SPG Moment: Championsleague Manchester City vs Bayern Munich

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by thomas199023, Mar 7, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    I have been meaning to write this trip report for a while and it is long overdue, my apologies for that! I do however not want to keep this from you so here we go!

    Back in November I was scanning the SPG Moments page and found a package for a UEFA Champions League football match in Manchester, Bayern Munich vs Manchester City. However it did not only include match tickets, it also came with a charter flight, hotels stay and a whole entertainment package for two persons.
    I immediately called up my dad if he wanted to go as well, and of course he liked it. I immediately started bidding and ended up winning the bit with something like 40.000 Starpoints, a complete bargain for this experience!

    Fast-forward a few days and I was contacted by the fantastic European SPG moment team from Cork, Ireland. I have always found them very capable and helpful for any request. Part of the experience was the flight from MUC to MAN. I could have flown direct, but did not want to lose this part of the program so I booked a separate Lufthansa flight from DUS to MUC the day before on Monday. I booked a stay at the Airport Sheraton with a BRG for 2000 points!

    Shortly after winning the bid, the local SPG team took over from the Moments people in Ireland. I was contacted by I. who was very helpful with providing all the info and getting us ready for the event. She would also accompany us for the whole trip.

    Finally Monday the 5th of December arrived and we were on our way to Munich on a uneventful Lufthansa flight from Düsseldorf and we made our way to the Sheraton.

    The airport Sheraton was OK but not really remarkable, it did the job though. We decided to fly in the day before so we would be fully ready for the start of the SPG Moment on Tuesday the 6th. The most remarkable moment of that night’s stay was the confused/drunk taxi driver who stopped several times on a main road looking for the hotel.

    On Tuesday morning we headed to the Airport early to be sure we did not miss anything. Lufthansa had a special check-in area set up for the charter flight, even with a FC Bayern Mascot giving away free FC Bayern swag. It was a bit busier on the flight then expected as apparently FC Bayern has a lot of sponsors who also give away this packaged trip to their clients (99% Germans). This is all handled by a company called FC Bayern Tours, who took care of any aspect of the organization. I can only speak kindly about them as everything was taken care of in all detail.

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    Me at the check in area.

    We picked up our tickets and waited a few minutes for our Starwood hosts to arrive. For the 3 days of the trip we would be accompanied by two Starwood Marketing Execs, I. and N., we met them at the check in area and proceeded through security to the gate. Here we met two other SPG moment winners, a father and his son from Canada. Luckily the young lad was close to my age so we hit it off right.

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    Busy at the gate.

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    All the football players!

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    To Manchester it is!

    It was very busy at the gate with all the Bayern fans eagerly awaiting the arrival of their Idols, who were very late due to traffic to the airport. We missed our scheduled departure time as the team had not arrived yet, Lufthansa hold the plane however until every last member of the team was in the gate area. They started boarding the flight with the players and team execs first, they were all seated in “EU Business class”, with the really tall player securing a spot at an exit row. The aircraft was a A321 and it was completely full with the team and all the sponsors.

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    The full plane.
     
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  2. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    Lufthansa Euro Cabin, tight legroom!

    We were seated in normal “economy” however during the flight we found out we were getting Business class service. We even got a full hot meal, served on real china, and drinks in glasses! You could see it was really hard on the flight attendants who worked as hard as they could. It did seem though that Lufthansa loaded the aircraft with two more flight attendants than would be found on a normal flight.

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    The food was really good on this flight! (this is economy)

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    Lufthansa is proud to be a partner of the Bayern team, and the pilots must be big fans!

    We arrived in Manchester slightly behind schedule and made our way through immigration which took a long while. After immigration we headed to the busses waiting for us, there were actually three busses to be able to handle all the guests. There were two hotels for the guests, we were staying with a small group at the hotel where the team was also staying, a bit out of town. The main part of the group stayed somewhere in the centre of Manchester.

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    The luxurious tour bus! This bus would stay with us for the all the days.

