Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) has had presence in India via a partnership with ITC Hotels since 1979, and a lot of ITC Hotels (about 15) around India are offered on the Starwood platform via the Sheraton and the Luxury Collection brands. Over the next couple of years, three new hotels coming up under the ITC Hotels are also going to be added to the Luxury Collection portfolio.
However, till so far, there was no link between the loyalty programs of the two hotel chains. You had to choose between crediting points to Club ITC, or to Starwood Preferred Guest. However, a couple of days ago both the loyalty programs announced a new collaboration which allows Club ITC members and SPG members to use their points on each others’ properties.
Club ITC points can now be converted to Starpoints
Under this partnership, Club ITC members who are SPG members will have the option to transfer their Club ITC Green Points to Starpoints. 2 Club ITC Green points are equal to 1 Starpoint and the transfer limit has been set to 30,000 Starpoints annually.
Club ITC Members earn Green Points on eligible spends at participating ITC Hotels and Wills Lifestyle stores. ITC Green points are earned as a percentage of total eligible spend and range between 3% to 5% depending on your tier status.
- Club ITC Silver : 3% points of total eligible spends
- Club ITC Gold : 4% points of total eligible spends
- Club ITC Platinum : 5% points of total eligible spends
Essentially, one can now use this transfer method to earn Starpoints for all the other ITC hotels which are not covered under the Starwood agreement with ITC Hotels. You could now also participate in ITC promotions, such as 1 night for 3 paid nights, and then transfer points over to Starwood anyways. Also, the transfer ratio is not a bad one, given the opportunity to use Club ITC points on 1300 hotels across the globe. What sucks however is that ITC status is not valid at SPG hotels, which could have been a real strategic collaboration.
Starwood members can now use their points across ITC hotels
Meanwhile, SPG members residing in India will now have 2 new redemption options available to them. Starpoints can be redeemed for Will Lifestyle and ITC Hotels dining certificates. This isn’t as good as it sounds however.
The value between Starpoints and ITC certificates has been set at a rate of 1.6 Starpoints = 1 INR value ITC certificate and ITC certificates can be redeemed in the following multiples
- 1,600 Starpoints for INR 1,000 ITC certificate
- 3,200 Starpoints for INR 2,000 ITC certificate
- 8,000 Starpoints for INR 5,000 ITC certificate
To understand if there is value in redeeming Starpoints for ITC retail and dining certificate, I did some comparison. Clearly NOT. I am not sure why would anyone redeem 3,200 Starpoints for a value of 2,000 INR certificate when I can use 3,000 Starpoints to redeem a night’s stay at ITC Mughal, Agra, a hotel that sells at INR7,125 per night in peak season.
In addition to this, one can transfer SPG Starpoints in the ratio of 1:1 to nearly 30 airlines, which is a way better return than Starpoints to ITC offering of 1.6 : 1. Also, do not forget, when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints in one go to an airline program, you also get a 5,000 miles bonus in your account which is automatically added by SPG.
I’m always happy to see new collaborations between programs. In this case, I think Club ITC members get a leg up because their Club ITC points are way more valuable now than they were earlier. However, the worst value possible for Starwood members. Please please please, do not convert your SPG points for a meal at ITC hotels. Pay cash. There is a lot more value in those Starpoints which you could get elsewhere.
What do you think about this collaboration between SPG & ITC? Anything I miss?