Starwood Preferred Guest recently conducted a survey that seems to prove that travelers really do place a high value on their loyalty program benefits–to the point that some 73 percent of travelers said they would choose loyalty program benefits over a spouse if they could take just one or the other on the road with them.
Losing their elite status in a hotel loyalty program was deemed more scary by 65 percent of those responding than lost luggage (12 percent) or missing a flight (11 percent). A surprising 76 percent said they felt their status in a hotel loyalty program would last longer than their marriage or current job (let’s hope most were thinking of their job and not their marriage–but then, if they value their loyalty benefits more than spending time with their spouse …).
Seventy percent said that their elite status in a hotel loyalty program would be more useful than their smartphone, tablet or their personal assistant in a travel emergency. And 73 percent said they have taken extra business trips solely to rack up miles or status. When it comes to getting a room upgrade, 45 percent said they would pretend it was their honeymoon to get a better room, 25 percent would fake a family emergency and 20 percent would pretend to be someone important. Starwood polled 9,900 adults who travel 25+ times per year.
Bottom line: The survey findings also reinforced the recent view by many that hotel loyalty programs are seen as having the most value with half the respondents saying that they consider hotel loyalty programs most important, followed by credit card programs (19 percent) and frequent flyer programs (13 percent).