Starwood has just announced its "Great Weeks, Grand Weekends" promotion for stays during the first quarter of 2011, affording travelers yet another glimpse of the future promotional landscape as the hotel industry rebounds from the recent travel slump.
Between January 3 and April 15, 2011, Starwood Preferred Guest members can earn double points for all nights, plus an additional 500 points for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, at "more than 930 participating" Starwood family hotels. (There are around 1,025 Starwood properties, which means that almost 100 hotels are not participating in this offer. Confirm in advance.)
Registration is required, beginning on January 3, 2011, and by March 31, 2011.
Deal or No Deal
Double points, plus the booster bonus for weekend nights, make for a decent bonus.
Of course, the value of any promotion is relative to the value of competing incentives.
So far, only Hilton has disclosed its promotional plans for next year, with its double points and a discount offer for weekend stays throughout 2011.
Comparing the weekend component of Starwood's offer to Hilton's, there's no clear winner. Both feature double points, and the values of Starwood's 500-point bonus and Hilton's discounts are more or less equivalent.
So for weekend stays, let's call it a tie.
But it's still early, and we've yet to hear what first-quarter incentives will be on offer from other major hotel chains.
So if you're focused on earning the maximum number of hotel bonus points, regardless of the program, and have the flexibility to put off booking your early-2011 stays, your best bet is to wait and see whether better offers are forthcoming.
On the other hand, if you're a Starwood loyalist, the "Great Weeks, Grand Weekends" promotion, while neither great nor grand, is a good one, especially for weekend stays.
Reader Reality Check
What do you expect from the hotels, bonus-wise, for the new year?
Do you anticipate more or less generous offers than in previous years?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.