Great Service Report

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by joediver, Mar 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    Yesterday I called the PSG Gold line to ask a few questions and book a property in Austria for an upcoming vacation. While on the phone with the csr I mentioned that I had just converted some points to miles last month to upgrade our flights to first class. Without any prompting he brought up that I was only a few thousand points short of being able to book this hotel at a significant savings using points and dollars and that he would give me the additional points needed. As the property in Salzburg is very popular he even offered to "hold" the reservation until the points posted to my account next week.

    I know Starwood Lurker mentioned he was going on vacation for awhile, but if any other Starwood "lurkers" are out there.....kudos to Maurice! Great service and a pleasure to deal with.
     
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  2. DeltaExpert
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    DeltaExpert Gold Member

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    Glad they were able to help! Which hotel were you booking?
     
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  3. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    Hotel Goldener Hirsch
     
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  4. MSPeconomist
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    I think you'll enjoy it. It's very pleasant and in a good location with good service. To me, what's even better is that it feels very Austrian.
     
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  5. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    Thanks....I'm really looking forward to that portion of our trip more than Vienna
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
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    I love Salzberg in the late spring/early summer. The snow on the mountains combined with flowers blooming in town makes it more beautiful than any postcard. The train ride Munich-Salzberg-Vienna is also stunning, especially at this time of year.
     
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  7. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    We plan on driving. I love the option to stop where and when I choose. We plan on taking many side trips along the way.
     
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  8. MSPeconomist
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    Better yet, especially since you should be over whatever jet lag by then. Are you doing Salzberg-Vienna in a single day or taking more time? And have you driven in Germany-Austria previously and do you know some German?
     
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  9. doc
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    doc Silver Member

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    Great choice..such a fine Hotel
    Great city too.. my wife finds it a close 2nd to Paris.. Enjoy! :)
     
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  10. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    1. We do plan on doing Salzburg-Vienna in a day but we will make a side trip or two from Vienna to the surrounding area.
    2. Never driven Germany-Austria before :eek:
    3. Very little German language skills.
     
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  11. MSPeconomist
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    I suggest becoming familiar with the standard European road signs in advance. It helps (even if it might not be required) to have an international driver's license, obtainable from AAA for about $10 and a photo. You shoudl be aware that the European custom is to have signposts for the next major city or intersection rather than route number and direction. Also, be aware and expect signs for center (zentrum in German) of the city and other directions. If there's no sign, the custom is that this means to continue straight ahead.
     
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  12. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    Since I always drive privatelly owned (leased) car via Austria, I do not know if your rented car will have toll sticker. I suggest to check that with the company, the sticker is compulsory on all highways in Austria.
    This might also help you if you have never driven in Austria:
    I also believe that Austria insists on having International Driving Permit unless having one of the EU and few selected countries one...
     
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  13. MSPeconomist
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    Good point, and for the record, the same applies to Switzerland, where you can purchase the annual sticker at the border for more than one would like to pay for a short rental.
     
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  14. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    Yes, Switzerland sucks. For example, Austria and Czech Republic offer stickers with validity from several days up to year, but in Switzerland, one has to buy annual sticker even if just driving through. Unfortunately, it is not worth risking going without it since the fine is higher than the cost of the sticker.

    Just to clarify one thing about Austria - there are some places, where one has to have the sticker plus pay another local toll...

    Finally, OP seems to be coming from USA and I would expect that OP is used to driving automatic. Most of the cars in Austria (and in fact in Europe) are still manuals and one has to pay premium for automatic transmission and usually only higher level rental cars are available with automatic transmission.
     
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  15. MSPeconomist
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    Good point, and I would not suggest struggling with a stick shift on mountain roads or for city/village driving while trying to navigate in a foreign language if one is used to driving an automatic.
     
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  16. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    ime, SPG has fantastic customer service. I'm glad they're credit card partner is AMEX and the customer service is similar. Just the other day, I called AMEX about a promotion I had never received points for and after a good 30 minutes of looking, they said they couldn't find the promotion, but had a small note of it when I called a few weeks back so they just credited the points to my account for inconvenience...great service!
     
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  17. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    Thanks for all the extra pointers. I've always loved driving stick shift and I already have my International Driving Permit. It's a shame how many companies charge triple the cost of what you can get it for at AAA.
     
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  18. joediver
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    Completely agree! I had the same issue with an AMEX promo a few months ago regarding an additional 5k MR points and they apologized that they could not find the promo and gave me the 5k anyway. I've always had great service from Amex, Starwood, Marriott and Hyatt.
     
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  19. 2soonold
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    Yeah, I want Maurice.;)
     
  20. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    You should be fine- and there are many areas of beautiful driving.

    Salzburg/Vienna is ~4 hours plus what stops you decide to make.

    IF you have a choice when you pickup your rental car- get a diesel- it will save you a lot on fuel costs.

    As others have noted- be sure to get the vignette (a little sticker) which allows you to drive on the autobahn- without it you will get a large fine and a hassle. If you are picking up your rental car from a major car hire company in Austria it will already have the sticker- if not check and recheck to make sure it is valid.

    Be sure not to speed- Austria is absolutely full of speed cameras and traffic stops- be sure to obey the limits even if it seems everyone else is not.

    Follow other suggestions of obtaining and IDP (International Drivers Permit).
     
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  21. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    joediver,

    If you are into history, stop at Stift Melk on your way between Vienna and Salzburg is a must! If you plan to spend more time in Salzubrg area, the SalzburgerLand Card is fantastic value - part of it is Salzburg Card, so do not buy both of them or buy whichever suits you better. But the SalzburgerLand is IMHO much better value.

    Mrs and I have spent week in the area in 2008. We stayed in smalish traditional hotel just outside of Salzburg (much better value for money, traditional food etc) and did not take car into Salzburg (difficult and expensive parking). With the hotel card, public transport between hotel and Salzburg was 50c each way.

    If you need some tips, send me PM or whatever it is called here.
     

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