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by Deanna Ting | November 10, 2014
Today, Stamford, CT-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Dubai-based Emirates Airlines announced a new customer loyalty program partnership at a luncheon held at the Sheraton New York Times Square in New York City. The new program, called Your World Rewards, will officially launch on Nov. 19 and will allow all SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) and Emirates Skywards elite members who register for the program to increase their benefits and rewards when staying with Starwood or flying on Emirates. This also includes members of SPG Pro, Starwood's loyalty program for meeting and incentive planners.

Elite members of SPG and Emirates Skywards will receive exclusive benefits from each loyalty program. Skywards Gold and Platinum level members can enjoy SPG elite check-in, 4 p.m. late check-out, and complimentary in-room Internet access. All SPG platinum members who enroll in the new program can enjoy priority check-in and boarding while flying Emitares and some may also receive complimentary e-gate access for flights in and out of Dubai.

Your World Rewards members also earn bonus Starpoints when they fly with Emirates and bonus Miles when staying with SPG, on top of their usual earnings. Elite SPG members earn one Starpoint per dollar, in addition to Skywards Miles, for all eligible Emirates flights. SPG Gold and Platinum members earn the equivalent of one Mile per dollar, on top of Starpoints, for all eligible stays at Starwood properties worldwide. Conversion rates will also be adjusted for local currencies.

As Starwood increases its global footprint, particularly in the Middle East, its new partnership with Emirates "is a logical place for us to connect," said Thierry Antinori, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Emirates Airline. "This type of integrated loyalty approach is what's needed. People are looking for solutions that take care of their whole travel experience."

The Middle East is SPG's third fastest-growing market in in the world behind China and India. Starwood expects to increase its footprint in the region by 70 percent over the next five years, particularly in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. It currently has 82 hotels operating in the region and expects to open an additional 20 by the end of 2015. 

Currently, SPG has a similar customer loyalty partnership with Delta Airlines, called Crossover Rewards, which was announced earlier this year.  

"The sky's the limit on what can happen here," said Mark Vondrasek, senior vice president of distribution, loyalty, and partnership marketing for Starwood. "It's about going deep with the right select partners and this is a new frontier in loyalty."