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Old Feb 28, 11, 5:49 pm   #1
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Curious - threats to leave - made real?

Just curious - many people last year stated that they were leaving SPG. Now that two months have passed, how many nights have you transferred to other hotel chains away from SPG?
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Old Feb 28, 11, 9:13 pm   #2
 
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I switched to Hyatt and I've been very happy. The Diamond breakfast amenity alone is unreal- fully comped breakfast if the hotel doesn't have a lounge. When I stay at the Andaz West Hollywood in a confirmed suite on a reasonable corporate rate I get breakfast for 4 every day, which usually comes to $100+. When they bring the check and you tell them you are a Diamond, they literally take a red pen and cross out the whole amount- all you leave is tip.

Plus the highest category award nights are only 22,000 and you earn more points per stay (1,000 point Diamond amenity, lots of 2,000 point additional bonuses, lounge closure bonuses, etc). Plus, I've gotten upgraded to suites on award stays at the same rate as SPG, like to a huge suite at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires (trip report with pics and video).

Overall, the grass has actually been much greener for me (though I did requalify for SPG and stay when its convenient). Whether I'll requalify for SPG again in 2011 totally depends on if they have robust promotions or start doing confirmed suite upgrades. I don't miss the days of haggling for suites.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 10:34 pm   #3
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in a confirmed suite on a reasonable corporate rate
And that's key. You're one of the lucky few, and congratulations on being able to take advantage of it.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 10:45 pm   #4
 
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I've certainly directed more business Hilton's way vs. SPG after several redemption shenanigans with SPG last year.

HHonors doesn't have nearly the point value, but they treat me pretty well even as a Gold. In short, they do exactly what they say they will IME. Not so with SPG, especially when using points.

I've kept the SPG AMEX, but flipped my stays from 75% SPG/25% Hilton to 25/75.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 10:50 pm   #5
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they do exactly what they say they will IME. Not so with SPG
OK, this one I have to ask about. SPG and Starwood have never lied to me.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 11:01 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
OK, this one I have to ask about. SPG and Starwood have never lied to me.
Denied upgrades when they're for sale (unless of course I wanted to pay cash or points), redemption issues with "invented" room categories, flat out lies from property managers when confronted, denied lounge access, nonexistent/worthless "alternate" amenities for Plats, the list goes on. Perhaps I had a bad year, but over my 50+ stays in 2010, SPG underwhelmed. By a lot. For a current example see the London thread during Olympic time with all the shenanigans - cancelled stays, denied rememptions. It shouldn't be that way.

Also noticed that when I tried to book rooms for family visiting DC over the wekeend, every SPG property in DC proper (including the 4 points) was 150+ while I had my pick of Hiltons and Marriotts for 90-110. No, thanks. I'll take my folks out for drinks somewhere nice for the difference. (thankfully mom doesn't drink much! )

That's not to say that I won't be spending some time at *wood. They're just going to get my bottom feeding stays this year, which will likely be just enough to eke out Plat.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 11:38 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by thepointsguy View Post
I switched to Hyatt and I've been very happy. The Diamond breakfast amenity alone is unreal- fully comped breakfast if the hotel doesn't have a lounge. When I stay at the Andaz West Hollywood in a confirmed suite on a reasonable corporate rate I get breakfast for 4 every day, which usually comes to $100+. When they bring the check and you tell them you are a Diamond, they literally take a red pen and cross out the whole amount- all you leave is tip.

Plus the highest category award nights are only 22,000 and you earn more points per stay (1,000 point Diamond amenity, lots of 2,000 point additional bonuses, lounge closure bonuses, etc). Plus, I've gotten upgraded to suites on award stays at the same rate as SPG, like to a huge suite at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires (trip report with pics and video).

Overall, the grass has actually been much greener for me (though I did requalify for SPG and stay when its convenient). Whether I'll requalify for SPG again in 2011 totally depends on if they have robust promotions or start doing confirmed suite upgrades. I don't miss the days of haggling for suites.
Almost a complete ditto for me. Hyatt got 55 or so nights from me last year.

Breakfast at Andaz Hollywood was almost worth the switch alone.

I will say that I was not one of the " I am taking my business elsewhere" crowd.

No program is perfect, but blindly following one without taking advantage of other opportunities is foolish in my mind now that I have seen the light.

