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I recently got a very detailed survey from a market research company hired by Starwood, to get my thoughts on elite status benefits. Specifically, the survey asked me multiple questions on elite benefits that would be for stays past Platinum (which is currently 50 nights/25 stays). The qualifiers for this “new tier” ranged from 75-125 nights and they asked my opinion on numerous perks: discounted airline lounge, mid-tier airline elite status, guaranteed upgrade certificates (which I heartily endorsed), golf certificates and much more. The survey took me about 20 minutes and I got 500 points for my time. I have to think that they are in the final stages of adding a new super-elite status tier, or else why would they invest so much into researching what top tier customers think?
Either way, as long as they don’t devalue Platinum, I will be fine with a new higher elite status. I’m all about loyalty and getting rewarded for it- even if it doesn’t benefit me directly. Many people complained that Delta initiated the new Diamond uber-status, but I just think of it as something to achieve (since I’m currently just a lowly Platinum).
Anyway- its all just speculation, but don’t be surprised if a new elite tier announcement is made for the 2011 Starwood Program!