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Please Report Your Problems Receiving Gold Member Benefits

Please Report Your Problems Receiving Gold Member Benefits

Old Mar 11, 03, 2:27 pm
Company Representative - Starwood
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Austin, Texas
Programs: Marriott Employee Level
Posts: 31,593
Please Report Your Problems Receiving Gold Member Benefits

We’ve heard your feedback from various postings here on Flyertalk regarding this issue and would like to do a brief survey. If you can remember specific properties where you have had problems of this kind in the past year, please let us know.

Senior management will be reviewing this information in an attempt to sort out the worst and repeat offenders for additional property level training. Specifically, we are interested in any violations of compliance as outlined and defined in the Terms and Conditions of Membership for this elite level. If you think that a specific property is denying your just benefits as a Gold elite member in the program, please describe the situation briefly, but in detail; however, we urge you to continue using the customer service channel of your choice to report any specific incidents.


William R. Sanders
Customer Service Coordinator
Starwood Preferred Services

[email protected]

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Starwood Lurker is offline  
Old Mar 11, 03, 3:33 pm
Original Member
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Programs: SPG/Marriott Lifetime Gold, Amtrak Guest Rewards, United Silver
Posts: 532
Thanks for conducting the survey, William.

According to the SPG website, Gold members are entitled to "More Starpoints", "Automatic Room Upgrades", "Faster Airline Awards", and "Little Extras". I use my points for hotel stays, so the airline awards don't matter, and I do get the "more starpoints", so no complaints there. The little extras haven't been a problem, though only once have I been actually asked if I would like to check out at 4pm when I was checking in (early January at Sheraton Seattle, mentioned below). I haven't had to "argue" for the 4pm otherwise (though I didn't get satisfaction at Westin Horton Plaza in San Diego in early August when I was "Preferred Plus").

A problem with this for Gold members is that I can never tell if I'm *given* a "Preferred Room".

But anyway, since last fall (after I became SPG Gold):

middle October one Friday night at Sheraton Crescent Phoenix: booked Club Room, was told "you already have a Club Room", got a Club Room.

January 2-4 on a points stay at Westin Cancun: booked lagoon-view regular room, was offered either ocean-view regular or lagoon-view suite (took ocean-view regular).

January 7-9 at Sheraton Seattle: booked regular room, asked at desk about an upgrade, was told none available, got a non-smoking double (my profile is non-smoking king).

January 22-26 at Sheraton Seattle: booked regular room, asked at desk about an upgrade, was told none available, got a smoking king, complained, and got a non-smoking double. I invoked the Service Promise on that (for twice not getting what was in my profile).

early Feb. at Sheraton Crystal City: booked regular room, asked at desk about an upgrade, was told none available "but you are on the SPG Floor", got non-smoking king.

middle Feb. at Sheraton Suites Atlanta: booked regular room, asked at desk about an upgrade, was told none available "but you are on the SPG Floor", got non-smoking king (but it at least was a suite )

middle Feb. at W Atlanta: booked regular room, got a nice suite.

I suppose I equate "upgrade" to mean "suite", but I don't think I'll ever know for sure if the hotel desk is telling me the truth. I note that the booking at the Westin Cancun was listed as lagoon view, and because I value an ocean view more than a lagoon view I took that to be an upgrade. I still don't know know what a "Preferred Room" is, but I don't think that it simply means that I'm put on an SPG Floor. Who is doing the "Preferring"? Some may prefer a high floor, some may prefer a low floor.

[This message has been edited by DivMiler (edited 03-11-2003).]
DivMiler is offline  
Old Mar 11, 03, 5:02 pm
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: YVR
Posts: 9,999
I agree with the "how can you tell" comment. I'm never certain I've really received what the members guide says I should have. But I'm not so inclined to try to determine if the hotel actually had a better room available. Given that most of the time I receive most satisfactory rooms and service, it's not a big deal.

Sometimes I'm told up front, "sorry we're quite full so we can't offer you an upgrade." Recently I've been told "the only nicer rooms available are smoking", and then offered a chance to check the room out before deciding. I'm quite happy with both these situations.

But sometimes I get an upgraded room which doesn't appear to be anything special. Unless I've stayed in a better room at the same property, I don't know if this really is the "best room available", or just a "better room" than average, or if I'm just being pawned off on a specially designated but otherwise unremarkable room.

