It may no longer be a stretch to say travellers are married to their frequent traveller programmes.
According to the results of a Starwood poll of about 10,000 globetrotters, a majority (73 per cent) of travellers would choose loyalty-programme benefits over a spouse if they could take just one on the road.
Moreover, about half (45 per cent) said they wouldn’t hesitate from lying about it being an emergency or their honeymoon if that would mean getting a better hotel room or hotel/airline travel upgrade.
The study, conducted via phone between January 1 and 9, 2012, polled 9,900 adults around the world who travel more than 25 times a year. Of the respondents, 1,500 were from the Middle East.
Among some of the other revealing stats, respondents believe relationships with hotel loyalty programmes may even outlive marital unions. Seventy-six per cent of those polled revealed they felt their status in a hotel loyalty programme would last longer than their marriage or current job.
And, in a travel emergency, 70 per cent of respondents said that their elite status in a hotel loyalty rewards programme would be handier than their smartphone, tablet or even their personal assistant.
Three-quarters of respondents would take extra trips to bump up status
The new survey demonstrates the value members attach to loyalty programmes. Seventy-four per cent of respondents said they would take an extra trip just to rack up miles or status in a loyalty programme. And nearly the same number, 73 per cent said they’ve taken extra business trips solely to rack up miles or status in a loyalty programme.
“Honeymoon”? “Emergency”? Respondents would try subterfuge to get upgrades
Respondents were not above telling little white lies to get a better hotel room or hotel/airline travel upgrade. Nearly half of respondents, 45 per cent, claimed they would pretend it was their honeymoon; 25 per cent would pretend they had a family emergency; and 20 per cent would pretend to be someone important.
Among other key findings:
- If they could only take one item with them while traveling, most respondents would take their benefits in a hotel loyalty rewards programme (73 per cent), rather than their spouse/partner (15 per cent) or luggage (11 per cent).
- Losing their status in a hotel loyalty programme (65 per cent) scares respondents more than lost luggage (12 per cent) or missing a flight (11 per cent).
- Half of respondents said they consider hotel loyalty programmes most important, followed by credit-card (19 per cent) and airline loyalty programmes (13 per cent).