Uber Devaluation News
As of February 1, 2017, the amount of Starpoints earned from Uber not during stays will be cut in half, from 1 Starpoint per $1 to 1 Starpoint per $2 spent on Uber. This Uber Devaluation for SPG Starpoints currently only affects non-stay rides.
During stays, you will continue to earn 2 Starpoints per $1 spent. No mention of how it affects those with Gold or Platinum status (currently 3 Starpoints per $1). Additionally, no mention of it affecting the earning rate for those at Platinum+75 nights (4 Starpoints per $1). I would expect these to similarly trend downward, unless Starwood wants to keep incentivizing stays. I’ve previously written about Uber, but these changes make me hesitate.
Per the link, earn 5 Starpoints per $1 spent on Uber during February and during a Starwood stay. While this may be higher than the current 2 Starpoints per $1, my understanding is that many people use Uber while not on a stay, I certainly use Uber much more than just during my stays – simply because Uber is throughout the year and stays are only select days. By cutting the earning rate outside of Starwood stays, Starwood wants to incentivize the partnership even further and benefit both companies.
Granted, I doubt people will book a stay just to earn more Starpoints with Uber, but it widens the earning rate between stay and non-stay. They may incentivize business away from Uber during non-stays, especially in places where Lyft is comparable or better in price. I know that previously, I would earn 1 Starpoint per dollar on non-stay Ubers, which would equate to roughly a 3-4% return on the trip. Now, cutting that just to a 1.5%-2% discount makes the price differentiation with Lyft much less. Both rate as travel on my credit card, but that extra Starpoint per dollar made a huge difference in choosing which carsharing app to use during competitive situations. If you can extrapolate this to a wider audience, it may lead to significant repercussions.
Additionally, if this is the first salvo in a long line of point devaluations, SPG risks angering its fantastically loyal and large customer base, perhaps spurring those to jump ship to other hotel providers.
This will not change my current consumer behavior (as I compare Uber/Lyft regardless) nor my stay preference, since Starwood is the best. However, this makes me more “awake” in that I will pay more attention to any other SPG or Uber devaluation news in the future. It does not currently threaten my main earning strategy, but awareness of policy changes is necessary to maximize your earning potential.
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