No complaint here, just an observation that sometimes it's hard to tell if you actually got the real benefit, or a stripped-down version.
Ken hAAmer is offline  
Old Mar 11, 03, 5:48 pm
Community Director
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Anywhere warm
Posts: 29,887
I stayed at the Sydney Westin last month. I had booked the first night on the web, and the following nights using a Diamond Club coupon. Both reservations were on the club floor. On arrival, I was told that the two reservations could not be married because we had booked a higher category of room for the first night than the subsequent ones. (Note: utterly nothing in our reservations indicated a difference in club floor rooms.) I was told we would have to move after the first night. I asked if we could be left in the better room, since we are Gold and that entitled us to an upgrade. I was told that the property only upgrades Diamond; that Gold are not entitled to upgrades.

In the end, the Concierge on the floor was marvelous and worked it all out for us - but not because we were gold, but because he was a decent guy.

SanDiego1K is offline  
Old Mar 11, 03, 6:00 pm
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: DCA
Programs: AMC MovieWatcher, Giant BonusCard, Petco PALS Card, Silver Diner Blue Plate Club
Posts: 22,222
Since the question really focuses on what extra training might be able accomplish, one thing worth noting from my stay at the Westin Regina Puerta Vallarta (12/6-12/8) --

When I checked in I told the desk that I'd be staying until 2pm on my checkout date. I was told checkout was noon. When I pointed out that late checkout was a standard benefit, I was told that they'd check on that and the manager would get back to me. I never heard anything.

Checkout day comes and I realized I never heard back from the hotel, so I called the desk. I was told a manager would call back but none did, so I went to the front desk. After three people and 30 minutes, the manager finally emerged. He said of course I could have a late checkout. But no one else on staff seemed to know this. And it took a whole lot of time to get everyone to realize it.

So the PVR Westin Regina staff could use a bit of education on this basic benefit.

It wasn't denied to me, but there was basic ignorance about it, at least in my case.

[This message has been edited by gleff (edited 03-11-2003).]
gleff is offline  
Old Mar 11, 03, 6:51 pm
In memoriam
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seattle WA
Programs: Kimpton IC, Hyatt Diamond, Gold Marriott, Lifetime Platinum Starwood
Posts: 8,664
Sheraton PHL - no upgrade, no extra amenities, no club floor, no recognition. The people at the front desk were nice though.

Sheraton BDL - checked in - told (at check in), 'you're in a smoking room (although I asked and reserved non-smoking), we're having a lot of construction, no SPG floor available, no upgrade. Would you like to hear about the Sheraton Promise?"
ldsant is offline  
Old Mar 11, 03, 10:43 pm
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Once Seattle...then DC....now CDG.
Posts: 4,057
I stayed at the Sheraton Moorea in June of 2002 (16-22nd). Due to the way flights work in and out of Tahiti (to intl destinations), most flights leave/arrive at midnight to 4AM. We wanted to utilize the resort as much as possible that last day. However, calling the front desk the evening before asking for late checkout the next day, we were told that "late checkout is not offered here, however, you can call in the morning and ask the manager if you can stay in your room longer". So, disappointed because we weren't able to take care of it before morning, meaning we had to wake up at a reasonable hour to ensure a longer stay. We only managed to get them to agree to staying two hours later, which I believe was from 10AM till Noon. Either way, I clearly remember hanging out near the pool with all of our stuff nearby for the rest of the day. Kinda disappointing, because it would have been nice to hang out in the bungalow and swim from the deck.

I understand the need to clean rooms, however, for the same reason we were leaving late - everyone else is arriving late. Most carriers don't operate daily flights intl into and out of PPT (the main airport), so that day nobody was actually coming in. Anyways, not a big deal in light of the great time we had there, but more of a minor annoyance that would have really made for a simpler last day.
mymiles2go is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 5:14 am
Moderator, SkyTeam and Germany
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: FRA/STR/NUE
Programs: BA, LH, KL, QR, EY, IHG, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Radisson
Posts: 5,893
Actually I have the same bad feeling about possible upgrades as you never know what the particular hotel understands as an upgrade.

I wish there could be a more specific rule for that.

A nice idea: I just returned from a stay at the Sheraton Suites Plantation Ft. Lauderdale and they stamped something like "SPG upgraded" onto the folder with the room-keys. That gives you the feeling that they appreciate your business and did something special for you.

