A truly interesting piece on a female Starwood employee working at the Le Méridien Al Aqah hotel in Dubai who had her drink spiked at the staff bar and the complete chaos that followed. Thanks to reader Dino for the link!
Dubai is being promoted as a luxury high-class paradise in the desert, but the reality is brutally different, as Australian Alicia Gali discovered. Gali took a job in the UAE with one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, Starwood. What happened next makes this story a must-watch for everyone travelling through the region.
Check out the full article from Sunday Night here.
SPG is running a special dining promotion during May and June, allowing gold and platinum SPG members to receive a complimentary house beverage, appetizer, or dessert when dining at participating restaurants and bars worldwide. In addition, you’ll receive discounts from 10-30% and earn your normal SPG points as well.
Related – SPG Double Take Promo
I love points and miles because they allow me to visit places that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. That said, one of my favorite programs to accumulate points in is the Starwood Preferred Guest program. I value my SPG points so highly that I only redeem (either all points or cash&points) them on aspirational properties or for stays during holiday time when the price per night would otherwise be too expensive. As a big fan of Starwood’s properties all of the world, I was excited to view their 2013 Member’s Favorites lists. This year there were nine different categories including:
- Best Island Paradise
- Best Small Wonder
- Best Exotic Escape
- Best Beach Resort
- Best Golf Getaway
- Best Family Experience
- Most Romantic Retreat
- Best Spa Indulgence
- Best Winter Adventures
The first four of are particular interest for me as I love exploring beaches all over the world. SPG points (paired with airline miles for my flights) allowed me to visit 7 of the 12 properties in the island paradise category, 4 of the 12 properties in the small wonder category, 6 of the 12 properties in the exotic escape category, and 7 of the 12 properties in the best beach resort category. This is why I love our hobby! Are any of your favorite properties missing from the lists?
Related – My Favorite Hotel of All Time? Mystique, SPG Luxury Collection in Santorini, Greece Trip Report
The St. Regis Bali Resort – Trip Report – 100+ Pictures of Luxury in Bali
W Retreat Koh Samui – Trip Report…and lots of pictures
W Retreat & Spa Bali – Trip Report
All Starwood Trip Reports
Registration is now open for Starwood’s Q2/Q3 2013 promotion. Like last year, the promo will once again be double points on all eligible stays at participating hotels and resorts worldwide from May 1 through July 31, 2013. You can also receive 500 bonus points for each eligible booking made through the spg.com mobile site, the SPG App for iPhone, or the SPG App for Android, even for those properties excluded from the double points promo. Speaking of excluded hotels, the list is smaller than in previous years but still spans the globe.
Travel is surely a passion for me and an obsessive hobby, though I do have others! One of my other favorite things to do when not traveling is to attend concerts. I love all types of music and I go to several concerts a month. I may have visited 67 countries, but I’ve also been to 42 Dave Matthews shows (several countries included), 14 Jay-Z shows, 8 U2 shows, and 7 Coldplay shows (including the SPG Moments experience last year).
As such, you can imagine how excited I am with the new SPG / Live Nation joint promotions. Once you register, you’ll earn a $50 Ticketmaster Cash code for every three nights you stay with SPG between April 5 and May 5, 2013. Codes are unlimited. In addition, you’ll also get a $10 Ticketmaster Cash code for one hotel check-in on Foursquare between April 5 and May 5.
Of course, this promo can be combined with SPG’s double points promotion. Perhaps, you’re even working towards this unadvertised SPG promo as well…
Happy concert going!
Did you know that in 2012 Starwood Preferred Guest ran an unannounced promo where they awarded guests who stayed at all nine of their brands with a special gift and three free nights? Yes, around two weeks ago members who stayed at all nine brands in 2012 began receiving a special FEDEX from Starwood. I only hit 7 of the 9 SPG brands in 2012, but lucky for us Flyertalk member cleanfloor hit all 9 and shared a picture of the contents of his FEDEX delivery in the following thread.
Here’s the full message:
You’re a member of a very exclusive club – only a few SPG members worldwide stayed at all nine of our hotel brands last year. That makes you a real rock star in our book. Whether you planned it that way or not, you’re on quite a roll.
