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November 12, 2014

Starwood Hotels and Emirates Airlines Join Forces for Customer Rewards




This week, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Emirates Airlines announced a new partnership providing reciprocal benefits to Starwood Preferred Guest and Emirates Skywards members. The program, Your World Rewards, begins November 19 and will let SPG and Skywards elite members who register for the program boost their earnings and benefits when they fly with Emirates or stay with SPG Participating Hotels.

With Your World Rewards, SPG and Emirates Skywards members will now earn points in the air and on the ground. Elite SPG and Emirates Skywards members will receive exclusive rewards of each loyalty program. Skywards Gold and Platinum members will have the opportunity to upgrade their hotel experience, receiving exclusive benefits including access to SPG elite check-in, 4:00 p.m. late check-out and complimentary in-room Internet access. In turn, all SPG Platinum members will get some of the advantages of Emirates Skywards elite like priority check-in and priority boarding when flying Emirates. Members will also receive complimentary e-gate access for flights in and out of Dubai.

Members will also earn bonus Starpoints when they fly with Emirates and bonus Miles when they stay with SPG on top of their usual earnings. Elite SPG members will earn one Starpoint per dollar, in addition to Skywards Miles, for all eligible Emirates operated flights; and all Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members will earn the equivalent of one Mile per dollar, on top of Starpoints, for all eligible stays at Starwood hotels and resorts worldwide. Conversion rates will be adjusted for local currencies.

Currently, Emirates flies to more than 140 destinations and Starwood has 1,200 hotels. To date, Emirates has 54 A380 in their fleet and is receiving an average of two of these supersized aircrafts per month. Particularly, the U.S. market has been a growing market for Emirates, adding Chicago as its latest U.S. destination in August and upgrading its routes to Dallas/Fort Worth to an A380 with San Francisco and Houston to follow shortly. In total, Emirates serves more than 140 destinations in more than 80 countries across six continents. Meanwhile, 75 percent of the properties in Starwood's pipeline are slated for emerging markets.

According to Mark Vondrasek, senior vice president, distribution, loyalty and partnership marketing at Starwood, SPG membership has grown 400 percent in key emerging markets over the last five years. And as the Middle East continues to emerge as a premier global gateway and the crossroads of new world travel patterns, it is also increasingly a source of new frequent travelers. 

The Middle East is SPG’s third fastest-growing market behind China and India and one of the top 10 travel destinations for SPG members. Today, Starwood is the largest high-end hotel company in the region and expects to grow its footprint by 70 percent over the next five years, specifically in Dubai and other Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, where tourism is on the rise. With 82 operating hotels and more than 20 hotels expected to open by the end of 2015 in the region, Starwood is on track to reach a milestone 100 hotels across its Middle East and Africa portfolio.

Beginning November 19, members can register for and learn more about Your World Rewards by logging on to their account at emirates.com/yourworldrewards or spg.com/yourworldrewards to link their Skywards and SPG accounts with benefits going live on November 17. Good to know for travel professionals: Your World Rewards will not be affiliated with SPG Pro, although members of SPG Pro can also join Your World Rewards to earn additional Starpoints and Skywards miles.


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