Starwood’s Fall Promo: Comparing It To Hyatt & Marriott

Starwood has announced it’s fall promo (Better Nights).

Members will receive double Starpoints on stays of 1 or 2 nights and triple Starpoints on stays of 3 or more nights.

There’s also an interesting booking bonus.  250 points for each stay if booked using their Blackberry app and 500 points for using the iPhone app (probably a bit more relevant given RIM’s failure at transitioning their brand to touchscreen).

So, is this better than Hyatt’s promo?  Well, first of all, I don’t think either promo is worth switching stays from a chain where you’re still trying to re-qualify for status.  Points are great, but top-tier status is where it’s at for both of these programs, with noticeably better benefits as a Hyatt Diamond or SPG Platinum.

Let’s look at someone who stays a total of 10 nights in the time period. In the case of SPG, let’s further assume the best case scenario where these stays were all at least 3 nights, and let’s use $250 as an average room rate.  For those ten nights (at triple points), the SPG promo would yield an extra 5,000 points (500 points extra per night X 10 nights).  Then, add on 1,500 points for using the iPhone app and you’ve got 6,500 extra SPG points for your 10 nights.

10 extra nights at Hyatt would yield you 15,000 bonus points, plus an extra 3,000 points if you hold the Hyatt credit card (total 18,000 points).

I definitely value SPG points at a higher number than Hyatt, but nowhere near 3:1.  I value at Starpoint at 2 cents, and a Hyatt Gold Passport point at something around 1.7 or 1.8 cents.

Finally, as View From the Wing points out, a whole slew of SPG properties are NOT participating in this promo.  I absolutely hate when properties are allowed to opt out of standard promos.  I think it’s very confusing for customers who just assume (rightfully so) that all properties are participating because, well, they are a Starwood property.

While I reserve the right to have screwed up the math somewhere, I don’t think it’s as close between the Hyatt and Starwood promos as Gary does, but I think the SPG promo is better than the Marriott promo (plus SPG points are a much better currency).

I also ran a comparison at 5 nights, where Hyatt is not as generous.  5 nights at SPG all booked as single stays would earn double points each night (250 points per night using my earlier example).  That’s 1,250 points for the 5 nights.  Plus, 5 single night stays would earn 2,500 points if all booked through the iPhone, for a total of 3,750.  Hyatt’s 5 nights would earn you 5,000 points plus 1,000 points if you had the credit card, or 6,000 total.  In this example, I do think it’s pretty close between Hyatt and SPG.

Obviously, these represent my two “average” scenarios.  Based on the variables in the SPG promo, I think you’ll find it’s worth sitting down and doing the math if you have a choice between Starwood and Hyatt this fall.

So far, the comments look generally positive on Milepoint about SPG’s promo.  I suspect we’ll start to see some people thinking it’s less generous as time goes on.

Either way, it’s worth it to register for all 3 promos even if you’re not sure you’ll have a stay.  SPG even has an option to send you a text when registration is open, so there’s no excuse to miss out on bonus points!


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