Another Wednesday and another set of Starwood Hotels SPG Hot Escapes. Last week the website made an enhancement when clicking ‘View All Deals’. Now a table of countries organized by global region shows up and tells how many hotels are participating.

View All SPG Hot Escapes Hotels.

The next enhancement they need is to tell how many dates over the next six weeks actually offer the advertised rate shown for the hotel.

W fort lauderdale

SPG Hot Escapes Member Rate = $171.

The $171 rate for W Fort Lauderdale is available for precisely two dates on Sunday, May 11 (Mother’s Day) and Monday, May 26 (Memorial Day holiday). The hotel is only under $200 per night for 12 of the next 39 dates on the calendar.

There are 174 hotels globally on the list at time of this post with 39 hotels in the USA and some additional timeshare vacation rentals. The list generally grows throughout the day on Wednesday as hotels are added.

Remember these rates are prepaid and nonrefundable and only available for booking by Saturday, April 26, 2014.

And next Wednesday half these hotels will be back again at SPG Hot Escapes rate discounts.


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Let me be clear. I have never booked a room through I have never signed up to be a member of

The waters of best rate guarantee claims are getting murkier with the simple descriptor of ‘membership rate’ on as I test the parameters of what is acceptable for defining best rate claims.

Today, I had a best rate guarantee claim denied by Starwood Hotels. My claim was based on an $80 rate at Starwood Hotels for Aloft Jacksonville Airport when I can book the same room on for $64.41.

Aloft JAX

Aloft Jacksonville Airport is $80 on Starwood site.

Aloft JAX getaroom $64.41 rate states it is an “Exclusive Membership Rate”.

Anyone can see and book this rate simply by going to They say it is an exclusive membership rate, yet there is no barrier to seeing and booking the rate for the general public like me and you.

JAX aloft getaroom rates

When I check Jacksonville, Florida on, these rates appear for Aloft Jacksonville Airport. They state “exclusive membership rate”.

Exclusive Membership Rate Superior Room, 1 King Bed $64.41 Non-refundable. The first four rates shown on the website state “Exclusive Membership Rate”.

JAX Aloft getaroom

$72.78 for Aloft Jacksonville Airport on vs. $91 on Starwood site for same room.

The next few rates do not have those words “Exclusive Membership Rate”. The booking process is identical for both the member exclusive rate and the general rate.

JAX Aloft getaroom nonmember $80.49 Superior Room, 1 King Bed Non-Refundable.

What makes a person a member of

Starwood Best Rate Guarantee sent back this response to my BRG claim.

I have reviewed the rates for Aloft Jacksonville Airport for the dates of your claim on our website and found a rate of 80.10 USD which is lower than the rate of 80.26 USD found on Since the rate is lower on our website, I am not able to approve your claim.

For one thing, the rate shown on is $80.49 and not $80.26.

The response does not even address the fact that my claim was made against the $64.41 rate on

Starwood Hotels Best Rate Guarantee T&C states:

The Best Rate Guarantee does not apply to:

Rates requiring membership in a club or other organization, offered pursuant to direct mail or email solicitations, requiring discount codes or coupons, or otherwise not intended for the general public;

My point again is says the $64.41 rate is a member exclusive rate. I’ll state again that I have never booked a room through and I do not see anything about the room rate that prevents any member of the general public from booking the deal. Just because the website states it is a ‘membership exclusive rate’, those words seem to be window dressing and do not seem to have any validity in this case since I am not a member of and I can see and book the $64.41 rate.

In the UK there was a court ruling in 2013 stating online travel agencies can undercut the hotel chain’s room rates when offering lower rates to a fenced group, i.e. a group member. Here is my August 2013 Loyalty Traveler post: UK ruling may impact hotel chain BRG claims (August 9, 2013).

This is the first time I have tested that ruling with a Best Rate Guarantee claim.

Bottom line is I can book Aloft Jacksonville Airport for $64.41 on for the same King bed hotel room Starwood Hotels is charging $80.

Simply tacking on the words “Exclusive Membership Rate” allows to offer a lower rate than Starwood Hotels for the same room and Starwood Hotels gets to deny a best rate guarantee claim.

