SPG Ambassador worth it?

 
Old Jul 21, 2017, 9:31 am
  #46  
 
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The good side of the merger for SPG members is getting a good treatment at Marriott properties, without having earned the status.

The bad side is that staying at Marriott hotels does not count toward the status renewal - Ambassador in my case.

Not sure that I will be able to complete the 100 nights at Starwood hotels, this year. Maybe, an Amex card will help.
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Old Jul 21, 2017, 10:40 am
  #47  
 
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Last summer I had a run (2 in 6 months) of minor disputes (missed first night of 3 night non-refundable stay b/c of flight cancellations ord). Stranded, I spent both nights at SPG properties in chicago...but when I called SPG AMB to try to get an exception to the 1st night charge due to weather/cxlled flights, the SPG AMB go to move was to inform me that "sorry, but non-refundable is non-refundable....but I'll try". A few days later an email from AMB, and both times same response: "we're really sorry, but the property won't budge...non-refundable is non-refundable.".

of course, a 2 minute phone call to each property quickly saw charges removed from my account.

GS United and fly 250k+/yr (90% domestic) for over a decade. Certainly spend >150 nights/yr in hotels. I have my first ever unknown charge post this past spring at an SPG property...I stayed there, 2 nights, $700+ folio...all good. But on my AMEX i see a 2nd stand alone charge for $365. I don't have any receipt for it, I don't have any duplicate confirmations suggesting an overbooking...so I send an email to AMB service asking for some clarification for the confirm-less/receipt-less charge...their response: "it was a duplicate booking that wasn't cxlled in time, (so they) are asking property for an exception to the charge". Odd that for a duplicate booking, I have no confirm of said booking, nor recollection...but nice of them to put the onus of the charge directly on my shoulders.

I understand mistakes happen on both ends in travel, and appreciate the resolutions and treatment I've ultimately received. I even dig my AMB...but I have to say my experience has been not incredible. GS service first move is to rectify any situations...AMB first move seems to protect SPG...which is odd...i'm not a particularly confrontational client nor do I have many disputes.

I have >75nts YTD in hotels (all personal) but only 35 in SPG and my interest in hitting 100 is simply waning. AMB service certainly isn't enticing me personally.
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Old Jul 21, 2017, 3:07 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by pruss2ny
Last summer I had a run (2 in 6 months) of minor disputes (missed first night of 3 night non-refundable stay b/c of flight cancellations ord). Stranded, I spent both nights at SPG properties in chicago...but when I called SPG AMB to try to get an exception to the 1st night charge due to weather/cxlled flights, the SPG AMB go to move was to inform me that "sorry, but non-refundable is non-refundable....but I'll try". A few days later an email from AMB, and both times same response: "we're really sorry, but the property won't budge...non-refundable is non-refundable.".

of course, a 2 minute phone call to each property quickly saw charges removed from my account.

GS United and fly 250k+/yr (90% domestic) for over a decade. Certainly spend >150 nights/yr in hotels. I have my first ever unknown charge post this past spring at an SPG property...I stayed there, 2 nights, $700+ folio...all good. But on my AMEX i see a 2nd stand alone charge for $365. I don't have any receipt for it, I don't have any duplicate confirmations suggesting an overbooking...so I send an email to AMB service asking for some clarification for the confirm-less/receipt-less charge...their response: "it was a duplicate booking that wasn't cxlled in time, (so they) are asking property for an exception to the charge". Odd that for a duplicate booking, I have no confirm of said booking, nor recollection...but nice of them to put the onus of the charge directly on my shoulders.

I understand mistakes happen on both ends in travel, and appreciate the resolutions and treatment I've ultimately received. I even dig my AMB...but I have to say my experience has been not incredible. GS service first move is to rectify any situations...AMB first move seems to protect SPG...which is odd...i'm not a particularly confrontational client nor do I have many disputes.

