Discussion: Personal ambassador for Platinum members with 100 nights

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by SPG Champion 3, Feb 1, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. SPG Champion 3
    Original Member

    SPG Champion 3 Official Representative

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    Dear members,

    Platinum members who reach 100 nights will receive access to their own personal ambassador to help with all of their travel planning.

    This thread is created for further discussions.

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com

    Thyetus Lee | Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Customer Contact Centre (AP) Pte Ltd
     
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  2. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Is this going to be an AMEX Plat Concierge-type of service?
     
  3. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    I doubt it. Is Amex still outsourcing to Circles?
     
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  4. Jslo
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    Jslo Gold Member

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    Oh snap. I need to get to 100 nights! It would be nice to have a concierge. I think last year I was only around 70 nights :(
     
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  5. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    It's not all that exciting. I had an Ambassador last year and into this year (not sure if he's going away after tomorrow, since I didn't hit 100 nights last year). I can't actually say that I had any tangible benefits from the program, other than the ability to contact one person directly if I had any issues / questions.

    theBOAT
     
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  6. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    At 70 nights it's unlimted towels in the mens room!:eek::p
     
  7. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Has anyone had experience with the 100 night personal ambassador service? Is it the same as the previously announced ambassador service? I'm going to be at 75 nights shortly and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth pushing to 100 or not.
     
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  8. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    When I hit 75, other than the extra Starpoints, there's no benefit to me in hitting 100. I don't need an ambassador... but I'd be interested in hearing anyone's personal experiences. So far, doesn't look like anyone has anything to say / experience with the program.
     
  9. MarkNYCtex

    MarkNYCtex Silver Member

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    I currently have a Global Ambassador (after staying more than 100 nights in CY 2011). Sure, nice touch. My Ambassador is friendly/nice/etc, but it's nothing that special. When you're Platinum, you have access to Platinum Concierge, which I found was the same level of service as Global Ambassador. Starwood might say that w/ Global Ambassador, you have a dedicated person who is your single contact. With Plat Concierge, when you find someone you like, you ask "how can I make sure I work with you?"...and they make it happen. Also, the absolute best customer service I've found within Starwood/SPG is via social media.
     
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  10. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    After crossing 100 nights this week, my ambassador introduced herself today via email. Most impressive thing? Her direct contact number was included so I can add her to my address book. Not quite sure what I might ask of her - anyone have additional tips for things they've worked with Ambassadors on? I asked her for ideas as to what people ask, and what she can do that people don't know to ask for.
     
  11. VeryGoodPoints

    VeryGoodPoints Silver Member

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    I love my ambassador. She's phenomenal. I also love the service. She's done some amazing things for me so far this year and I'm looking forward to having the service again in 2013. When she's out of the office (like on vacation or something) another ambassador will answer emails sent to her and help w/any issues/requests.

    I ask her to arrange transportation to/from hotels, arrange special requests (this is especially helpful when dealing w/hotels in Asia/Australia Pacific.) She's helped me arrange early check-in (w/out needing your24) and when I've had to use your24 she's been able to get it confirmed way sooner than the T&C state. I also told her that I don't drink alcohol, so when hotels put a bottle of wine in my room it's wasted on me. She put that in my profile and almost all the hotels that typically put wine in the room seem to note it and have put something else in my room.

    I had a situation recently where I got stuck in S. Korea at the airport and my flight arriving in BKK was going to be 9 hours late. I was meeting two colleagues who had never been to Thailand (or many places internationally) and I had arranged the transportation. I tried calling the hotel direct to change the transportation so that 1 car picked them up as planned and another car picked me up 9 hours later. However, I couldn't get the call to go through to the hotel. It was like 2am in the US and I assumed no ambassador would be available so I called the regular # and got a person whose English was not the best and was very hard to understand. He assured me he understood what I wanted to do and would call & email me back w/the confirmation of the change. Five hours later and about 1 hour before my colleagues would land I sitll hadn't heard back from him. I my ambassadors direct dial # and got an option to press 3 or something and get another ambassador. That ambassador took care of making the change and in 30 minutes I had a call back and email confirmation.

