Jumeirah Sirius announces a major revamp but without the key details!

I cut back on my coverage of the Sirius loyalty programme run by Jumeirah Hotels when they stopped being a partner of the UK American Express Membership Rewards programme.  They do remain a partner of the American Express International Currency Card Membership Rewards scheme and I booked our Easter holiday in Dubai through that route.

Sirius emailed all of their members yesterday with news of a major revamp of the programme which kicks in from June 1st.  As I am one of the biggest redeemers of Sirius points in the UK I was clearly very interested – but I haven’t learnt much.

Madinat Jumeirah sandstorm

The key changes are outlined on the Sirius website here.  In brief:

Earning goes from 1 point per $3 spent to 2 points per $1 (so the headline number of points earned per US$1 increases by 600%)

Existing status and tier points will be multiplied by 7.63 on 1st June.  I don’t know where this number comes from but it ensures that your existing points should maintain their purchasing power.

For the first time, there is an elite bonus.  Silver and Gold members receive a 50% bonus on status points, but not tier points.

Points will no longer expire automatically.  As long as you earn points at least once a year – having a meal at a Jumeirah hotel would count – your points will survive.  If you are in London you could pop into one of their two hotels for a quick snack as you can earn points from food and drink even if you are not a guest.

Dining, spa and restaurant rewards will be bookable online for immediate use.  In theory, you could be in a resort having breakfast, decide to go for lunch to a certain restaurant and immediately redeem points for a free meal.  This is an improvement to the current situation which is laborious.

The three status tiers will remain.  The spending required to achieve status remains roughly the same – hitting Gold becomes marginally more difficult but not by much.

There will be no blackout dates for redemptions.  The existing rules say there are no blackout dates although this is not always the case.  In Dubai, you have generally been able to book ANY room category for any date.  The other hotels often did not do this.  Any room, any date will be available.

It is NOT CLEAR if airline miles will remain an option, either for converting your Sirius points or as an alternative to taking them.

It is NOT CLEAR if member benefits will remain the same.

Jumeirah has also got very vague on reward pricing.  No reward charts have been released for bookings beyond June 1st. 

The website says that pricing of standard redemptions will increase ‘proportionately’.  This presumably means they will go up by 6x or 7.63x the current rate.

However, it also says “the number of Points required for a room booking may increase if you want to reserve over a peak period for a hotel which would have otherwise been a black-out day and no reward bookings possible in the current rewards proposition.”  These rooms may be priced on a revenue basis, eg 15 points per Dirham – we simply don’t know.

Jumeirah has also not said what will happen to the American Express conversion rate.

For me, I am totally in the dark:

I don’t know if the Amex Membership Rewards conversion rate from the International Currency Card will be better, worse or the same after 1st June

I don’t know what value I will get for my points after June 1st, especially at peak periods (which are the only periods we travel)

I am tempted to do a big transfer into Jumeirah and take a chance.  If reward pricing goes up by 600% and I get a 763% bonus on my existing points then I come out on top.

In any event, Sirius rewards have generally been exceptionally good value when paid for with converted American Express points.  Even if the value per point dropped by a third it would still be a better deal than most other Amex deals.

The obvious suggestion is to make any bookings you need to make before May 24th when Jumeirah is closing down the IT system.  If the redemption you booked gets cheaper, you can cancel and rebook.  If it got more expensive, you did OK.

PS.  The photograph above is of a sandstorm at Madinat Jumeirah over Easter.  It was the first time I had ever experienced one and it was very spooky indeed.  It lasted for around 10 hours and visibility did not improve during that time.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. One of the waiters mentioned the storm, which happened just before we arrived.
    He said everybody stayed indoors and the hotel, and restaurants were extremely busy.
    Any chance Sirius points will rejoin membership rewards?

    • Head for Points says:

      We got lucky. It was our first day and we needed to go to the mall to buy some sandals for the kids anyway, so we didn’t lose much.

      • I was at the IC in Festival City when that sand storm hit. I was heading back to Muscat that day, luckily I was driving and not flying because a lot of flights were cancelled. However, it didn’t make for a pleasant drive back to the Hatta border!

      • We were at the Sofitel on the palm. Haze from the dust is not unusual but for the visibility to drop that far and make everything look yellow was quite surreal and such a contrast to the clear blue skies of the previous day.

  2. Ah yes, the sandstorms. Another reason to visit Dubai so you can stay indoors and, er, enjoy the restaurants.

    • Or 45 days of sunshine, during our last 4 trips, and one tiny cloud spotted( that’s in 45 days), one afternoon! Oh and an average 32-36c every day.
      Plus I missed the sandstorm by a week!

  3. ScotlishZander says:

    I hope that the AMEX conversion rate is amended to reflect the new points scheme.

    I would say that this looks like it could be a competitive scheme from June, they just need more properties!

    • What is changing though? Only ‘no black-outs’ but was effectively the case anyway for most properties. The key is what happens to the redemption rates. Being able to redeem almost on the spot is going to be handy though.

      My concern is ‘free breakfast for Silver’ which hopefully remains. This is a massive benefit – at Madinat it would be over £100 a day for breakfast for my family and they wipe that off. Over a 10 day stay we save £1,000.

      Instead of doing a redemption in October, I am going to pay for 1-2 nights purely to ensure I have done enough spend to retain Silver to keep the free breakfast coming.

      • erico1875 says:

        You would need to be either seriously rich or seriously nuts to spend £1000 just for breakfasts.
        My lot would be getting a cereal bar or something cheap instead.

  4. How do you become a member for Amex International Currency Card Membership Rewards?

    Ive tried searching for this but couldnt really find much info.

  5. I agree with almost al your articles but not sure about this one in terms of Sirius being good value (with Amex points or not). Using cash, it’s a poor loyalty scheme in terms of earn/burn ratio. 1 point for every $3?! And then about 1200 odd for a basic room? The only good redemption is the Noodle House meal for 2 for 150 points.

    And how un- original to have the “Re-imagined” tag line like Etihad in their email communication?! The branding/marketing lady should be seriously questioned for allowing that to go out so soon after Etihad’s communication!

    • It is great value for Amex. Let’s ignore the Easter prices at Madinat. Looking at a more normal redemption, I paid 1000 points per night in Abu Dhabi in January for a £175 room. That required 20,000 IDC Amex points which cost me (before I converted them) 12,600 UK Amex points. That is 1.5p per Amex point. You can’t beat that.

      • Alas Abu Dhabi is not Dubai! :). Etihad Towers is one of the cheapest properties wih almost no peak / off peak / super peak rates. Not sure, but believe even the semi- new one near Irish Village has more peak dates and granted, it is slightly cheaper. But then it is not Al Qasr or Dar Al Masyaf or Mina A Salam! Even though we still believe the redemption rates for the latter properties are not brilliant, we still stayed at Mina a Salam in March for a week using primarily cash and some points as we like the property and are happy with the service. In this “points game”, at times, enjoying the holiday is a bit more important than staying only where we are able redeem points (and also keeps the other half happy- whuch makes my life happy!).

        • I was just giving you an example of the valuation. The suite at DAM (which we would have paid for, in fact we had a cash booking for half of the stay before I rustled up the extra Amex points needed) came out at roughly the same per point, actually a bit better.