I have >75nts YTD in hotels (all personal) but only 35 in SPG and my interest in hitting 100 is simply waning. AMB service certainly isn't enticing me personally.
+1. I get a similar response from my AMB. A lot of "hey, i'll try" but not much movement or success. Like you, I do much better calling properties on my own. Not going for Ambassador level this year, no point to it. I'm stopping at P75. Remaining nights split between Marriott/Hilton/IHG. Hope Marriott comes up with some better benefits at the 100 level. Give us a choice at least like they do at the 50 level. I'd take one free night vs Ambassador. I'd even take 10 SNAs. Points? Anything.
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Old Jul 22, 2017, 3:49 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by pruss2ny
Last summer I had a run (2 in 6 months) of minor disputes (missed first night of 3 night non-refundable stay b/c of flight cancellations ord). Stranded, I spent both nights at SPG properties in chicago...but when I called SPG AMB to try to get an exception to the 1st night charge due to weather/cxlled flights, the SPG AMB go to move was to inform me that "sorry, but non-refundable is non-refundable....but I'll try". A few days later an email from AMB, and both times same response: "we're really sorry, but the property won't budge...non-refundable is non-refundable.".

of course, a 2 minute phone call to each property quickly saw charges removed from my account.

GS United and fly 250k+/yr (90% domestic) for over a decade. Certainly spend >150 nights/yr in hotels. I have my first ever unknown charge post this past spring at an SPG property...I stayed there, 2 nights, $700+ folio...all good. But on my AMEX i see a 2nd stand alone charge for $365. I don't have any receipt for it, I don't have any duplicate confirmations suggesting an overbooking...so I send an email to AMB service asking for some clarification for the confirm-less/receipt-less charge...their response: "it was a duplicate booking that wasn't cxlled in time, (so they) are asking property for an exception to the charge". Odd that for a duplicate booking, I have no confirm of said booking, nor recollection...but nice of them to put the onus of the charge directly on my shoulders.

I understand mistakes happen on both ends in travel, and appreciate the resolutions and treatment I've ultimately received. I even dig my AMB...but I have to say my experience has been not incredible. GS service first move is to rectify any situations...AMB first move seems to protect SPG...which is odd...i'm not a particularly confrontational client nor do I have many disputes.

I have >75nts YTD in hotels (all personal) but only 35 in SPG and my interest in hitting 100 is simply waning. AMB service certainly isn't enticing me personally.
Had a similar issue with a cancelled flight leading to missing checkin on a refundable hotel booking, but after checkin time. Asked AMB to take care of it; they said the hotel wouldn't budge and would charge me one night. Never saw the charge hit my credit card though.
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Old Jul 22, 2017, 5:25 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by helvetic
Had a similar issue with a cancelled flight leading to missing checkin on a refundable hotel booking, but after checkin time. Asked AMB to take care of it; they said the hotel wouldn't budge and would charge me one night. Never saw the charge hit my credit card though.
I have the opposite experience just yesterday. My flight was cancelled and placed on standby on a much later flight. At gate upon boarding, was told numerous times that my standby didnt clear so i decided to make a last minute booking.

Lo and behold, i ended up being the last passenger to board. Upon arriving at final destination, called the ambassador line and asked them if they could help me out (my first time requesting cancellation without penalty after cut off time in 9 years of being Plat), told them my story and then told no problem. No questions asked.

Been on ambassador level for several years now and very happy with the service so far.
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Old Aug 24, 2017, 10:07 am
  #51  
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Upgrade to Nines Suite at Nines Hotel...due to Ambassador status

Now that my stay is come and gone, I can share that I was upgraded on a paid stay ($559) in a one bedroom suite at the Nines in Portland to their top Nines Suite (rack rate around $4500) this past solar eclipse weekend. Please note that the hotel was sold out. The Nines Suite is the hotel's top accommodation.

Please see my review at:

http://www.flyertalk.com/hotel-revie...-beverage-2123

I was able to arrange this upgrade through my Ambassador and hotel management many months in advance of our stay--even with them knowing the hotel would be sold out due to the eclipse--because of my elite Ambassador status.

Say what you want, but my Ambassador status allowed me a massive upgrade to a truly spectacular suite that otherwise would never be available to me or most customers.