    When I arrived at the W Bangkok this week, it marked 60th straight night at Starwood Hotels. She had arranged w/the hotel to have a Starbucks cool lime refresher (my favorite thing!) in the room waiting for me. I still have no idea how she knew that I loved that (I assume through twitter). But it was amazing surprise. She's also arranged special things in hotels for my birthday (came as a complete surprise.)

    Essentially, you can ask for anything and if it's in their power, they'll do it. She told me "she's my advocate." She also can make hotel reservations at non-Starwood hotels if there's not a Starwood in the area or my corp rate isn't available and I get either 250 or 500 Starpoints (can't remember which one) for using her to make the reservations. That's not something I have taken advantage of though.

    I think what benefit you see out of the program depends on which Ambassador you have. A friend of mine has a different ambassador then me and his ambassador doesn't do anything like what mine does.

    For me, I'm loving it!
     
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  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I've got to say, this program has really grown on me. I've just crossed the 50 night mark this year (on the way to 100+ again) but the level of recognition at most properties has been significantly better and, most importantly, subtle. No fanfare, balloons and confetti at the front desk, no embarrassing gushing over me by name... but a significantly higher frequency of small touches waiting in room. Things like small fruit/cheese plates, small confections, even a bottle of wine at one property. The most significant, much like what VGP mentioned above, was a snifter of Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon waiting for me with a handwritten welcome note - on a one night stay.

    The interaction with my ambassador has been helpful, too, working to coordinate some activities for us ahead of time at several leisure destinations. She's also been helpful for me in meeting planning / restaurants, but to be frank I've still kept a lot of that with Amex Platinum Concierge and just recently discussed with her moving some of that over to her - I didn't want to step on toes or cross boundaries if it didn't explicitly involve a specific SPG stay or property. She welcomed the opportunity to help (and it gives me a single point of contact).

    The service is definitely valuable enough for me to ensure I hit 100 nights again this year and clearly differentiates Starwood from Hilton, Hyatt, etc. For that matter, I've only had one night at a Hilton this year and it's because it's in a city where there is no SPG property.
     
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  13. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    Boy, have I had the opposite experience. Hotels have missed basic requests (crib in the room for our son, bed type) and my ambassador's help has been less than helpful.

    My most recent experience was her telling me that after I mistakenly canceled a reservation at a property and went to reinstate 11 hours later (which was overnight) for a sleepy 4 points in the middle of nowhere that the hotel now said they were out of connecting rooms. When I pressed her, she said she called the property and there was nothing they could do. I told her I was going to call the property myself and it took less than 5 mins for the property to take care of it.

    I'm disappointed because I was very optimistic going into it. If it doesn't improve soon I won't commit 100 nights. It's a shame because my ambassador has apologized profusely and says it will get better but if it does I likely won't have enough time left in the year to commit the required nights.
     
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  14. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I'd definitely escalate that. Not out of spite, but out of quality control. It's likely a communication issue - your ambassador not communicating with the right person at the hotel.

    My initial ambassador actually left me to take a promotion... and it took a bit of re-sync for my current ambassador and I to get on the same page but it's definitely there. I can tell a difference between them for sure, but it's everything I'd expect from a business relationship / benefit program.

    That said, they've made it VERY clear to me that the hotels must "buy in" as well, and that while most have really stepped up their game with "ambassador status" guests, the experience can still vary across properties. I'd think a well written note to the GM's of the properties involved would help, too - also aimed at the "business relationship" side of the equation, e.g. "I don't want free stuff, I don't want DYKWIA upgrades (well, okay, I do), but I would like consistency... and my last stay at your property was inconsistent with my experiences elsewhere." That approach seems to work WELL for me.
     
  15. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    That's an elite benefit I could get behind.

    Ambassador seems like a program that:
    1) is a bit luck of the draw
    and
    2) you get out of it what you put into it

    Sounds like a great service if you get the right ambassador and work to get them synced up with you, and potentially iffy otherwise.
     
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  16. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    It is. The one thing I'll say, though, it's it's an order of magnitude more personal for me than the Amex Platinum "dial-a-concierge" service. That's compelling.

    Enough that I'm actually considering the economics of a personal assistant for work (that I'd pay for out of commission checks).
     

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