I just read an interesting article in USA today that described a new partnership between Delta Airlines and Starwood Hotels. They have created a "Crossover Rewards" programs that allow Elite members of either Delta or Starwood to receive Elite member perks for the other company if they link both rewards accounts together. Sounds like an interesting partnership. I wonder how successful this venture will be.
I'm very excited about this partnership, and wish Marriott would jump on the bandwagon to offer "more intriguing" benefits. Starwood also offers 500 bonus points per night (or a $5 voucher toward hotel restaurant) when housekeeping service is declined. I almost always decline housekeeping because I like to leave my toiletries and other personal items out. With Marriott, I decline housekeeping but receive NO benefits. Though I'm Platinum with both Marriott and Starwood, I find myself choosing Starwood properties, where available, over Marriott properties because of Starwood's more appealing benefits.
This might be of interest if I cared to do business with either of them. With 1.5MM miles plus on UA/CO and 1500 plus nights with Marriott (and lifetime status on both), there's no compelling reason to start over with new programs altogether. From where I sit, it sounds more like your average wireless/cable offering for new customers.
Actually, it seems they're now targeting the next generation of business travelers. Those if us on the downhill slope are being phased out, I'm afraid.