Hotel points/status when booking through discount sites?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by NEL, Apr 3, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. NEL

    NEL Active Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I've got the Amex Plat card and it comes with Starwood Gold status. But when you have status with a hotel club, do you still get the points/benefits when you book a room through a discount site such as Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, or Hotwire? Or do you have to have everything go through the hotel's site directly?

    Thanks!
     
  2. aviators99
    Original Member

    aviators99 Silver Member

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    For SPG, you will not be eligible to receive any benefits unless you book on the SPG site. Some hotels might give you benefits, but they aren't supposed to. You won't get stay credit nor points. You can potentially get points if you book the RACK, COR, SET, or BAR rates.

    Be sure to check out the SPG forum here:
    http://milepoint.com/forums/forums/starwood-preferred-guest.158/
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    You can also get benefits on certain group block rates, although in general not if you don't pay the hotel directly . You need to read the fine print carefully. Unfortunately it can get very complicated.

    However, if you book through a deeply discounted or opaque site, you should assume that "run of house" really means "worst room in house." The hotel has no incentive to give a good room to people who have revealed that they reserve the cheapest room regardless of property or affiliation. This sounds harsh, but is in the hotel's best interest.
     
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  4. aviators99
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    aviators99 Silver Member

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    Right, but the main reason for not giving you amenities is that the booking site takes a HUGE commission.

    For SPG, it doesn't really ever make sense to book through one of these sites, as they have a "best rate guarantee" if you book directly.
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Exactly, although it can be difficult and complicated to make a best rate guarantee claim as the room type and perks must match exactly.
     
  6. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    I usually check with some discount sites, but book with the actual hotel sites. Booking directly gives you all the due credit for your stay, plus you have more leverage if there are issues or if your expectations are not met...for example if you have a problem with the hotel, it might be easier to get your complaint resolved or get a refund if booked through that hotel chain's booking engine.
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Sometimes if you see a deal you like on another site, you can succeed in getting it by calling the hotel
     
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  8. NEL

    NEL Active Member

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    I've done this a couple times luckily, this works especially well with the W chain especially in my experience.

    But I don't do hotels enough to really have a preference of chain, so I usually go with the blind bid/opaque sites, and I kinda expect them to look down upon that.
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Indeed, if you use the opaque sites, you can't expect the perks even though you might occasionally get lucky .
     
  10. MarshKing

    MarshKing Silver Member

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    This is definitely true if you are using opaque sites such as Priceline and Hotwire. However, the OP would receive points and stay credit if they booked a Fine Hotels & Resorts rate through AmEx. (Either over the phone or on their website -- www.americanexpress.com/fhr)

    The general rule of thumb is that if you book through a travel vendor that requires you to pay them directly (and they then turn around and pay Starwood), then you will most likely not receive points/stay credit.

    If you book through SPG.com, then you are practically guaranteed that you'll receive the points/credits.

    The only time that I don't use SPG is when a property offers special perks through FHR (or Signature, Ensemble, Virtuoso, etc.). In those cases, the special rates cannot be booked on SPG.com. Nonetheless, I have always received stay/points credit when I've booked those rates through an outside agency.
     
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  11. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    This isn't exactly correct. For SPG, the rule isn't that you must book through spg.com, but that you must book through SPG. Specifically, calling a Plat concierge or booking through a brand website (for instance, using certain promotional codes can take you to a Sheraton site and cannot apparently be accessed directly at spg.com) is no problem for SPG benefits.

    If you book through certain alternatives you can get some SPG benefits, but not all. For example, I tend to book through an AmEx PTS agent for FHR rates. However, certain benefits are restricted. You cannot get more than two breakfasts, even though each program might entitle you to two, although YMMV. Similarly, if SPG upgrades you to a select standard suite, you normally cannot get yet another one-category upgrade to a specialty suite that's available, although the hotel might give it to you if they're fully booked and need to use every room.

    At times (when I think it's going to matter) I've had my agent call to clarify how both sets of benefits coordinate and then document the answer in my record and write out the details on my written confirmation to avoid problems. At certain properties, this has been very valuable.
     
  12. MarshKing

    MarshKing Silver Member

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    Would you agree that points and stay credit are provided on reservations made through AmEx FHR? That was the main point that I was trying to make.

    Additional benefits (especially those that are offered both through FHR and SPG) often do not allow double dipping. That said, at some properties, I have found that AmEx's program will allow their one-category upgrades to a category beyond what the hotel considers to be a standard suite. It's tough to know which is a better deal sometimes:
    Book a standard room --> SPG Plat upgrade to a standard suite
    Book a standard suite --> AmEx FHR upgrade to a more impressive suite

    I like your advice of asking AmEx to clarify what the potential perks/upgrades might be. :)
     

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