Last updated: 02:27 PM ET, Fri April 15 2016

Starwood, Virgin America Partner to Offer More Benefits to Loyalty Program Members

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | April 15, 2016

Starwood, Virgin America Partner to Offer More Benefits to Loyalty Program Members

While Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide's Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members will have to wait some time for a new combined loyalty program in wake of the company's impending merger with Marriott International, they can now begin using their points to book flights with Virgin America.

Through the recently announced partnership between the two companies, SPG members will be able to transfer their points to Virgin America's Elevate program at a ratio of 1-to-1, while Elevate members can earn two points on every dollar spent on a Starwood hotel stay.

The new partnership announcement coincides with the launch of Virgin America's "Work Hard, Hawaii Hard" promotion which will offer seasonal daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu and Oahu beginning May 5 and from L.A. to Kahului and Maui starting June 14.

In a statement, Virgin America's director of loyalty Stuart Dinnis said both brands "are known for providing fresh, modern and upscale travel experiences and Starwood properties will be tremendously popular with our discerning flyers."

"This new partnership will enable SPG and Virgin America to extend loyalty outside of our hotels and beyond the window seat by giving our members transfer benefits and earning power," Starwood's vice president of global partnerships Dana Rosenberg said in a statement. "This will enhance the travel experience for our most valuable members and gives both Virgin American and Starwood an opportunity to reach frequent travelers who aren’t part of our programs and capture greater share of the global, high-end traveler."

Interestingly, the new partnership comes amid a significant period of transition for both companies as Starwood is poised to be acquired by Marriott and Virgin America is set to merge with Alaska Airlines.

The former deal is expected to close mid-year, forming the world's largest hotel company.


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