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During the flooding in Thailand, I was in and out of the capitol city three times and never saw anything unusual besides everything being really quiet. When I was there last time ten days ago, the city was already back to business as usual. None of the Starwood properties were affected.

Starwood has now launched a Thailand sale that will last until the end of January for stays from January 4th until 31st of March. The rates offered are up to 50% off the Best Available Rate.

spg-unbeatable-thailand

These are the rates listed as up to 50% off the Best Available Rate. Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit came at the offered price for weekends in January. For the dates I checked, the lowest rate I could find for the Le Meridien Bangkok was 3300 THB. The sale rate for the St Regis Bangkok was about 1000 THB lower than the 6900 THB rate listed. [click to continue…]

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Yesterday, I wrote about contacting Starwood Platinum Concierge using the online chat function. It is a good way to sort simpler things out. My issue on hand was getting complicated, and decided to make the call to SPG Platinum Concierge in the States, although I am currently here in Abu Dhabi.

The problem on hand was the award availability at the Sheraton Resort in Dubai. I had free resort nights about to expire that could be only used in Dubai at that one specific property. Only one of the six nights I was looking to book was available when checking the availability online.

One of the nights did show standard room availability but was bookable only as a prepaid rate. The Platinum Concierge, with whom I initially dealt with on the phone, was not able to book it as an award. I asked him to escalate the issue, and the call was then transferred to a supervisor.

SPG Standard Room Sheraton Resort Dubai

The room types that are available for “Standard” awards: [click to continue…]

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SPG Online ChatAs I am on the road close to 100% of the time, it makes contacting various entities in the United States bit difficult. Starwood has contact centers that deal with SPG issues in Ireland and Singapore as well, but I have found that the folks sitting in the United States are the most competent of them all.

Some countries block Skype and other VOIP access and calling using a landline or cellphone can be very expensive. You could probably send an email request but, if issue needs back and forth communication, it can take quite some time to resolve. My preferred channel of contacting SPG in a situation like this is the Platinum chat.

You can find the link to the chat on the upper right corner under the Customer Service-link. I then opens the actual chat-application window where you should have your name, email address, and the SPG Platinum account number. You can then enter your question to the space below. I always try to be as comprehensive and complete with my question/request, so that the Platinum concierge, dealing with the chat, can start working immediately with my issue without having to clarify several times. [click to continue…]

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Just stayed at the newly opened Aloft hotel at Sukhumvit 11 in Bangkok, Thailand. The opening of the hotel was delayed several times due to constructions issues, and later due to the flooding situation in Bangkok. The hotel finally opened its doors on December 1st, 2011. I have previously stayed at handful of Aloft properties, but all of them have been int he United States. Often, even limited service hotel concepts like Aloft, have more full service offering in the Asia due to competition and lower labor costs.

Executive Summary

The hotel is done very nicely. One could use words modern chic, to describe it. I especially liked the way the ground floor and the second floor set up was done.

– As a SPG Platinum member it is very difficult for me to choose this property over other SPG options in Bangkok that all offer a breakfast and a happy hour for SPG Platinum members among other benefits.

– Without any Starwood status? Maybe as long as the price is in line with the competitors. [click to continue…]

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Normally Starwood sells Starpoints at 3.5 cents each, and the maximum number of points one is allowed to buy each calendar year is 20K. Now until December 31st Starwood is offering 20% discount for buying points. Instead of the usual 3.5 cents you can buy them at 2.8 cents. Sounds a bit high, doesn’t it?

SPG Starpoints 20 Discount

The reason why I quite like Starpoints is due to the fact that they are very flexible. You can use them for straight hotel awards, you can use cash + points awards, you can book flights using them, and most importantly you can convert 20K Starpoints to 25K miles with number of carriers. [click to continue…]

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Starwood Preferred Guest Asia Pacific Promotion MCStarwood is again running MasterCard affiliated promo ‘Two Days of Happy’ 4MCFN in the Asia Pacific region. After five nights during the promotional period the SPG member will receive one promotional fee night award, or after nine nights two promotional awards. The stays must be reserved and paid using a MasterCard, and must occur between November 29th, 2011 and 15th of March 2012. These promotional awards can be redeemed from January 1st, 2012 and are valid until 10th of April 2012. The full terms and conditions of this promotions can be found at http://www.spg-asiapacific.com/2daysofhappy/en/terms.html  and the frequently asked questions at http://www.spg-asiapacific.com/2daysofhappy/en/faqs.html.

