American Express & Starwood Hotels Resorts predict post recession rise in ‘Bleisure Travel’

1st May 2010
American Express & Starwood Hotels Resorts predict post recession rise in ‘Bleisure Travel’

New research released today from American Express and Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ loyalty programme – Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) – has revealed the trend for ‘bleisure travel’ (where business trips are extended into a leisure break), is set to become even more popular with post recession business travellers, seeking to save money on trips both in the UK and overseas.

According to the research, a third of the UK’s business travellers (33%) have previously taken their partner, children, or friend with them on business and extended the trip into a holiday.  However, a further 27%, are now hoping to be able to do so in the future.

The research released today to mark the launch of The Starwood Preferred Guest®Credit Card from American Express revealed that business travellers are already looking at ways of maximising rewards and points earned from their business travel spending.  Almost two-thirds (60%) of business travellers currently collect rewards and points such as free flights and upgrades, on travel related reward schemes and credit cards.  As many as four in ten of them use these rewards or points to subsidise or upgrade their leisure holidays.

When they do manage to incorporate a little leisure time into their business trip, the research revealed the most popular recreational activities experienced by business travellers to be:

1)    Sight seeing
2)    Dining in the hotel restaurants/bar
3)    Use of hotel gym and fitness facilities
4)    Use of spa
5)    Entertainment such as shows and concerts


Only a small proportion of UK business travellers (18%) said they would not mix business trips with family leisure holidays, preferring to travel alone. 

Key product features and benefits:

  * Enrolment into the Starwood Preferred Guest® programme (see below for more details)
  * 1 Starpoint for every full £1 per transaction spent on the Card2
  * Cardmembers will earn 10,000 bonus points if they spend £1000 on their card in the first three months of Cardmembership, worth up to three free nights in a category 2 hotel
  * Upgrade to Gold Preferred Guest tier after £15,000 annual spend on the card providing 50% more Starpoints at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels and resorts
  * Complimentary Weekend Night in any Starwood Preferred Guest Category 1-4 hotel after £25,000 annual spend on the card
  * There are no limits to how many Starpoints Cardmembers can earn
  * A combined cash and points payment option for even greater flexibility
  * Supplementary Cards - Cardmembers can apply for fee-free Supplementary Credit Cards for friends or family members, meaning more points can be accrued even more quickly
  * Per annum rate of 19.9% variable for goods and purchases (32% APR variable including the £75 annual fee)

Starwood Preferred Guest is made up of nine unique hotel brands including St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element and has 1000 properties in 100 countries. Starpoints earned on spending on the Card, can be redeemed for rewards such as:

  * Complimentary hotel nights without blackout dates
  * Room upgrades
  * Complimentary flights with no blackout dates with over 350 airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines
  * Once in a lifetime experiences such as VIP concert tickets and opportunities to meet celebrities through SPG Moments

Other Card travel benefits3:

·      Automatic Travel Accident Insurance Benefit – Up to £150,000 in the event of loss of life, sight or limb while travelling on public transport with any airline ticket purchased with the card
·      Denied Boarding – Up to £150 for meals and refreshments charged to the card will be refunded due to cancelled or over booked flights or if a connection is missed and no alternate travel arrangements are made within four hours or more of original scheduled departure
·      Flight delays – If a flight is delayed or if you miss a connection due to the original delay and no alternate travel arrangements are made within four hours of original scheduled departure, up to £150 will be refunded for meals and refreshments charged to the card. If the delay exceeds six hours or after 10pm a further £150 will be reimbursed for a hotel stay if charged to the card
·      Luggage Delay and Extended Luggage Delay Benefit – If luggage is delayed for more than six hours after landing up to £600 will be refunded for essential items purchased on the Card, if the luggage still hasn’t arrived within 48 hours a further allowance of £850 is available
·      Global Assist – Access to a 24 hour emergency line for medical or legal help should the Cardmember, their partner or children travelling with them require it
·      Purchase Protection Benefit – Up to £20,000 per year or £2,500 per claim covering stolen or damaged eligible items bought on the card for up to 90 days after the date of purchase
·      Refund Protection Benefit – If a UK retailer refuses a refund on an eligible purchase within 90 days from when it was bought, on or offline, we will refund the purchase price up to a maximum of £250 per item



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