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The lowdown on loyalty programs | 2009 offers

To keep travelers returning, hotels are beginning to relax program rules, at least for the short term. In years past, Shangri-La’s Golden Circle required guests to stay 20 or 60 days per year to retain executive or elite status. But in 2009 the company renewed all members who had logged at least one night in 2008. Hyatt, meanwhile, has completely redesigned its Gold Passport program: in April 2009, Platinum members began receiving the best room within the category booked, and Diamond-level guests started receiving guaranteed suite upgrades four times a year.

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