I do love SPG Moments, many concerts and sports redemptions last year including U2 in Paris, I redeemed over 200k points.
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Old Feb 28, 11, 11:54 pm   #8
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My travel will be down this year (a personal choice) so I can only keep one top tier program. In the end, I felt that Hyatt is the stronger program for me currently with the Diamond breakfast amenity and the confirmed suite upgrades. That means that I will lose SPG Platinum this year and I may not even keep Gold, unless SPG comes up with a double stay count promo.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 12:01 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
For a current example see the London thread during Olympic time with all the shenanigans - cancelled stays, denied rememptions. It shouldn't be that way.
Just to update on my situation for the Olympics. SPG did have numerous system problems when I tried to book the Olympics. The following are a couple of the issues:
1. SPG normally allows paid bookings before award bookings. This is due, I believe, to the possibility of category changes. For the most part this is not normally an issue because people do not book 15 plus months ahead.
2. SPG has, I believe, 2 different reservation systems. In my case, one system said there was availability when, in fact, there were not. Not a good thing for SPG IT.
3. Specifically Park Lane, the hotel that was showing availability, was changing categories so this cause some confusion in the system. Specifically, SPG reservations could not book an "upgrade" room because of the cat change. This, however, is not a real issue because upgraded award room reservations are not really a "baseline" benefit (until 5 days before arrival).

That being said, I was finally able to talk to the proper people at Starwood and they were able to work around the system problems and get me the reservation that I was looking for. I give great kudos to the Starwood people who made it happen.

Hope this helps to clear things up for people.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 12:13 am   #10
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
I've certainly directed more business Hilton's way vs. SPG after several redemption shenanigans with SPG last year.
Same here. I even sent a copy of my Hyatt Diamond end-of-year statement to offending SPG hotels that took upgrades away (after seeing ug's on iPhone or spg.com but feigned nothing upon checkin).

That said, my SPG stays were at an all time high last year. This year, I plan on keepin a dual focus of SPG & Hyatt. I love having options now that i'm no longer exclusive to SPG.

Fingers crossed SPG steps up to the competition!
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Old Mar 1, 11, 12:43 am   #11
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Originally Posted by itsaboutthejourney View Post
Same here. I even sent a copy of my Hyatt Diamond end-of-year statement to offending SPG hotels that took upgrades away (after seeing ug's on iPhone or spg.com but feigned nothing upon checkin)...
Classic!

I've also been extremely happy with how Hyatt has treated me over the last few months...having a private line representative, staying at world class properties (in suites, many times) like Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Park Hyatt Istanbul, Park Hyatt Sydney, Park Hyatt Zurich, Park Hyatt Dubai, and Park Hyatt Shanghai. Having breakfast on the 91st floor above the clouds at Park Hyatt Shanghai for free as part of the Diamond benefit...priceless

On the contrary, my spg upgrade in the last few months have been in the pits.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 1:30 am   #12
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still with spg....have shifted some of my hilton stays to ihg....
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Old Mar 1, 11, 4:38 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
...

HHonors doesn't have nearly the point value ...
While Hilton cost more 'points' for a stay, the Hotel stay based earn/burn ratio is comparable and better for Hilton with the High end properties.
Quote:
Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
... but they treat me pretty well even as a Gold. In short, they do exactly what they say they will IME. Not so with SPG, especially when using points. ...
Hilton has Guaranteed minimum benefits which includes breakfast for Golds and lounge access for Diamonds.

Of course, upgrades to suites are not a HHonors program benefit, nor are 'speciality select' awards available.

I still use my SPG account frequently however, mainly for 'laundering' points.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 6:20 am   #14
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I've gone from about 80:20 SPG Hyatt to 55:45 ratio
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Old Mar 1, 11, 6:49 am   #15
 
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Hmmm... most of these posts seem to be about stays last year as opposed to the first two months of this year, implying the decision to move away from *wood was triggered some time ago.

I have always said different programs - and their benefits - are valued differently by different folks, depending on our respective travel patterns. So I am glad the switch from *wood is working for some. I switched airlines this year (I now fly ABAC whenever possible), and it has worked out terrifically for me.


Quite frankly, admitedly selfishly, I was sorta hoping more folks would be leaving SPG this year than this thread seems to suggest...

Cheers,
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