Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Award Availability Woes.

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:

SPG Standard Room 13th Award

She agreed that there was something weird going on that night, and that she would need to contact the property to straighten the issue out. She also said that she could ask the property if they were willing to open up availability for the four nights that didn’t show any standard availability. I told her that it would be great if they would do that, but I would certainly understand if they wouldn’t.

Few minutes later she came back with good news. The hotel had agreed to open up the availability for all the six nights that I had been looking for instead of just the two that should have been bookable. This was the first time that I have had to request Platinum concierge to intervene on an award booking process.

Lessons learned.

1. You cannot always rely what you see available online.

2. Try searching day by day to see what comes up. It might be the case that you can complete the booking by making several reservations when the same room type is not available for all the nights.

3. Call the SPG general or Platinum Concierge line. They can help and, if needed, escalate the issue. Sometimes communicating the old fashioned way by phone works the best.

4. Hotels can open up award availability for you if they so wish. I fully understood that on my case it was really up to them. I wouldn’t have blamed the hotel for not opening up.