Sold out using points, but available for paid rates?

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by 15A, May 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. 15A
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    15A Silver Member

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    I am trying to use points at the Sheraton in Maui this summer. The website is giving me a package rate for the 3 nights I want to book, but when I called the reservation line and asked if I could use points they say the hotel is sold out on the 3rd night. If I try putting ONLY the third night in for a reservation on the site, it does come up as sold out. I specified to the agent on the phone that I was willing to use more points if "base rooms" were not available as I thought that might be the cause, but she said nothing at all was available. I went ahead and held the 2 nights, but will probably cancel if I can't get the 3rd. Any thoughts on whether a room on that 3rd night is possible since it is technically available on the site for the 3-day period?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    Is the package rate on the (SPG I assume?) website for a standard room? Can you book a plain room-only three-night stay at best available rate for a standard room?
     
  3. 15A
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    15A Silver Member

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    There are four room types (and yes this on spg.com) but all come up under the same rate plan:

     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    Have you tried to call SPG and ask them to book all three nights as an award if the computer won't let your do it?For example, if you're SPG Plat, call the Plat concierge. They supposedly know the rules and sometimes they can do things on the computer reservations system that we can't.

    However I'm still confused by your answer. Are you saying that one can ONLY book the three-night discounted (from what rate, one should ask?) package at this hotel and not an ordinary three night stay at a refundable rate with no extras? This seems strange to me as usually hotels like to sell their last rooms at rack rate whether or not they impose a minimum stay requirement.
     
  5. 15A
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    I'm Gold, not Plat - tried calling SPG initially and told them from the start that I was looking to book all three nights. I did not specifically tell them to make sure to request all nights at once, just gave them the c/i and c/o dates and got a no-can-do, property is sold out on 7/4.

    When I put in the dates I want to stay, I am not specifying any special rates or packages. I'm simply using the booking tool on the front of spg.com. What I get in response is ONLY four options (ocean view 1K or 2D, deluxe ocean front 1K or 2D) ALL of which fall under the "Sunsational Savings" rate plan above. There are no other options available. Under the SPG Points tab it says "Please contact us to redeem your Free Nights" which in my past experience has indicated that rooms are available, just not at the base level (the rooms above are not base rooms so I was expecting to pay the premium point level and did tell that to the agent).
     
  6. MSPeconomist
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    The problem seems to be that they have no standard rooms available on the nights you need. AFAIK hotels are not obligated to award their higher room classes for (more) SPG points. The rule only says that if you can book a regular standard room for money, you can also book it for points (but not necessarily for a cash and points redemption either).

    Perhaps this property has few standard rooms or perhaps the price differential is such that the standard room category frequently sells out fast.

    You could get lucky if someone cancels, but this would seem to require continuing to check as I don't think it's possible to wait list. At that point, however, you could have the problem that a three nights minimum stay is required for July 4 and the other two nights are sold out so that you can't then officially cancel your other two nights and book the three night stay you want.

    I'm not optimistic, but when you called the hotel, are you sure you talked with someone with the authority to help or make a small exception? It might be worth trying to call the property's sales director or sales manager and explain your request, asking if they can do something to help with a three night redemption for any available room category.
     
  7. SPG Champion
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    SPG Champion Official Representative

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    None of these room types are on the standard award rate plan, SPG5.

    Upgraded award rooms are subject to black out dates and capacity controls, so they may or may not be offered, even if they are being sold as a paid rate. Just in case they might be, the message is to "Please contact us to redeem your Free Nights". In this case, they aren't.

    Hope that helps.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
  8. 15A
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    Guess I have my answer. Thanks for the clarification.
     
  9. I had luck last week getting the front office manager to open up a room for a award so I could use my free resort night.
    He was happy to do it, as he had lots of availability in higher room categories. Win Win. Its worth a call.

    Better yet, book the 1st two, and then talk to the front office mgr when you're there about extending and opening the room for an award. Worked for us.
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    I wouldn't want to risk being without a room for July 4. Other properties might have minimum stay or nonrefundable deposit requirements also, so that it wouldn't be so easy to wait until arrival to settle this, when the hotel might be sold out and other options could be very limited. It's also no fun to change hotels and with resorts, you might lost an afternoon of fun in the process, between check out time and when you can get into your room in the second hotel.
     
  11. ??? We did 4 hotels in 8 days for the stay credit.. With 4pm check out its easy.. Stay @ one till then and enjoy the resort. Move after 4 when your next room is guaranteed available.

    Better yet.. call them NOW.. People expect too much thru internet, instead of human interaction. I find humans much
    more likely to get me what I want. The Front office of the Sheraton Maui wants to fill their hotel. They want you to stay.
    Call them.
     
  12. MSPeconomist
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    Remember that if it's a resort hotel, SPG doesn't give the 4 pm checkout. They would have to leave by noon or whenever official checkout time is for all guests.

    At the beginning, I suggested calling the hotel and speaking to someone with authority to make an exception if necessary. The front desk clerks might be limited to what their computer system is showing.
     
  13. SC Flier
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    That's true, but when we were at the Westin Maui a few years ago, they listed late checkout as an in-hotel benefit for elites staying in regular (non-suite) rooms. If in a suite, the benefit was not offered or had an earlier (2pm?) cutoff. I'm not sure what the current in-hotel benefits are at the Maui properties.
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    I would certainly not assume any late checkout over a holiday weekend unless it's a published benefit, which it isn't for any property classified as a resort.
     
  15. Sheraton Waikiki has 4pm checkout too. Listed as a benefit and used.
    Don't call a clerk, call a manager.. Why are you being so obstinate? You've been given the answer,
    but you keep throwing up walls?

     
  16. 15A
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    Thanks for the suggestions. This turned out well. I called the hotel and they said they could not help but said that I should call SPG back and explain that the third night was being blocked because of minimum stay requirements and that they should at least be able to secure a third paid night by combining the points and cash reservations (they said a call to the property from SPG might be necessary). I called SPG and spoke to someone who really seemed to know what they were doing - she did have to call the property but after less than 5 mins on the line came back on to tell me that they were willing to accept the 3-night points reservation. So while it took a few calls, it worked out - thanks for the suggestions putting me on the right track!
     
    mtacchi and SC Flier like this.

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