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New Starwood Preferred Guest Survey of global travelers reveals loyalty beyond reason

Fear of losing loyalty-program status looms larger than lost luggage, missed flights

It may no longer be a stretch to say travelers are married to their frequent traveler programs. In fact, 73% of travelers would choose loyalty-program benefits over a spouse if they could take just one on the road, according to an eye-opening survey of nearly 10,000 globetrotters released by Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)….

It may no longer be a stretch to say travelers are married to their frequent traveler programs. In fact, 73% of travelers would choose loyalty-program benefits over a spouse if they could take just one on the road, according to an eye-opening survey of nearly 10,000 globetrotters released by Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).

Relationships with hotel loyalty programs may even outlive marital unions, the survey said. Seventy-six percent of respondents revealed they felt their status in a hotel loyalty program would last longer than their marriage or current job. And, in a travel emergency, 70 percent of respondents said that their elite status in a hotel loyalty rewards program would be handier than their smartphone, tablet or even their personal assistant.

The study, commissioned to celebrate the launch of a suite of distinct benefits for Starwood Preferred Guest Members, polled 9,900 adults around the world who travel more than 25 times a year. Starwood Preferred Guest, the award-winning loyalty program of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced new benefits that make SPG the richest elite program in the industry. The more Members stay, the more choices are available and the more personalized the benefits become with standouts like lifetime status, first-of-its-kind 24-hour check-in and a dedicated Starwood ambassador who provides one-on-one service to uniquely tailor the guest experience.

Three-quarters of respondents would take extra trips to bump up status
The new survey demonstrates the value members attach to loyalty programs like Starwood Preferred Guest. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they would take an extra trip just to rack up miles or status in a loyalty program. And nearly the same number, 73 percent said they’ve taken extra business trips solely to rack up miles or status in a loyalty program.

Honeymoon? Emergency? Respondents would try subterfuge to get upgrades
Respondents were not above telling little white lies to get a better hotel room or hotel/airline travel upgrade. Nearly half of respondents, 45%, claimed they would pretend it was their honeymoon; 25% would pretend they had a family emergency; and 20% would pretend to be someone important.

Among other key findings:

  • If they could only take one item with them while traveling, most respondents would take their benefits in a hotel loyalty rewards program (73%), rather than their spouse/partner (15%) or luggage (11%).
  •  Losing their status in a hotel loyalty program (65%) scares respondents more than lost luggage (12%) or missing a flight (11%).

The survey reinforces that hotel loyalty rewards programs have eclipsed other rewards programs in value. Half of respondents said they consider hotel loyalty programs most important, followed by credit-card (19%) and airline loyalty programs (13%).

Unparalleled benefits and an unmatched elite program have propelled Starwood Preferred Guest to stratospheric growth in 2011. SPG bookings now account for one of every two guests at Starwood properties; just five years ago, that figure was one in three.

The survey was conducted for Starwood Preferred Guest by STUDYLOGIC LLC of Cedarhurst, NY via telephone of 9,900 adults across the globe who travel 25 times or more per year. Of respondents, 1620 came from the United States and Canada, 2100 from China, 1500 from the Middle East, 1590 from Latin America, 1560 from Japan, and 1530 from Europe.
Interviews were conducted between January 1st and January 9th, 2012.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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