    Unfortunately FC Bayern Tours had scheduled a bus tour of Manchester just after landing, and as we were quite late, we headed to the hotel straight away. The hotel for the 3 days would be the Marriot Worsley Park Golf Club. (that’s a first, on a trip with SPG but staying at a Marriott!) The Hotel was really lovely and we joked with the Starwood staff about the hotel choice.

    We had a few hours to ourselves before the evening program started. Me and my dad used this time to head over to the Manchester Velodrome to meet a friend who was training for the Paralympics track cycling for the GB team. We had a bit of trouble finding a taxi to the hotel, but made it just in time for the bus to the restaurant.

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    We found this gift in our room when we arrived, each day we got some swag! ^
     
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  3. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    I cannot speak highly enough of the organisers of this event as they had hired a complete Italian restaurant for all their guests. Unfortunately the Canadians were a bit tired from their travels and did not make it to the dinner, so we shared a table with our fantastic Starwood hosts, I&N. We had a really nice dinner with lots of wine and other beverages :D. We talked a lot about SPG and our thought about it, they were truly interested in what we had to say about the program. The dinner finished up quite late before we headed back to the hotel. Most people called it a night, but we went to the bar for a last drink, and apparently most of the German guests followed u as well as the bar was very crowded!

    Dinner with Me, My dad and Starwood Execs!
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    The next day started early again with a bus trip to a neighbouring town and a steam-train trip on the East Lancashire Railway to a funny town called Ramsbottom where we were scheduled to have a Pub tour, we got 4 coins per person, good for a pint of beer. Do keep in mind that it was still 10AM at this point and we visited several pubs till 12. The steam-train ride was really special, it really is a fun way to travel! For more info on this ride please see: http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/

    Train Ride vid:

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  4. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    The Pub tour, Good Ale!
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    Some info on this train trip: http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/

    We were picked up again by our bus at 12ish and headed to a nice almost Michelin star restaurant called Nutters for lunch. Nutters is housed in the lavish settings of an 18th century manor house, set in 6 ½ acres of groomed parkland with spectacular views across Ashworth moors, Greater Manchester and beyond. All this makes perfect settings for the extravagance of Andrew Nutters cuisine. His cooking is unique; a total indulgent explosion of the senses where the best of local and regional produce is put through its paces.

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    Nutters!

    Lunch was really spectacular, three courses and lots of wine, it really was one of the best lunches I have had. Especially dessert was incredible although it was all so much I only ate half of it.

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    The dessert :D

    After lunch we got on the bus again and went back to the hotel where we had a few hours to ourselves before the preparation for the Football match would begin. As you might have forgotten by now, they main point of this trip was actually the football match. During this short resting time I had a wander around the hotel which really was nice. If you have to be near Manchester but want to have some peace and quiet this is the place to stay.

    At around five we were expected to be ready for the match, we were once again picked up by our bus and were taken to another hotel where the Pre-Match cocktail party was in full swing!. One of the sponsors of the Bayern team is Paulaner, the Bavarian Beer brewer, as German as the team is they cannot do without proper beer on a trip, so Paulaner flew in their own bar, staff and of course beer for this event. They even brought their special hostess Paulaner Paula! :D

    The pre-match cocktail party
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    Me and Paulaner Paula! :D
     
