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Starwood launches elite traveller programs

altInternational hotel chain Starwood has unveiled a major revamp of its Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program, targeting elite travelers with a host of new benefits.

The chain, which operates Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Meridien and St Regis, says that it’s responding to the global uptick in travel to target the ‘sophisticated’ market, which it believes has become ‘jaded’ about traditional schemes.

Among the most notable aspects of the change is a new service called Your24, which will let frequent travelers pick their own check-in and check-out times within a 24-hour timeframe — so if you check in at one property at 10 PM, you won’t have to check out until 10PM the next day.

Members of the luxury service will also be assigned a personal ‘ambassador,’ available at the end of the telephone and authorized to provide concierge assistance to users even when they’re not traveling.

Guests who manage to rack up 500 nights and ten years of SPG Elite status will also receive a lifetime Platinum membership, Starwood announced February 1.

Those who don’t quite reach such lofty levels will still be awarded with new perks, including the option of free wifi in rooms and a complimentary breakfast as well as a welcome gift and room upgrades, depending on level.

With just two percent of travelers driving 30 percent of its profits, keeping those happy and away from competing programs such as Priority Club and Hilton HHonors is a priority — and the consensus seems to be that its new program could be a winner.

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