Let’s keep it going – with a here’s to you gift of three Free Night Awards courtesy of SPG. They’ve already been added to your account and can be used through December 31, 2013 at any Category 1-6 hotel or resort. From the relaxing vibe of Westin to the iconic design of W, to the bespoke service of St Regis, you’ve experienced them all. Chances are you already have a favorite. Feel free to go back for a visit on us.
In the meantime, please enjoy these custom chocolates. Think of them as a sweet reminder of the luxury that awaits you this year.
It’s clear you had a busy, vibrant travel life in 2012 and we’re so glad you shared it with us
Senior Vice President, Starwood Preferred Guest
PS Check on the back for details about redeeming your Free Night Awards
Now, as this was an unannounced promo, there is no word as to whether SPG will do the same in 2013 or what the actual T&Cs were. Based on the thread, it appears that cash&points and awards stays also qualified for the promo. If you stayed at all nine properties in 2012 and haven’t yet received a package from SPG, be sure to check your account to see if you have 3 Free Nights!
The most recent Starpicks were released yesterday and there are some great deals that made the list. Reservations must be booked by this Friday to receive the special rates and you must arrive on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday at participating hotels over the next three weekends. Stays over a Sunday night require a two-night stay including a Saturday night. The resort options do not have arrival day or minimum stay requirements but you must arrive in the next six weeks. For hotels, the maximum stay is four nights (Thursday-Sunday) and for resorts the maximum stay is fourteen nights. Advance purchase is required and cancellations are non-refundable. All Starpicks qualify for SPG points.
- Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel Convention Center – Buenos Aires – $145/nt (trip report coming soon)
- Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino – $129/nt
- Sheraton Porto Alegre Hotel – Rio Grande do Sul – $145/nt (This location is not nearly as nice or central as the Sheraton Rio…trip report coming soon)
- The Westin Grand, Vancouver – CAD 149/nt
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler – CAD 139/nt
- Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel – CAD 119/nt (trip report coming soon)
- The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto – CAD 119/nt
- Le Westin Resort & Spa, Tremblant, Quebec – CAD 149/nt
- Le Méridien Versailles – Montreal, Quebec – CAD 115/nt
- Sheraton Frankfurt Congress Hotel – EUR 87/nt
- Sheraton Munich Westpark – EUR 79/nt
- Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran – $145/nt
- Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort – $133/nt (trip report here)
- The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia – $195/nt
- Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa – $710/nt
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos, Mexico – $189/nt
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – $79/nt
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico – $99/nt
- Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam – EUR 245/nt
- Hotel Des Indes, The Hague – EUR 132/nt
- Sheraton Lima Hotel & Convention Center – $149/nt
- Sheraton Incheon Hotel, South Korea – $129/nt
- Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, Thailand – $124/nt
- St. Regis Bangkok, Thailand – $235/nt
- Vana Belle, Koh Samui, Thailand – $485/nt
- Sheraton Park Tower, London – GBP 269/nt
- W London – Leicester Square – GBP 289/nt
- Sheraton Heathrow Hotel – GBP 54/nt
- Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa, Alaska – $89/nt (trip report coming soon)
- The Phoenician Scottsdale, Arizona – $351/nt (not quite as good as this deal)
- The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, Arizona – $359/nt (trip report coming soon)
- W Hollywood, CA – $199/nt
- SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, CA – $309/nt
- W San Diego, CA – $149/nt
- The St. Regis Aspen Resort – $199/nt
- Sheraton Steamboat Resort – $129/nt
- The St. Regis Washington, D.C. – $240/nt
- The Westin Georgetown, D.C. – $149/nt
- The Westin Fort Lauderdale, FL – $79/nt
- Walt Disney World Dolphin, Orlando, FL – $169/nt
- W Atlanta Midtown, GA – $165/nt (trip report coming soon)
- W Chicago City Center, IL -$159/nt
- W Chicago Lakeshore, IL – $199/nt
- The Westin Boston Waterfront, MA- $159/nt
- W Boston, MA – $249/nt
- The Westin Las Vegas, NV – $119/nt
- Sheraton Atlantic City, NJ – $79/nt (trip report coming soon)
- W Hoboken, NJ – $209/nt
- The Westin New York Grand Central, NY – $279/nt
- W New York Downtown, NY – $249/nt
- The Westin Portland, OR – $125/nt
- The Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, PR – $159/nt
- W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island, PR – $279/nt
- The Westin Tysons Corner, VA – $89/nt
- The Westin Seattle, WA – $139/nt
- W Seattle, WA – $139/nt
- Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, Vietnam – $162/nt
Starwood today announced their Q2 2013 promotion via Facebook which will once again be double points on all eligible stays from May 1 through July 31, 2013 at participating hotels and resorts worldwide. You can also receive 500 bonus points for each eligible booking made through the spg.com mobile site, the SPG App for iPhone or the SPG App for Android, even for those properties excluded from the double points promo. Registration will begin in late April and I’ll update then with further details. The list of excluded hotels is smaller than in previous years but still spans the globe.
