the rest of us.

  7. This does not make much difference to the travelers who carry both Starwood Platinum and Delta Diamond (as I do) and carry Amex cards with both logos. There will be a few more points in my SPG account (maybe just about enough for a free night at a Luxury Collection) and nothing significant in my Delta SkyPesos account. This is just a small fraction of what I earn just going about my business and will not at all change my behavior in any way but then again, they already have me and I am not the one they are courting.

  8. i’m a delta platinum and a marriott platinum. i wish delta had partnered with my hotel chain, but the reasons that i picked marriott (gigantic amount of hotels all over the world at every price point) will prevent me from taking my business to starwood. i used to be gold over there, but marriott has 4x the properties and this partnership isn’t worth having 1/4 the choices.

  9. I think that this program is targeting customers who are very loyal to Delta or Starwood, yet prefer another hotel chain or airline for the other one. Maybe it will sway people when their preferred airline or hotel chain isn’t available, but really that’s all I see it doing.

    I concur with others in that if a person travels enough to have elite status on Delta or SPG, they are already likely pretty well set in their choices of preferred hotel and airline chains.

    That said, I don’t see the harm in this, and don’t think that there will be much dilution or extra use of elite benefits, so from a “Why not?” perspective this makes a lot of sense.

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