I wonder how I become a member of

Starwood Hotel stays from May 1 to July 31 earn double points (4 points per dollar) at about 85% of hotels globally (about 150 hotels worldwide opted out of promotion). Include a Sunday night in your stay and earn triple points (6 points per dollar = 2 base points + 4 bonus points per dollar).

Register by June 30, 2014.

Key T&C for SPG Earn Away Promotion

Read More…

SPG Hot Escapes has made some enhancements to their weekly display of limited time offer hotel rate discounts by actually including easy to see geographic filters.

One of the most annoying aspects of limited time offers for hotels are when it is difficult to search hotels by geography. The world is a big place and it is exceedingly annoying to have to guess countries and states to check for deals.

SPG Hot Escapes new format

View All Deals now reveals a list of countries and number of hotels participating in the weekly SPG Hot Escapes. Until this change, you simply saw a picture array of all the hotels ordered randomly from across the globe.

Big improvement, in my opinion, since I value searching for hotels by geography.


Now they just need to follow through with this same geographic filter scheme and apply it to USA states so hotels in Florida, Arizona, California and Indiana  have a more logical order. (Hint to SPG: alphabetize the list by state).

There are 157 hotels on this week’s SPG Hot Escapes at time of this post. Remember these rates are prepaid, nonrefundable and no reservation changes allowed. Must book by this Saturday. The posted rate discount might only be available for one or two dates over the next six weeks at many hotels.

The weekly list of SPG Hot Escapes is out with 272 hotels this week. There has to be some great deals somewhere. 153 hotels are in the USA. Typical for Wednesday SPG Hot Escapes, the number of hotels is rising as I write this post.

(Now 286 hotels worldwide with 186 USA hotels one hour after posting this piece.)

In the uproar against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Starwood Hotels apparently makes a statement by including W Hotel St. Petersburg as a USA hotel when the list is filtered for USA properties. So, I guess there are fewer hotels in the USA on this week’s Hot Escapes if Russia retains its sovereignty over its Baltic city St. Petersburg hotel.

Lakeside Terrace Villas in Avon, Colorado is a Starwood property I never heard of before today. It does not come up on when searching Avon. It is part of Starwood Villa Resorts? Keep in mind that late April and May are mud season in the ski resorts of Colorado and last May when I was staying in Avon, many of the ski resort businesses were closed and hotels were doing annual maintenance on their properties.


SPG Hot Escapes are prepaid and nonrefundable rates available for stays over the next six weeks. Must book by this Saturday.

Came across an old journal entry today from a hot summer July 2006 evening at the Luxury Collection Des Indes in The Hague, Netherlands. I don’t recall the wine incident of the evening, although it is probably better to leave it forgotten. I have been thinking about writing a series of Hotel embarrassing moments. There are a few funny stories to tell from past hotel stays.

What I do remember is the terrible heat during our stay in The Hague. This was the heat wave where dozens of people in the Netherlands died.

July 2006 With a monthly average of 22.3 °C (72.1 °F), KNMI statistics show July 2006 was the warmest-ever month on record for the Netherlands.[2] Around 500 or 1,000 more people than usual died in July 2006.

Wikipedia – 2006 European Heat Wave


Den Haag July 15, 2006

Des Indes is a colonialist revival hotel. The image depicted is one of exclusive opulence and the hotel does offer a wonderful opportunity for private relaxation in the suites and junior suites of the fourth floor with private patios. Lots of fabrics for upholstery on the furniture and walls, even in the elevators. Heavy drapes in rooms and over bed. Elegant opulence. The hotel has character.

AMSDH2 july2006 158

The overall feature of this room at the Des Indes is that our fourth floor double patio doors open wide and the music festival on the canal about 400 meters away is carried by the wind and has been a constant backdrop of music for all Friday evening until midnight, and then today started again around noon. 

There is a great band playing now. The whole festival sound is rock style middle eastern music. The music comes in waves on the wind. Sometimes it will be loud and clear for 15 to 20 consecutive minutes and then it fades for several minutes. It is currently at a low point and getting louder. The music comes in waves and we trip on the instruments. A solidly professional sounding band is playing now. One of the headliners since it is 22:00 on Saturday night and the evening sky is still in the last 30 minutes of light before the total dark on this warm, windy summer July evening in Den Haag.

