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Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Tower - New Platinum Upgrade Policy

Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Tower - New Platinum Upgrade Policy

 
Old Mar 31, 06, 3:20 pm
  #1  
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Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Tower - New Platinum Upgrade Policy

I just checked in at the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers and they refused to follow the standard procedures for a Platinum SPG guest. I spoke to the manager on duty for the club check-in desk in the Tower part of the hotel. She said they are part of a pilot program of 5 European hotels evaluating a new program before possibly rolling it out. She said the hotels were this one, one in Warsaw, another in Rome (only one of the four there, but I don't know which) and two others that she couldn't remember.

The new plan here is that they only upgrade you one level of room - Classic to Club, Club to Tower, Tower to Suite, etc. You are no longer offered the best available room at time of check-in as described at the SPG site under member benefits. I even showed her the part of SPG.com that describes the Platinum benefits but she stuck to having to follow the new policy in place for the last several months until the pilot test ends. She was pleasant enough and at the end of our conversation did offer to upgrade me to a suite, but I was already settled in and it is only for one night. The suites are in the other tower anyhow and much further away from the nice lounge they have here. She did take off the 18 Euro charge for internet access.

The manager said this is being driven out of the Starwood Brussels headquarters. The thinking behind this is to somehow make more rooms available for upgrades since there are only a limited number of rooms. She could not give me an explanation how this would be beneficial to me.

The only thing I could see (purely my opinion, she didn't say this) is that perhaps this might make upgrades available to someone with a reservation for a higher level room that comes in late after someone with a lower level room checks in and gets upgraded. However, I'd be more understanding if all rooms had been taken when I check in than if there is a room available but they refuse to give it to me. I understand upgrades are based on availability so if there is no room available then I'm OK with it. However, I have spent a lot of money with Starwood and the Platinum benefits were part of the reason so I don't appreciate certain properties making up their own rules.

I hope this pilot program tells them this is not a good idea and is not a harbinger of things to come at all the Starwood properties.

William: Do you know anything about this?

Last edited by emuyshondt; Mar 31, 06 at 4:42 pm
emuyshondt is offline  
Old Mar 31, 06, 3:51 pm
  #2  
 
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Usually 'pilots' are floated as test cases to see what the consumer reaction to a new product or service would be. Hard to imagine that there was actually someone in a position of decision that could not figure out beforehand what consumer reaction to such a switch in policy would look like.
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Old Mar 31, 06, 4:17 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by emuyshondt
...William: Do you know anything about this?
No. I am the last one to know anything usually. Why should this be any different.

I'm checking, however.

Sincerely,


William R. Sanders
Customer Service Coordinator
Starwood Preferred Services

[email protected]
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Old Mar 31, 06, 4:23 pm
  #4  
 
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I know that as a customer I give this pilot project a thumbs down, but I can hear a loud cheer from managers at a number of properties around the world that I've visited in the past who have tried to go that way. Now they will have validation and I will look elsewhere for a hotel loyalty program.
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Old Mar 31, 06, 4:44 pm
  #5  
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I'm unclear whether this program is being evaluated for European and other non-US locations or for Starwood in general, even in the US.
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Old Mar 31, 06, 4:59 pm
  #6  
 
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I spend about 100 nights per year in hotels. 71 or 72 of the nights in 2005 were in Starwood properties.

What Starwood needs to realize is the amenities while you're on the road is what makes traveling bearable. Points are great and appreciated, but people like myself earn more points than we know what to do with.

Considering outstanding points owed from promos and such that haven't cleared yet, I've got somwhere in the mid eight hundred thousands of points. I've got more points than I can shake a stick at... and I can shake a stick at a lot of points! ;-)

SVO owner or not, if the platinum amenity gets changed to a single level upgrade, I'm gone. I go out of my way to stay in Starwoods. There are too few of them. Staying in Hiltons would be A LOT easier/convenient for me. In fact, since there a so many more Hiltons, I'd be able to put a higher percentage of my nights into their program, easily making up for any benefits Starwood has to offer.

I'm more than a little put off that any Starwood manager would even think of such a thing. Loyalty goes both ways. If they show me none, they get none.
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Old Mar 31, 06, 6:23 pm
  #7  
 
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If they are indeed looking at what platinum response would be I hope William would forward them this thread. If this becomes the norm for platinum members I would also choose to stay elsewhere. Why I dont stay on the road 100+ days a year I am a platinum member by all leisure stays. I had 27 stays last year and almost all of them are at Cat. 4 or higher hotels. There is a reason I choose to stay at Starwood hotels and hoping to get lucky enough to be upgrading to a suite is one of them, although its yet to happen it keeps me coming back.
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Old Apr 1, 06, 12:20 am
  #8  
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what a timely thread..

