Priority Club Rewards has announced some changes to its program today. The initial press release does not indicate any major structural program changes for earning points or the cost of standard hotel rewards. I actually expected a little more shake-up in the program when I saw the 179MB press file. Most changes are cosmetic with new membership card designs, website look and Priority Club logo. I was hoping for some extended stay reward discounts, but that is not mentioned. Here are the main changes I see from the press release. "Last Minute Reward Nights: A hotel industry first, “Last Minute Reward Nights” will allow Priority Club members globally to redeem Reward Nights at a 50% discount off the regular point price, for selected properties. Members will receive an e-mail on Monday providing a list of hotels where this offer will be available the following weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Initially, this program will be offered on the first full weekend of every month, starting with May 6, 7 and 8, 2011. Points & Cash for Merchandise Rewards: Also a hotel industry first, Priority Club members in the U.S. will be able to redeem a combination of Priority Club points and cash for brand name retail merchandise rewards. Priority Club Rewards currently offers points and cash capability on Reward Nights, but this will expand that functionality to merchandise rewards, a feature not offered anywhere in the industry. The program will roll out globally beginning late 2011. “Lucky Points” Sweepstakes: This feature will give members based in the US, Canada, and UK the chance to turn their extra points into great rewards. Members will be able to redeem a very small quantity of Priority Club points (e.g., 100 or 200 points per entry) in exchange for a chance to win the prize or prizes that are most appealing to them. Typically, members will have 6-8 different prize draws to select from, ranging from terrific hotel packages (e.g. 4 nights at the InterContinental Times Square- New York) to popular merchandise (e.g., iPads), and even 1 million Priority Club points! Priority Club Rewards will be the only travel loyalty program to offer members this chance to turn a single stay into a huge prize! The program will roll out in China and Japan beginning fall 2011. Downloadable Media Rewards: Priority Club Rewards will be the first travel loyalty program to give members the flexibility to redeem their points directly for downloadable media, including the latest music hits and millions of other songs, plus eBooks, mobile games and applications, and computer software. This will open up a terrific opportunity for members to turn relatively small quantities of points into tangible rewards. The program will initially rollout online in English globally and in several European languages beginning late 2011." And here is a list of the mostly cosmetic changes: "As part of the new Priority Club Rewards look and feel, introduced are: Redesigned Priority Club® Rewards membership cards: A refreshed blue color palette with inspirational imagery from destinations around the world Sleek, easy-to-use new website rolling out globally by late April; the only online booking site where members get rewarded with Priority Club points for their hotel stays: www.priorityclub.com Custom photography included in member communications, advertising and marketing materials that will transport guests to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world An informative, newly designed member e-statement A new Priority Club Rewards logo"