AMSDH2 july2006 212

The Mrs. suffered a bit of heat stroke and embarrassed herself. In the taste off between South Africa merlot and SE Australia cabernet merlot, the carpet was the loser.

Deck life in the Hague on our fourth floor patio lounge. It has been a trip.


We spent a bit of time getting tossed around the indoor pool when we turned on the wave machine.

AMSDH2 july2006 175

Small pool in Des Indes has swim resistance mode. Don’t resist and the pool waves spin you around the pool. We kept cool despite the hottest July on record for the Netherlands in July 2006.


Another Wednesday and another set of SPG Hot Escapes. There are 131 hotels currently on the list, although more tend to be added during the day on Wednesday. Only 25 hotels in the USA.

Le Meridien San Francisco at $118 is a deal. That rate is available for one date only Sunday, April 20. And that is the basic problem with SPG Hot Escapes when I see a good hotel rate displayed that is only available for one date over the next six weeks.

One Hot Chicago Deal

W Chicago Lakeshore 106

W Chicago Lakeshore shows $106 for SPG Member Rate.

Then when I checked the hotel, the calendar display showed an even lower $87 per night over four consecutive dates from April 17-20. Even better is the rate priced out at $83.60 per night when booking.

W Chicago Lakeshore $83

Now that is truly an SPG Hot Escape rate. $97.31 per night after tax for the W Chicago Lakeshore.

I could get really excited about SPG Hot Escapes if this were a regular occurrence of finding lower than advertised low rates when clicking through the Starwood Hotel rate offers.

Remember these are prepaid, nonrefundable rates at booking. Hotels must be booked by Saturday for these weekly special rates.


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

This week’s SPG Hot Escapes has 128 hotels with several Category 6 and Category 7 hotels. Most of the high category hotels do not look like bargain rates, although there are a couple of relatively low rate, high category hotels in off-season.

SPG category 6 Hotels

  • Pine Cliffs Residence, a Luxury Collection Resort, Albufiera, Portugal $157
  • Westin Key West Resort & Marina – $326 to $349 next week.
  • St. Regis Doha, Qatar –  $224 (many dates in the $230 to $250 per night range.
  • St. Regis Rome, Italy $300
  • Westin Excelsior Florence $239
  • Westin Europe & Regina, Venice, Italy $264
  • Westin Excelsior Rome $267
  • Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa $441
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens, Greece $250
  • Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian $219
  • Sheraton Zurich Neues Schloss Hotel $196
  • King George Athens, Greece $221
  • W Singapore Sentosa Cove $279
  • Hotel Imperial Vienna, Austria $395
  • Westin Paris Vendome $311
  • St. Regis Singapore $270

Category 7 Hotels

  • St. Regis Florence $270 (one date March 20) – all low rate dates surrounded by $500+ dates.
  • St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort – $310 for many dates over next month.
  • The Gritti Palace Venice, Italy $596
  • W Retreat & Spa Maldives $1,033
  • Hotel President Wilson, Geneva, Switzerland $381
  • W Paris Opera, Paris, France $358

A FlyerTalk member noticed his Cash & Points reservation for Athens Grand Bretagne changed this week from 18,000 points + $330  to 30,000 points + $540 for a 3-night stay.

Luxury Collection Grand Bretagne Athens is one of the hotels to rise from Category 5 to Category 6 last week. Athens is suffering riots in the streets, and the tourists and business people are paying more for the comfort of being out of the maddening crowds.

Starwood Lurker responds,

My apologies for the inconvenience. This happens every year when the categories change and a property goes up. Just ignore it. No one is coming after you for more points or cash.

Best regards,
William R. Sanders
Social Media Specialist
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Don’t worry about a thing. Every little thing is going to be all right.

SPG C-and-P

SPG Cash & Points

Speaking of Athens

I’ll be in Athens October 23-25 for TBEX14 Europe, the travel blog exchange conference. Looking forward to the trip. This will be my first time visiting Athens and Greece.

I haven’t been close to a street riot since TBEX11 Vancouver when the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup hockey finals.

SPG Hot Escapes this week has 280 hotels, nearly 25% of all Starwood Hotels worldwide. These are prepaid, nonrefundable discount rates for select dates over the next six weeks. There are twice as many hotels as last week, so many different hotels you might be able to use.

SPG Hot Escapes 3-7-14

SPG Hot Escapes


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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