Ambassador status is totally worth it if you stay at upscale and luxury level hotels and/or enjoy suite upgrades and VIP treatment at almost any SPG hotel.
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Old Aug 24, 2017, 10:51 am
  #52  
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Out of curiosity, how did you go about doing this? Do you mean that you paid for the upgrade at a discount, or you asked for an advance upgrade for free?
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Old Aug 24, 2017, 10:59 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete
Out of curiosity, how did you go about doing this? Do you mean that you paid for the upgrade at a discount, or you asked for an advance upgrade for free?
I originally booked for the one bedroom suite ($559 rate). I then asked my Ambassador to see if the hotel might comp me an upgrade to one of their speciality suites. Originally, the hotel responded by agreeing to upgrade me to their Hospitality Suite. Then I asked about the Frank & Meier Suite, and after a week or so the hotel agreed--provided I didn't use late checkout, to which I was happy to oblige. A few days before our stay I checked again, and my Ambassador informed me that because the F&M suite resident had extended their stay, I had been upgraded further to the Nines Suite.

I asked. The hotel obliged. I asked again. The hotel obliged. Then I got a little lucky. I'm sure being on a paid suite stay helped. I know my Ambassador and my Ambassador status helped.

Please note that I didn't leave it to my Ambassador to "do it all" as others herein might do. I worked together with my Ambassador. I trusted my Ambassador, but I also followed up with her and with the hotel.
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Old Aug 24, 2017, 10:55 pm
  #54  
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I've come around quite a bit on the whole ambassador thing… at first I didn't quite see the effect; but over time I've come to appreciate the touch that my Ambassador has had on some tricky situations, or simply how it's been easy to ask him for help when dealing with something myself would have been quite annoying.

Quite amazing to hear that you were able to snag the very top suite in the hotel on eclipse day @bhrubin!
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Old Aug 28, 2017, 2:26 am
  #55  
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This year I had a stay in conjunction my b-day... nothing.
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Old Aug 28, 2017, 3:44 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by itsaboutthejourney
This year I had a stay in conjunction my b-day... nothing.
And this is the problem with the program. @bhrubin reports receiving unbelievable perks from his ambassador while others report receiving nothing at all. What sort of benefit is it if some get amazing use and others get bupkus? I'd much rather have a fixed benefit - something I know I will get, rather than gamble. Some win some lose with the program as the way it is currently configured. People achieving 100 nights should not have a chance to "lose" imo.
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Old Aug 28, 2017, 2:41 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry
People achieving 100 nights should not have a chance to "lose" imo.
Agree -- the inconsistency is what really devalues the program.

What I appreciate about the Ambassador program the most is having a single point of contact of anything and everything to do with SPG. I appreciate and do value the personal relationship with my Ambassador and do feel that her intentions are 10/10.

As I've said often, how properties implement Ambassador requests is the major inconsistency -- some properties knock it out of the park. Other properties could care less. A subset of properties appear to resent requests from the Ambassador program altogether.

I hit 100 nights a couple of months ago so have my Ambassador for the coming qualifying year. Ultimately, having the single point of contact has made it worthwhile for me. As for the extras, upgrades and perks? Those seem to depend entirely on how a property decides to recognize an Ambassador guest.
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Old Aug 28, 2017, 9:49 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by UASPG
The good side of the merger for SPG members is getting a good treatment at Marriott properties, without having earned the status.

The bad side is that staying at Marriott hotels does not count toward the status renewal - Ambassador in my case.

Not sure that I will be able to complete the 100 nights at Starwood hotels, this year. Maybe, an Amex card will help.
I reached 75 and think about 100 or put these 25 to Hyatt to get suite upgrade cert or 10k points every 10 nights.
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Old Aug 29, 2017, 11:35 am
  #59  
 
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I was once at AMB level and it was so so. Most hotel didn't seem to recognize or know about ambassador level at that time(it was long time ago). But now most upscale hotel knows about amb level and put some priority regarding suite upgrade than other plat members. I think that's enough for me. So I pursue AMB level this year again.
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Old Aug 29, 2017, 5:32 pm
  #60  
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Originally Posted by scienm
But now most upscale hotel knows about amb level and put some priority regarding suite upgrade than other plat members.
It must be said that I've seen no sign of this as yet...
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