I, too, checked into the Sheraton Frankfurt airport two days and got the same response "we only upgrade to the next available room type" rather than the best available room. I booked a classic room and was given a club room.

I did complain at the lounge, where I checked in, and after a bit of back and forth conversation, she did upgrade me to a suite on the "other side" of the hotel...

All Platinum, please make sure that your views are known when you check-in.. The folks at Sheraton Frankfurt airport were great in accomodating (i.e. bypassing this next available room type, when you do protest....
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Old Apr 1, 06, 12:26 am
  #9  
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Forgot to add:

I checked into the Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel (Luxury Collection) yesterday night and it appears that the policy of "upgrade to next category room" was enforced as well... so it may not be limited to the sheraton Frankfurt Airport.

I booked a deluxe room at this hotel, and was told I was upgrade to the Grand Deluxe room (next category type).. I asked if that is the best available room - and after a bit of key punching, the check in agent said that the junior suite is also if I was interested...

So, moral of the story, be persistent and ensure that you are getting the "best Available" room.
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Old Apr 1, 06, 1:07 am
  #10  
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Althought the lady that checked me in was friendly, she had to call the manager before they even considred offering me the suite. This was even after showing her the SPG web site with the Platinum member benefits. It looked like her hands were tied and it was she that offered to have the manager come up. The manager was also apologetic but tried for a while to just enforce the edicts from Brussels before finally offering a further upgrade. It didn't actually matter much for this trip, but I do care if there is a general policy change being considered. It would detract the majority of the value of that the SPG Platinum program has for me. Little gifts and even the Concierge service are nice, but not something that would make me go out of my way to stay at Starwood over another brand.

I wonder how many Platinums there are that they need to do this. Are there so many that it actually prevents paying guests from using these rooms? I think most would likely not pay for the higher level rooms if they had to. At this hotel there is no difference between Classic, Club Level and Tower rooms. Sure Club adds lounge access and Tower get free internet and some sort of butler service on top of that, but the physical room layout is the same. You could give lounge and free internet to Platinums no matter how full the hotel was. All the hotel needs to do is check SPG status. They already have to check what room you're in to let you into the lounge anyhow so why even worry about what floor the room is in? Sure there's only be a few lucky ones to get a suite, but that is OK with me since I do understand availability.
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Old Apr 1, 06, 1:44 am
  #11  
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This looks like another reason for me to leave Starwood this year. It seems unfair for SPG to change the rules mid-year without the customary notice. Trial or not, they never told us that the rules had changed.

They would have liked us all to think that there was no rule change and that the one category upgrade was the best that they could do on that night. How unfair to their best guests is that?

It will be interesting to see what William has to say.
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Old Apr 1, 06, 2:40 am
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I spoke to someone else today and although this is still considered a "project" it has been going on for perhaps a year. They seem to get 25 or 30 Platinums a day so I don't think that is such a large number given their 750 rooms or so. This shouldn't be a big burden, particularly if the rooms are going to be left empty. I mostly care about the lounge and the freee internet which could easily just be taken off the bill for Platinums without any system changes. If I were traveling on vacation and staying longer I'd also like to at least have the chance to get a suite, but I wouldn't likely stay at the airport for any extended period of time so that is secondary to me.

What is more troublesome is if they decide to expand this program beyond the current set of hotels. The ability to stay at higher grade hotels in Europe and getting nice upgrades is a great motivator for me. A change would really cause me to re-evaluate my current desire to look for a Starwood property even if it is not the best situated one for my needs. I will likely end up with Marriott since for my current travel they have locations closer to where I need to be during the day.

Gotta go catch my plane now!
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Old Apr 1, 06, 4:14 am
  #13  
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I am not sure why some of you are saying you leaving the SPG program:
1. You are still getting upgrades
2. If you have lounge access- what else do you need- if you are spending +70 nights per year in a hotel you probably (like most business travellers) could care less if you have a suite or not- and if you need one your company will pay for it so it is a wash
3. If SPG is going for consistency this is a good start- and as they drive out variation this should work well
I am ready for the flames- but truly and seriously- what is the problem here? FRA Airport Shearton- and you want a suite- what for your honeymoon?
Give me a break....
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Old Apr 1, 06, 4:18 am
  #14  
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I've stayed there twice in the last few months and I haven't seen this. I was upgraded to a nice Towers room each time with full benefits.
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Old Apr 1, 06, 6:39 am
  #15  
 
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I think this is a bad policy, but it's already existed for years at 2 properties I know of: Sheraton Hong Kong and Sheraton Park Tower in London. Neither of these hotels will upgrade a Plat to the Towers section (in HK) or the Butler floor (Park Tower). I know there's been availability in both, but I have consistently been refused this upgrade.

William, looking forward to reading your response in this, and whether the 2 hotels above are allowed this refusal as well.
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