Did you see Gary’s post the other night on the $30/nt mistake rates at the Phoenician Resort? I went ahead and chanced it and booked a few nights for mid December. Though the hotel won’t be honoring the $30/nt rate, they have in my opinion a pretty generous offer. The offer is for a deeply discounted rate, full SPG benefits, and double SPG points for the stay. Nice job SPG! Here’s the email I just received:
I am contacting you today in regards to your December 2013 reservations for The Phoenician. Unfortunately, due to a systems error on March 27, the resort temporarily listed the incorrect and very low accommodation rate of $30 per night. While the Terms & Conditions on our website indicate the right to cancel if a reservation resulted from a mistake or error, we value your business and would like to extend an exclusive, discounted rate of $130 per night, as well as double SPG points for this stay. Currently, the correct, available rate for December 2013 is more than $400, providing you with a savings in excess of $300 per night. We hope you will accept our redress regarding this matter. However, as this was indeed an exceptional circumstance, we are also giving you the opportunity to cancel your reservation(s) without penalty. We hope to hear from you soon so we may discuss and either finalize your accommodations, or cancel the reservations. To connect with a member of our Customer Service team please email us at Executive.Guest.Service@StarwoodHotels.com. If we do not hear from you by April, 12th, 2013 we will assume you no longer want to keep your reservations and we will cancel them on your behalf. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our technical difficulties, and remain committed to providing you with our signature AAA Five Diamond guest service and experience. All Starwood Preferred Guest benefits will be fully honored. We look forward to having you with us!
The currently best available prepaid non refundable rates for my booked dates is over $469 a night, making this offer quite a savings and allowing for double SPG point accumulation. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is $219-$229 a night on the same dates while the W Scottsdale is $288 a night. I’ll probably book a cheap flight and take advantage of the deal, though obviously flight costs need to be factored in as well. Of course, this is no deal at all if you are taking a vacation that you’re not interested in. What will you be doing?
After reading Sunday’s Interesting & Random SPG Facts…Top-Earning Member’s 2012 Points, Most Popular Redemption Spot, Biggest Redemption Stay post, several readers wanted to know some facts and numbers for the average SPG member. Well, not quite the average member, but here are some details for the average Platinum member in 2012:
Ever wonder how many points the top-earning SPG member earns in a given year or what’s the most popular property for SPG redemptions? Answers to these and more in today’s random SPG facts:
- Top 2012 SPG Earner by Hotel Stays – 955,100 points
- Top 2012 SPG Earner by Food and Beverage Purchases – 441,123 points (wow, might want to try eating outside the hotel a bit)…
- Most Popular Redemption Spot in 2012 – Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali
- Biggest SPG Flights Redemption in 2012 – LAX to FCO 2 business class tickets for 870,000 points (To this person I say WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???? That’s the equivalent of over 1 million miles if you include the 5,000 bonus for every 20K redeemed)
- Biggest 2012 SPG Moments Redemption – 370,500 points for courtside US Open Men’s final tickets
- Largest 2012 SPG Redemption Stay – 960,000 Starpoints for 10 nights including 5th night free in a sweet suite @ The St. Regis Bali Resort (Trip Report)
- Most Starwood Hotels Visited by One Member in 2012 – 92
- Most Countries Visited by One Member in 2012 - 24
- Most Popular Check-In Time for Your24 Benefit in 2012 – 10:00 am
- Most Popular Place to Redeem SPG Suite Night Awards in 2012- Westin Paris
- Members Awarded Lifetime Platinum Status for 500 Lifetime Nights and 10 years of Platinum Status in 2012 – 25
Reminder, NYC Meet-Up details released for our April 11th gathering.