Vantage Point

A hopper of Dubious Hautels (or hotels, but he considers them more classy), Vineet covers the hospitality industry with a focus on the hub cities of Middle East and South Asia.

Upcoming Hotel Openings List: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Hilton Hilton Saadiyat, 2018, next to Saadiyat beach Club, likely to be a Waldorf or Conrad. DoubleTree 2017, Masdar city, near airport. Marriott/SPG Marriott Downtown, October 2016, diagonally opp. Al Wahda Mall. Marriott Executive Apartments, same as above for date and location. Edition, 2017, Al Bateen Wharf. Al Forsan resort, 2017/8 W, 2018-2020, stated to be in Al Bateen Wharf but likely to be on Reem/Maryah island financial center. Hyatt Grand Hyatt, end of 2016/start of 2017, behind Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Opp Emirates Palace Millennium Millennium/Biltmore Bab Al Qasr, Q3 2016, behind Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Opp Emirates Palace Biltmore...

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HOTEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS IN-DEPTH COMPARISON (2016) PART 9: Conclusions

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions To conclude, SPG made a near clean sweep of pretty much all categories it competed in. It was either the best or tied with someone for the top spot with the exception of high end redemptions and earning for base members. Best luxury/boutique/lifestyle and independent portfolios: SPG has nearly 8x times as many desirable properties (~550) to stay at compared to Hilton despite being...

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Hotel Loyalty Programs In Depth Comparison (2016) Part 8: Global Footprint Analysis

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, airline, dining, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions All figures in this analysis may be off by as much a 10% since the data is compiled from numerous disparate sources and it is not uncommon for chains to open 1 new property every other day globally. You may see rough approximations in some cases and other scenarios where the numbers don’t add up to the exact same totals. Starwood Properties:...

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HOTEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS IN-DEPTH COMPARISON (2016) PART 7: Earning and Redemption Value

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions   So far no one has really analysed in depth the return on investment you get on hotel and events expenditure, classified by program, status, brand/tier of stay and bill value. I am attaching precisely that analysis in the following images. I shall also make the source spreadsheets available freely (but please credit me for derivative works!) so that people more competent with Excel,...

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HOTEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS IN-DEPTH COMPARISON (2016) PART 6: Miscellaneous

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions Customer Service SPG has the best customer service of the big chains by far and is the only one you can even reasonably trust for positive outcomes. The response times and escalations procedures are the fastest and smoothest. They have the ability to escalate and assign cases to individual agents/managers who can then handle a case till its resolution. Also SPG hotels are the...

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Hotel Loyalty programs in-depth comparison (2016) Part 5: Late Checkout

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions Starwood SPG offers confirmed 4 pm late checkout to Golds *and* Platinums except at resorts and convention center hotels where it is subject to availability. Late check out requests beyond 4 pm are entertained based on availability and hotel discretion. SPG also has a Your24 benefit for Platinum 75s which allows you to check in at a given time of your choice (eg: 3...

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Hotel Loyalty programs in-depth comparison (2016) Part 4: Breakfast and Lounge Access

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions   Lounge access and breakfast will be handled together since they are usually inter-related. They will only be considered as benefits if granted directly as a result of status as opposed to being granted due to an upgrade to a room which grants them as part of the room benefits. In Middle East and Asia none of the following chains serve the limited continental...

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Hotel Loyalty programs in-depth comparison (2016) Part 3: Room Upgrades

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions The goal here is to obtain meaningful upgrades. Suite upgrades (even junior suites) are considered excellent. Club/Executive room upgrades often mean nothing (since it can be the same room as a base room but with Club/Executive lounge privileges which you would have anyway as an elite member). The discussion here is about likely and average expected outcomes. Anecdotal instances of better or worse upgrade...

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Hotel Loyalty programs in-depth comparison (2016) Part 2: Elite Tiers (Earning, Lifetime)

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions   To gain outsized value from the programs, it is almost crucial to hit one of the elite levels that each one offers. Frequently the best benefits are only available at the highest tiers and so the ease of attaining elite tiers is critical to your choice of loyalty program (right behind career and marriage decisions. Maybe.) Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Profile: Around 1300...

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Hotel Loyalty Programs In Depth Comparison (2016) Part 1: Introduction

Index: Introduction  Elite status (Tiers, ease of earning, lifetime) Room upgrades (suites!) Breakfast and lounge access Late checkout Miscellaneous (Customer service, Tech/IT, BRG, promos, airline, dining, partnerships) Points earning rates and redemption values Global footprint analysis Conclusions   Most hotel loyalty programs’ reviews originate from writers based in USA or UK and deal with one chain at a time. As a result, most of the reviews have a very heavy North American focus, with a lot of importance given to credit card points, credit card status and other avenues that are not available or irrelevant to an international audience. This...

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