Loyalty Pays

When it comes to scoring travel deals it pays to be loyal.

Reward programs offered by hotels, airlines and car rental agencies can yield amazing savings for frequent travelers.  Basically, the more you patronize a company the larger the award.  In some cases, you can accumulate bigger bonuses when companies partner with one another.

For example, last week, Starwood Hotels and Delta Airlines announced that they’re planning to team up in order to give their top customers major money-saving perks.  The new “Crossover Rewards” program will be the travel industry’s only program that allows frequent travelers to earn VIP privileges even if they’re only an elite customer with one of the companies.

For instance, if you are an elite Delta customer staying at a Starwood hotel you will now be able to receive benefits normally given to top Starwood customers, such as expedited check-in, late 4 p.m. check-out and free Wi-Fi. In addition, you’ll receive Delta SkyMiles equivalent to the dollar amount spent on your Starwood hotel stay.  Likewise, elite Starwood customers flying with Delta will be given perks normally awarded exclusively to top Delta customers, such as early check-in, priority boarding and a free checked bag. In addition, you will receive Starwood points for the dollar amount spent on your Delta flight.

To get in on this fabulous deal all you have to do is link your Starwood and Delta SkyMiles accounts.  Execs at the popular hotel chain and airline hope the new move will sway fliers who frequent American or United to consider traveling with Delta and staying at Starwood properties due to the added benefits.

The downside to the partnership is that it could potentially produce a glut of elite travelers and consequently devalue the “elite” status typically reserved for very frequent travelers who are extremely loyal to a specific brand.




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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.