The Best Hospitality Rewards Programs for the Luxury Cruiser

May 31, 2016 | Insights

The high seas are a place not just of luxury, but they are a place of valor, a place of potential romance, and do keep an eye out as — while the First Mate is perhaps Earth’s most benevolent man, he is not its not most benign — there could be a mishap or two.

Where are you, you may wonder? You perhaps clicked a link, and now there’s all this. You, our friend, are at the blog of StatSocial. StatSocial is bluntly a social audience analysis tool.

If you can create a group of individuals in a social media context — be they fans of an individual, users of a product, hobbyists, or say, as is the case with those being looked at in the chart above, the members of one hotel or another’s rewards club — we can analyze that group, and tell you more about them than you ever imagined. Favorite TV shows? Restaurants? Hobbies? Habits? Heck, we can even tell you what kind of people they are (Altruists? Angry? Thoughtful? Melancholy? Self-transcendent?).

Among the countless behaviors, likes, dislikes, and personalities StatSocial indexes — in our exhaustive breakdowns and analyses of every kind of social audience you can imagine — we record and analyze the travel habits. modes, and needs of EVERY audience we look at (be they travel related or not), The categories we survey run the gamut from the basic to the unusual.

You’re most likely familiar with the practice, but to incentivize loyalty most competitive travel chains reward their most loyal customers with a vast array of perks and prizes. In addition, some manner of points program is also in place for the routine guest. These both reward and encourage further loyalty. The “perks” portion is usually presented rather as you’d expect; discounts, upgrades, luxury amenities, free tickets to local attractions, and so forth. They give you stuff.

The points programs employ a curious psychological game where you spend currency to, in essence, gain currency. For each dollar you spend at the hotel/resort, etc., you earn points. Those points then, once sufficiently accumulated, can be used to purchase everything from further hotel stays, to sometimes even airline tickets, or fine dining, or all sorts of stuff (airlines and credit card companies frequently offer similar types of programs, sometimes in partnership with a hotel or an airline, or both, actually). All depending upon the hotel and the program, of course.

As StatSocial’s indexing and analysis includes just about every kind of travel proclivity, taste, and preference you could imagine, we’ve spent a bunch of entries of late seeing which of America’s top hotel rewards programs find the greatest preference with travelers of all sorts of types. But we’ll admit we’ve been lubbin’, or showing a preference to the lubber.

“LUBBIN’ WHAT?” you wonder. “Stop being stupid, StatSocial.”

Well, the land, silly. There is only one kind of lub.

In the case of the rewards programs under our microscope, all have been affiliated with land based — if sometimes seaside — resorts and hotels. That said, just as their rewards programs often come with airline perks, so too do they sometimes consider the saltier wanderer. Indeed, each of the rewards programs above has partnerships with many of the biggest cruise lines; as you’ve got to get their hotel or resort somehow, and airplanes are not our only means of conveyance.

Starwood had the foresight over 15 year ago to first form a partnership with Carnival Cruise lines. They were surely innovative in that way. In this day and age lacking the option of some kind of cruise element to your reward program would defy expectation.

Each of these programs has partnerships with most of the major cruise lines, and destinations near where each of those lines dock. In general, the partnerships between hotels, credit cards, airlines, and cruise lines run in all directions. Amtrak is in there as well, often.

Here’s something we noticed, though…

The travel blog equivalent of foodies — whatever they call themselves — seem to believe rather widely that the redemption of hotel rewards points from any of these programs for cruise bookings are not a good value. We share this knowing that bloggers and message board participants are grouchy, and will also tell try to convince you that your pimple is cancer.

Now, is our sharing this just a heads up? You’re free to Google and see for yourself.

The fact is, in this category all the programs have high scores.

One theory — and it is sound and logical, as is the StatSocial way — the percentages speak to the degree to which the members of these rewards programs are also cruise enthusiasts. It is not saying they use these rewards programs in any way to enhance their cruising experiences. They happen to — in large numbers — be members of these programs and also enjoy cruises.

Possible conclusion: People who belong to hotel rewards programs tend to be avid travelers. Of course they do, or why would they join such a program to begin with. And avid travelers, as we should know, take not only to the skies, rails, roads, and resorts, but to the high seas.

We do analyze stats at StatSocial. All the live long day. And we interpret them too, but always remember we, ultimately, deal in the calculation and the presentation of facts. From there you are always left to draw your own conclusions.

To learn much more about StatSocial, the curious are encouraged to visit the StatSocial site itself, where you’ll find all sorts of stuff including sample reports.

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If you like what you’ve read, please take a few minutes to watch this overview of StatSocial’s data: