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For the last year, I have stayed at the same Sheraton hotel in Hartford along with two or three of my co-workers. Now, Sheraton is one of the lower brands under Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Their other brands include Le Meridien, Four Points, Westin, W, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, aloft and element. All of those are clearly better than your average Sheraton.
Unfortunately, the Sheraton in Hartford is below average. Starwood started a billion dollar rehab campaign in 2007 but with the downturn of the economy, I think rehab plans at this Sheraton were scrapped. As a result, the sink handles are falling off, the shower heads spray water every direction from the joints, the curtain rods are sagging, the rooms smell like smoke and the heaters either don't work or turn the rooms into saunas.
90% of my co-workers make fun of us for staying there because the hotel is so bad. So why do we stay there? The unanimous answer is POINTS. For the last 10 years, Starwood has repeatedly won several coveted Freddie Awards for their hotel loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).
The main reason is because Starwood points are worth the most when it comes time to redeeming them. If you are a loyal customer, your points can add up fast, and you can get a good hotel for a reasonable number of points. On top of that, they offer options such as "Cash and Points" where you can book a room for 1/3 of the cash and 1/3 of the points you would normally use, which equates to just 2/3 of the actual value of the room, a pretty good deal.
SPG also has good bonus programs, such as Q4 last year when they had $25 Amazon gift certificates for every 5 nights or 2 stays. I actually know one guy who checked in and out every day to maximize his stays and therefore his rewards. But the best bonus program I've seen is for Q1 this year: 500 bonus points per night plus 5000 bonus points per 10 nights, with no limit.
Add on a SPG American Express card, where you get one point per dollar spent on your statement, plus one point per dollar spent on Starwood hotels. So, let me break down the points and bonuses that I get as a platinum SPG member.
Posted 02/22/2009 09:01 PM in Ramblings, Travel | Total Comments: (6)
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