Starwood Preferred Guest Asia Pacific Promotion

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Starwood has already had for more than a year their Moments-program where SPG members can either purchase or bid for wide variety of events like concerts, golf related events, shows etc.

Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Moments

There are two ways to “purchase” these and you always have to pay using Starpoints. Some of the events are purely sold using auctions, and thus the price is never knows before the auction ends. It is wise to bid only at the very last minute. The others have the straight purchase price as shown in Starpoints. [click to continue…]

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Couple of days ago I wrote about the new Starwood Promotion that would be launching today. It was already known that it would require you to book a special rate plan in order to be eligible for the extra points and amenities. It was not known, however, whether these rates would be competitive or not.

Starwood Preferred Guest 1111 Promotion

I just chose seven different properties around the United States that participate. Of those seven properties only one had this promotional rate as the lowest. These rates are for one night stay on 18th of this month, checked as of this morning. [click to continue…]

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Starwood has a teaser up on http://www.starwoodpromos.com/eleven/ for a promo that runs for 11 days starting on November 11th, 2011. By paying extra $11 the guest can get one of the following:

Daily breakfast for two

Overnight parking

A room upgrade

Sarwood Preferred Guest 11 11 11 Promotion For 1111 Extra Starpoints For $11

Starwood Preferred Guests member will also be eligible for:

Special bonus for SPG® Members:

Receive 1,111 bonus Starpoints® per stay with this offer.

Right now it is not clear if this apply only for “Best Available Rates” or whether corporate and other discount rates would also qualify, although I doubt that. These extra 1111 Starpoints can be “expensive” if you need to book a special rate plan. Stay tuned for more.

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Starwood launches their Starpicks rates for various properties for the next couple of weeks mostly every Tuesday, although there have been gaps at times. These rates are typically available for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights for city properties. For resorts these rates can be available for all days. You need to book the rate by Friday.

Starwood Starpicks

Thing to keep in mind is that these rates are prepaid and non-cancellable. If your plans change, it is unlikely that you will get a refund. Also these Starpicks rates are not always the lowest. It pays to check the normal rates using various discounts codes that one is eligible for i.e. AAA. [click to continue…]

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Starwood Preferred Guest Introducing Ratings ReviewsStarwood has just launched their own Ratings & Reviews where guests can review their past stay. Hotels have long been fed up with TripAdvisor reviews, because there hasn’t been a way to determine if the review was actually left by a guest, some competitor, or perhaps disgruntled former employee.

Starwood Preferred Guest Introducing Ratings Reviews Sheraton Grande SukhumvitWith the Starwood you actually need to log in using an account that was used to book the stay. Alternatively you need to have the confirmation number and the last name. For some reason when I was trying to make a review just using a confirmation number and my last name, the system was unable to find the stay only returning an error message that the review must be left within certain timeframe after the stay. [click to continue…]

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Starwood Preferred Guest Transfer Starpoints Between Member AccountsStarwood has always allowed members to transfer Starpoints between member accounts. Previously it was enough that the addresses of both Starwood accounts were the same at the time of transfer. Earlier in the year Starwood initiated a process where the address must be same at least for 30 days before the transfer is initiated.

Why anyone would want to transfer points between accounts, as you can always “gift” an award stay? By combining points from accounts it might be easier to hit certain transfer thresholds i.e. when transferring to airlines 20K Starpoints typically transfer to 25K miles.  One party may have 100K American Airlines AAdvantage miles on his account when the desired award would require 150K. You cannot transfer Starpoints to someone else’s AAdvantage account, but you can do to his Starpoints account from where the person can further transfer them to AA. [click to continue…]

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Hilton HHonors has awarded stay credits for award stays as long as I can remember. Starting October 1st Starwood has started to award stay credits for award stays as well. This helps those that tend to barely qualify for status.

Starwood Preferred Guest Award Nights CountGood or bad? You decide. Personally this does nothing for me as I have more than 100 paid Starwood stays yearly.

Note that that these award stays do not count any promototions i.e. stay three times – get a free night. [click to continue…]

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Starwood has been offering this SPG50 award for 1000 Starpoints that discounts the hotel’s rack rate by 50% up to 5 days. The problem is that there is no way to check the actual rack rate online, or what rooms/suites are offered under this rate plan.

When I was in Bali the other week, and wanted to check out the rather expensive St Regis resort over there, decided to check if the price using this award would be lower than any other publicly available rate. I just hate spending time over the phone especially when in Bali, but then remembered that Starwood offers chat.

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