This is a good idea. Maybe we can all use this thread to post our success stories in using these certificates. While promotional rates do vary, perhaps this thread can provide a list of hotels where we might actually have a chance of saving some money with these coupons, rather than ranting about how useless they are (although, there's certainly a place for that, too)! Just a suggestion...
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[This message has been edited by TravelScholar (edited 02-14-2003).]
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I've had good luck with it just in the past couple of weeks (first time I've tried to use any of them). In each of these cases it was available and significantly better than the lowest available rate at the time I booked:
W Times Square NY
Villa Cipriani, Asolo Italy
Westin Palace Milan
Programs: Starwood Platinum, AA 2 mm EXP, Citibank Platinum...
The Westin Berlin, booked for May at 123.50 Euros/nt double deluxe vs. 350 Euros on SPG so whats 52.50 E worth today? about $60? Over a week it adds up...but the rate they took it from, 267 Euros per, was nowhere on the website. What's up with that?
Have also used 'em at the Prince de Galles in Paris, the Pulitzer in Amsterdam and saw we'd have saved a bit at either the Belgravia or Park Lane in London, though the last two just barely. Not the reason but going to Dublin instead on award nights.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Anybody know any specific Hotels/Resorts where the 50% Off Rack Rate is better than the best available rates on spg.com???</font>
This is almost impossible to answer as hotel rates fluctuate wildly with constantly changing demand and yield management...similar to airline fares. One minute a published web rate might net you the lowest rate...the next moment using a SPG50 might.
An example of this would be the Sheraton Safari near Disney World in Orlando. One week a published spg.com rate of $65 is lowest...the next week the $65 rates is not available but using a SPG50 on the lowest rack rate of $150 nets me a $75 rate.
Some Starwoods where I have used SPG50s or United 50% Off Certs to net the lowest rate at that particular time are:
Sheraton Safari, Florida
Walt Disney World Swan, Florida
Walt Disney World Dolphin, Florida
Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam
Prince de Gaulle, Paris
Westin Sydney, NSW Australia
Sheraton Russell, New York
Sheraton Hong Kong
Sheraton Tokyo Bay
Westin Providence, Rhode Island
Westin Maui (there are/were SPG50s valid in Hawaii that are/were given as part of timeshare promotions and pitches, but you couldn't use them via the web or Starwood reservations...you had to call Hawaii's own reservation center)
But 90% of the time there is a lower rate available not using a SPG50. Usually I end up using them on middle of week stays when rates are traditionally higher in many towns.
That is if they are not so full that a property is currently accepting them, as SPG50s are subject to Capacity Controls and there have been many times when I attempted to use one on an available rack rate, but the property was not accepting them.
[This message has been edited by PremEx (edited 02-19-2003).]
I remember a few years ago (perhaps before Starwood) when Sheraton would send me 50% off coupons that were good off a somewhat discounted corporate rate (I think it was called "SET"). Four out of five times, this coupons DID result in a better-than-otherwise-available discount.
Now, obviously, with rack rates reaching for the moon and discounting becoming more prevalent, the current 50%-of-rack "discount" is, charitably, not very useful.
I simply don't understand the value of offering your "loyal" customers a purported savings that doesn't exist. You would be better off simply eliminating it, rather than offer the disappointment of a "false promise."
I would also note that this is yet another example of Starwood training its customers to use off-price middlemen (consolidators and bidding services like priceline) to get lower rates, instead of booking directly with the hotel chain. This is counter to the trends developing in the airline and car rental industries, where middlemen are largely being cut out.
One more thing I should point out about the "value" of these 50% off certs that some may not be aware of or considered, that I posted in another thread on this subject:
Even though by using them, it may only bring your bottom-line room rate near to what you could already get on the web without using them at all...by using a 50%er, you often find yourself booked in a higher category room at this "rack rate." Thereby guaranteeing you a better class of room, or bedding, smoking, or view preference that might not have been available to you at the lowest web rate.
Say all the lowest priced rates you could find on the web (using "No Preferences" to obtain the lowest price) was for a standard city view smoking room 2 beds, when you wanted an ocean view non-smoking king.
But the 50%er got you booked into a rack rate room that was a deluxe ocean view non-smoking king, at or near the web price. You are now guaranteed not only the preferences (non-smoking king), but actually are confirmed in a higher category of room (deluxe ocean view) too!
True example booking last year at the Westin Sydney 4 nights with minimum non-smoking king acceptable:
Only availability at lowest price I could find: 3 nights @ 260AUS 1 night @ 385AUS Only smoking, and only 2 beds. Standard room.
Usually I would book it, placing my bedding and non-smoking preferences in the comments field and trust/hope a PlatCon could mooch a change or the hotel could fulfill or upgrade. But the hotel could end up full and I could be stuck with one or more things I don't want.
Then I called up and asked what the best rate I could get using SPG50. 248AUS per night for all four nights! Plus the rack rate it was off of, was a Deluxe Tower something, with all of our bedding and non-smoking preferences confirmed!
So not only did we save money, we got a better room type and preferences confirmed and guaranteed, which were not available at the lowest prices on the web, and via the web would have only been confirmable by paying a much higher rate.
Leaving us free from worry about the possibility of being stuck in 2 stinky beds instead of 1 heavenly one.