SPG Members Paying Higher $$ on App, on SPG Member Site

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by easterly, May 21, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. easterly

    easterly Member

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    This post is a coda to yesterday's SPG App/BRG "next day booking" post.

    I decided to take a look and see whether the App is pricing higher for bookings beyond "next day," which was the subject of the prior post.

    And I am disappointed to report that as of today's date, the App is pricing rooms higher to SPG members using the App than non-members are paying through Kayak, Expedia, etc.

    Take for example the SPG Category 4 Hotel Westin Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Well-known hotel. Very close to DCA and the Pentagon. As of today, the App is offering $319.00 per night for a midweek 2 night stay May 26-28, 2015 as the lowest price of the simplest room. As of today, the SPG website, after member log-in, is offering the same price for the same room type and dates. $319.00. As of today, Kayak and Expedia have the same room/date combination at $250.00.

    The App tells you in written text when you use it that once you press the "Book" icon, you are being offered pricing at the "lowest standard rate." But the Kayak price . . . is there a mistake going on? Or is SPG calling the pricing to Kayak "something even lower than the Lowest Standard Rate"?

    Regardless of the answer, this practice is misleading. This practice creates a feeling of bad blood. As an SPG member, to be charged, in this example, 21 percent more while using the App, or while logged in and using the member website, than someone could pay on Kayak, is distressing.

    SPG needs to get a grip on this pricing practice and get it sorted.
     
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  2. alfagirl

    alfagirl Gold Member

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    FWIW - I submitted a BRG for a lower rate that I found on Expedia and the answer from SPG was 'No' and the explanation was something along the lines of, "the Expedia rate is a promotional rate (and is not considered a 'standard rate')" therefore the BRG didn't apply.
     
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  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I just recently got a BRG approved without issues (Kayak showed a bunch of sites that were about 20% cheaper).
     
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  4. easterly

    easterly Member

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    alfagirl, that's very interesting (I'm sorry for the rejection), and another piece of the puzzle of "what in the Sam Hill is going on, SPG?"

    -Easterly
     
  5. sendaiben
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    sendaiben Gold Member

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    Hmmm. Now the drive to push people to use the app/website (through promos) seems more sinister.

    Can imagine this creating a lot of ill-will if it continues.
     
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  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There will always be different rates out there. That's why the BRG exists. If you're willing to hunt for them then you can generally get a claim on the BRG (so long as you pay attention to the published rules) or book the better rate. I've got a BRG I just submitted for San Diego in a couple weeks which I expect to save 20% on. Like many other industries the hotels do a pretty good job of offering the best price on their product through direct channels most of the time. And when the don't and you find it better elsewhere you can make a claim.

    In the case of the Westin Crystal City the $250 room ("Traditional 1 King bed") is not for sale on the SPG site. A Deluxe room is and Expedia prices that lower than the spg.com rate but the SPG rate is refundable and the Expedia rate is not. There is also a non-refundable rate from SPG which is higher than the Expedia rate and might qualify for the BRG.

    But I don't really understand what about the practice is "misleading" so long as you follow the published BRG rules. If you are willing to spend the time to find a better rate elsewhere you might save some cash. That's exactly what the purpose of the program is.
     
  7. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    It doesn't take any longer to use Kayak or Expedia, than the SPG mobile app.
     
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  8. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    It is misleading because the implication is that the web site shows the lowest prices. It doesn't. You and I know that. Other people don't and get mislead by statements like that, which is what their intent is.

    -David
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    But just about every website claims that. At this point it is more puffery than a legal claim.

    But it does take more time to comparison shop.

    And there are plenty examples to counter the one the OP showed:
    westing-brg.JPG

    Booking direct in DC at that well known hotel is $10/night less than through the OTAs. That particular example is 17-19 June.
     
  10. easterly

    easterly Member

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    And there are plenty of examples in line with the OP.

    For example. I need to go to LA. So let's switch coasts. The Sheraton Four Points Los Angeles International Airport. Travel dates of Tuesday June 9 to Thursday June 11, 2015. The SPG App is offering the "Lowest Standard Rate" of 194. Kayak and Booking.com are offering the same room, same dates, at 162.
     
  11. easterly

    easterly Member

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    I submit that the way LIH/David reacts to this is also the average business travel consumer's way of seeing it, a way of seeing that SPG fosters and encourages, btw.

    Why is LIH/David's reaction typical, and also fair?

    Let's look at this curated quote from an SPG VP to the NYTimes in 2012:

    " [what the BRG means is that] you are guaranteed that you will not find a better rate on any other channel."

    (source >>> http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/travel/3-myths-about-booking-travel-from-the-source.html?_r=0)

    -Easterly
     
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  12. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    Agreed, everybody does it Crazy Eddie style these days. Crazy Eddie's ads were very clear, "shop around. Find the best price and we'll beat it." but that didn't stop people from thinking that Crazy Eddie had the best prices. In that, he was a marketing genius.

    They don't actually promise the lowest price. But they make you think there's no need to shop around because they will ultimately offer you the lowest price, but only if you do the work to prove that their price isn't the lowest. It's easy to be mislead if you don't read the details like most people.

    No, there's nothing illegal going on here, it's just marketing. But it is (legally) misleading. At least that's what 4 out of 5 dentists said.

    -David
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    And my 20% discount for a BRG came through this morning. Always nice to save even more. :cool:
     
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  14. easterly

    easterly Member

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  15. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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  16. easterly

    easterly Member

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    Gladness, WA? But you lean toward schadenfreude, taking pleasure in the setbacks of others. That is what you volunteer about yourself in the linked post.
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Did you actually read and understand the blog post?
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Clearly not. Headlines are fun but the content is what really matters.

    Also, my IHG BRG came through today after 3 or 4 tries. A free Club room in Cancun at the IC will be nice in a couple weeks. :cool:
     
  19. easterly

    easterly Member

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    I read WA's confession that once he was expected to pay for his own travel, he ditched the hotel brands and their loyalty programs in favor of OTAs, the same hotel brands and loyalty programs he purports to be the public prosecutor for in these forums. While enjoying the frustrations of travelers who are brand loyal and work within the brand's system.
     
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Are you here to discuss and attack people or discuss miles and points?
     
  21. easterly

    easterly Member

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    Who have I attacked, Have? Elucidate, please?
     

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