Reader Question: SPG Platinum Suite Upgrades At The Sheraton On The Park?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum member suite upgrades in Sydney and at the Sheraton on the Park specifically.

Reader Question Sheraton On The Park

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I thought readers could be interested in my exchange with Sheraton on the Park in Sydney regarding Platinum level Suite upgrades. I have stayed in a number of SPG hotels in Sydney recently (past 2 years) and never received a Suite upgrade. Appears to me there is a deliberate policy of offering the Club rooms and hoping we will all be happy. After 3 years of this I took exception and queried the Sheraton on the Park, given their Executive Suites were available for online booking the afternoon I checked in.

Amusingly it was also this same staff who had sent me an email prior to my stay, which also mentioned the Platinum upgrade to a Suite!

The response was pretty lame, and to me it is pretty clear what is going on. But it’s a matter of principal here, as the program offers this and the hotels should honor the entitlement or SPG should amend the program. Be interesting to see if I am just the unlucky one, or if this is standard across SPG in Australia.

Here’s the reader’s email to the property:

Thanks for you letter last week wlecoming me this stay, which I was looking forward to. Being Platinum level I always enjoy my stay.

Have to say a little disappointed at after checkin, despite a nice upgrade to a Park View room. It seems that here in SYD particularly, we are offered this one-level upgrade with the club access and assumed that we will be OK. And to be honest it’s a nice room and I have no complaints – until I see you can still book now the Executives Suites and Terrace Suites for tonight. Which to my mind shows you still have Suites available (screen shots below)

So the logical question is why are your Platinum guests note upgraded into these Suites, which is the entitlement under the SPG programme?  If the process is to not upgrade us into Suites, then the programme should be altered.

To be honest, I feel the process in Australia is to offer the most basic upgrade and hope the customer is satisfied. Otherwise at least at check-in the process would be that there are no Suite avaiable tonight so we have upgraded into the best possible room we have left.

Here’s the reply from the Sheraton on the Park:

Thank you for your email, and for taking the time to provide us with your feedback.

Please allow me to extend my sincerest apologies that you have not been able to enjoy the Platinum benefit of an upgrade to the Best Available room, up to an Executive Suite, during your stay with us. We do endeavour to ensure that all Platinum guests are upgraded to at least the Best Available standard hotel room where possible, and so prior to your arrival we try to arrange an upgrade to an Enhanced park-side room. The Platinum benefit of Best Available room is extended up to and including an Executive Suite; the Suite does also need to be ready and available at time of check-in in order for the benefit to be extended. Even if the Suite is available to book online, it potentially may not be available to be checked-into right away, and thus is not available for the Platinum upgrade.

Mr (name removed), I hope that the explanation that I have provided has been able to shed some light on the SPG Platinum benefits here at Sheraton On The Park. We certainly do value your patronage, and I would be warmed to personally assist you with your future bookings with us, so as to increase your chances to get an Executive Suite on your future stays.

Here’s the reader’s reply:

Thanks for the reply and I appreciate the correspondence, but it doesn’t really clear up the matter. If you really wanted to provide the Suite upgrade, check-in should leave the choice to the customer to wait for the Suite or check into a room that is ready.

Unless this occurs, the customer can only assume there is never any intention to provide the Suite in the first place. And frankly if you can book Suites online at 2-3pm on the afternoon of check-in, it’s pretty clear to me they are available.

Thanks again for at least reading. You need to revise your check-in procedures so everyone understands the situation.

Here’s what the SPG says about the upgrades:

  • An upgrade to best available room at check-in — including a Standard Suite.

Let me start saying that most of the Starwood hotels that I frequent go above and beyond when it comes to Platinum upgrades and other benefits than what is the absolute minimum required by the program.

I have stayed at some Starwood hotels in Australia in both Melbourne and Sydney but not at this specific property. I tend to stay at the InterContinental when in Sydney (again next week) due to Royal Ambassador upgrades and benefits.

The person replying from the property is correct that the “standard suite” should be available at the time of checking in.

Here’s what I usually do:

1. Ask how the property has upgraded me at the time of checking in.

2. If it is not a suite, I inquire if they have suites available later in the day that they can use for Platinum member upgrades.

3. If they do, I request that they give me a standard room and let me know when the suite is ready.

4. If they say no, I check the SPG app for available room types. If they are still selling standard suites, you can have a discussion with the person checking you in or request to speak with the Manager on Duty.

Conclusion

I have no problem not getting a suite if the standard (and then some) are not available per the SPG app or website. There are some hotels that perhaps play games with the SPG Platinum upgrades. I simply avoid them.

Properties tend to preassign suites very early in the morning for the incoming day. I find it bit weird, however, if this property only assigns these “premium” rooms and then does the actual suite upgrades at the time of checking in. This is not usually how the properties work.

May be there are other readers that have more in depth experience about their Platinum upgrades at this Sheraton hotel in Sydney and could chime in?

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