A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped me an email about weird award night situation with two SPG affiliated hotels in India that both have standard rooms available for cash yet don’t have award rooms available using Starpoints.
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Here’s the email from the reader:
I am a SPG Platinum 75 customer and have been overall very happy with the program. However am noticing that of late (post Marriott) SPG hotels have started applying free night blackout without really calling it that. Here are 2 current examples where base category rooms are available on paid basis but not available on points.
ITC Windsor, Bangalore: checkin 31st Dec, Checkout 1st Jan
Le Meridien Calangute, Goa: checkin 28th Dec, checkout 31st Dec.
I have written to SPG but haven’t heard back. Called the SPG helpline and didn’t get any convincing answer.
Could you please help here and flag the issue on your blog so that we get SPG’s attention.
Award night policies greatly vary between hotel loyalty programs. Some advertise no blackout policy yet individual hotels can have blackout dates for months at a time (Marriott Rewards) and many such as IHG affiliated hotels must make certain percentage of their room inventory on any given night (5%) available as rewards.
SPG has very clear policy in this matter. As long as the hotel is selling their standard rooms for cash, they must be available using Starpoints as well. Sometimes it is not obvious from the room names, however, what the standard room available using points should be.
Le Meridien Goa:
Standard room using point should be the “Classic Room”.
Yet it is not available for the dates the reader indicated above.
ITC Windsor Bangalore:
Executive club Queen Bed is the standard room available using Starpoints at this specific property.
Yet it is not available using Starpoints on December 31st.
Both properties are playing games with Starpoints availability. These dates should be available and the SPG hotline should have helped the reader by opening a case and securing the rooms and yet they didn’t.
I have forwarded the reader’s case to Marriott/SPG and it is being dealt with.
SPG’s award availability has been the gold standard. There are properties, however, that have reclassified their room inventory to only have very few “standard” rooms or those that have sold their standard room allocation to third parties but that is not the case here.
Has general apathy affected the people manning the SPG Platinum phone lines? This should have been very easy case to deal with.