Actually I try to keep at last SPG Gold as I see it as kind of an insurance that at least I won't get the worst available room. Really! I hated the times when I booked rooms via travelagents and the tourist-hotel knows I'm a one-time visitor so I get the small and old basement room facing the park-deck.
ralfkrippner is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 7:41 am
Senior Moderator, Moderator: Coronavirus, United MileagePlus, Carbon Conscious Travel, FlyerTalk Cares
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1.7 MM/Plat; AS MVP 75K; AA gold; Fairmont & Starwood platinum; Hyatt diamond; Kimpton IC Elite
Posts: 17,403
One more comment regarding not knowing if you're getting what you're entitled to ... I'm almost certain it was the Sheraton Auckland where we were told we were put on one of the SPG special floors. We get into the elevator and every single floor is labeled Starwood Preferred Guest floor. We were amused.

[This message has been edited by letiole (edited 03-12-2003).]
l etoile is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 8:02 am
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: SoCal to the rest of the world...
Programs: AA EXP with lots of BA and CX. (Disgruntled UA Lifetime Plat) - No hotel loyalty anymore
Posts: 6,358
Santa Clara Westin; MANY stays; no benefit with SPG Gold (no upgrade)

Also this one is back to the SGP program in general , I have YET to recieve SPG gold credentials for 2003 (I'm gold according to the web)... Is this late going out?
NickP 1K is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 8:22 am
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: GSO or CLT
Programs: DL DM, SPG Plat, MR Gold, HH Gold
Posts: 67
Sheraton Columbia,SC - Don't have the specific dates; but 2 seperate instances in late January, and late February. Received an upgrade once, had service issues both stays. On the last stay, I invoked the service promise due to room service issues. (I had ordered from room service 3 times over two days, and all 3 times there were serious problems with the order, delivery times, etc. Was promised 500 bonus starpoints by the front desk; HAVE NOT SEEN THEM!
SO MUCH FOR THE SERVICE PROMISE. They "promised" me 500 points for my trouble, then they force me to call up the hotel and "harass" them for what was promised to me. I will NOT stay at this hotel again.
GSO4PHILIPS is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 8:58 am
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Alexandria, VA
Programs: SPG Pref+, Hilton Silver, Hyatt Plat, BA Blue, AA Riff-Raff, UA Unwashed, Travel Anonymous Platinum
Posts: 1,469
Like others, I haven't been quite sure if I got a upgrade or not, although I think at least a couple of times at LAX Gateway, I think I did get some kind of upgrade....but who knows?

Also I stayed recently at IAH Sheraton and booked a Club room, but wasn't "upgraded" to a suite. However to be fair, there was apparently a convention going on, but I didn't see *that* many people which would fill up the whole hotel. Oh well, at least the rooms I've gotten are pretty nice. What I really care is a high floor room facing airport (if I'm staying at an airport hotel).

I'll be staying at LAX 4 Points next week and then Westin on an award stay. I also will be staying at FRA Sheraton and one of the Sheraton in Munich next week, both on award stays. Should be interesting to see if they treat Gold members to upgrades on award stays (although I suspect not....).
UA_Eagle is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 9:00 am
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Programs: AC SEMM, Bonvoy Ambassador Elite and LTE, Accor Plat, National Emerald Club Exec Elite
Posts: 897
As I have reported before, the Westin Whistler has always denied me a 4pm checkout. I am well aware that resort properties don't have to offer it if they are full, but I have been specifically told that they never offer it to gold members.
ac/elite is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 9:13 am
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: FLL
Programs: Marriott Plt, Hilton Gold, AA Plt, Hyatt Plt
Posts: 160
william, i just want a renewed gold card sent in the mail to me without having to write 3 emails and and multiple phone calls with still no resolution. i emailed you my 'problem' on monday, if you could pull it out and look at it you would see my frustration. it came from '[email protected]'

signed tony-a fellow austinite.
zaccaggie is offline  
Old Mar 12, 03, 9:34 am
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: LH SEN, SPG Gold(SCI Gold), Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Gold
Posts: 5,406
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by letiole:
One more comment regarding not knowing if you're getting what you're entitled to ... I'm almost certain it was the Sheraton Auckland where we were told we were put on one of the SPG special floors. We get into the elevator and every single floor is labeled Starwood Preferred Guest floor. We were amused.

[This message has been edited by letiole (edited 03-12-2003).]
In Auckland the higher floors (starting floor 7 AFAIK) are renovated and called something lik executive room. In AKL (as Gold) they even refused to upgrade us with points, only after calling the manager it worked.
peter42 is offline  

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