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  5. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    We only had a hour here as we needed to be at the stadium a bit early. The tickets SPG got us were really good as you can see in the photos. Via some of our contacts we had also scored a few VIP area tickets for ourselves but no Paula Paulaner there so we only went for a short time after the match. The match itself was quite spectacular, unfortunately from a sporting stance there was not really much to gain for FC Bayern as they had already qualified for the next round of the Champions League. It was good to see Man City win though in their own stadium (even though I went there with FC Bayern I am secretly a Manchester City supporter!).
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    Champions Club
    Some photos of the match
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    We had to be back at the bus 30 minutes after the end of the match as there was a dinner with the team scheduled. It was a prober English buffet, of which I am not really a fan, but most of the Germans seemed to like it, I was still quite full from lunch tough luckily. There was an abundance of beer good though and Paula was there as well! I met several very interesting people at this dinner and did some good networking. As luck would have it I was actually seated next to the marketing exec of Lufthansa, so we talked a bit about his work and of course Flyertalk. Interestingly enough there was a fellow Flyertalker sitting at our table. (I forgot his handle, attorney or something like that, but he told me he had been a member of TalkBoard for years)
    The VIP team dinner
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  6. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    My Canadian friend getting autographs!
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    Our table
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    The team eating
    After dinner we finished up with a few (well, not really few) beers at the Paulaner bar and went to bed in the early hours of the morning. A really successful day on all fronts! We also had really good company with the Starwood hosts and our new Canadian friends!
    The next day early in the morning before our flight back we were given the opportunity to sleep in, or go on a tour of Man U’s Old Trafford, easy choice! My dad decided to sleep in so I went alone with the Canadians, we had a small group but the tour was really good and we got a chance to talk with our tour guide a bit, who was a local, but who served several year in the army in Germany so he spoke a bit of German. He was a fantastic lad with great stories to tell.
    Some photos of Man U's Stadium
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    We then proceeded back to the hotel and to the airport for our flight back. The flight to Munich was uneventful. We said goodbye at the airport in Munich to our hosts and our new friends and went on to catch the flight to DUS. We truly enjoyed our time in Manchester and can recommend this to anyone!
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made this trip possible! Thanks SPG for the experience, thanks I. & N. for the company and thanks to the terrific people at the Bayern Munich Football Team!
     
  7. uggboy
    Original Member

    uggboy Gold Member

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    A fantastic trip report!:) Thanks for sharing!:)
     
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  8. LAXjunkie415

    LAXjunkie415 Gold Member

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    awesome report!!!
     
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  9. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    This is a really cool report!
     
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  10. jparker

    jparker Silver Member

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    Absolutely awesome. I will have to check out whether SPG is running anything like this in future. I would love to get to the UEFA champion game this year. No guarantees, but my team, Barca, is looking very good right now. Messi scored 5 goals today in UEFA action! Unbelievable.
     
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  11. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    I think Starwood is a sponsor of the Bayern team, so your best bet would be if Bayern would play against Barca sometimes soon.
     
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  12. cennas
    Original Member

    cennas Gold Member

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    Great report! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!
     
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  13. snugglening

    snugglening Silver Member

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    This report brings a tear to my eye as a futbol fan...I live in USA in Ohio..40k is a unbelievable deal for this package...WOW
     
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  14. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    WOW. Thanks for this unique report!
     
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  15. snugglening

    snugglening Silver Member

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    So did you see any good looking WAGs from FC? We want to see pics!
     
  16. Scott Schmidt

    Scott Schmidt Silver Member

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    They recently had a package for Bayern at Basel... So it seems the away leg of the Champions League is where they offer these... But Bayern must overcome a 1-0 deficit on Tuesday for there to be another package possibility!
     
  17. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    Whats a WAG?
     
  18. snugglening

    snugglening Silver Member

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    Wife and Girlfriends... of the soccer player
     
  19. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    Ah... no they weren't there, I think most of them only go to a home game.
     
  20. LAXjunkie415

    LAXjunkie415 Gold Member

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    6:0 at the 74th minute. 7:0 in 85th minute Bring on the QUARTERFINAL!!!!!
     
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  21. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    BUMB!

    Just saw a package like this is available for the Quarter final Match of Bayern in Marseille.
    http://auction.starwoodhotels.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=179333471&prmenbr=67280009&aunbr=179680181&topcat=Y

    The auction closes in 1,5 days and is only at 8000 points now! Which is a lot lower than the bid was on the Match I went to 2 days in advance! Great value!
     
  22. thomas199023

    thomas199023 Silver Member

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    Wow it went for: High Bid: 30,501 pts
    Greatvalue!
     

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