A few years ago, Starwood Preferred Guest introduced a new concept called Suite Night Awards. These were targeted at frequent travelers who stayed more than 50 nights a year with SPG. They were meant to help improve the upgrade process, giving elites the ability to apply a Suite Night award to those reservations where an upgrade was most important.
It didn’t guarantee an upgrade, but SPG added significant plumbing to increase the likelihood the upgrades would clear, even going so far as to get involved in the inventory management process a bit as it related to upgrades.
This process has been anything but smooth. My own experience with Suite Night Awards has been disappointing. SPG even extended the expiration date on Suite Night Awards at one point, an implicit admission members weren’t getting the sort of value out of the new option as expected.
Fast forward to late 2014, and rumors started to circulate that SPG was working on changes to Suite Night Awards. As we rolled into 2015, news came direct from SPG that elites who qualified for Suite Night Awards (staying at least 50 nights) would have choices if they wanted to pick a different amenity. Now, I’d prefer that they just made Suite Nights work, but I was open to the announcement.
View From The Wing had the scoop yesterday on what members could choose once they reached 50 nights in 2015:
- 10 Suite Night Awards (status quo)
- 4 free Uber rides (up to $25 each)
- Gold status to gift to a friend or family member
- TSA PreCheck reimbursement
- $100 Amazon gift card
- $100 Donation to UNICEF in your name
This would normally be the part of the post where I would break down the different choices, highlighting the value proposition of each. Frankly, though, I just don’t see the point unless you really don’t like upgrades.
The value of the other choices really doesn’t exceed $100. I guess you could argue Gold is worth more than that but it can be had for $30,000 in spending on the SPG American Express Card.
10 Suite Night Awards are in theory redeemable to put yourself in a much nicer room a total of 10 days over the course of a year. And, certainly that’s worth more than $100 if the Suite Night Awards clear. I’ve been a poker player for a number of years, and math is a big part of that game, figuring out what sort of odds (percentage likely outcome) you have to win a hand.
Here, it appears SPG is saying they really don’t believe you’ll clear these upgrades very often, since 10 nights worth of upgrades certainly needs to be worth a whole lot more than $100.
I plan to put together another post that encompasses my full opinion of SPG elite status as it stands today, factoring in new benefits like the Uber relationship announced recently.
But, as far as providing an alternative to Suite Night Awards (or improving their reliability), SPG hasn’t really accomplished that here.
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