Starwood Hotels Booking Question

Old Jan 25th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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Starwood Hotels Booking Question

How do you make a reservation using Starwood points? Is it through their website, or through the hotel directly? Also, is it worth it to open an American Express account to get the initial 10,000 bonus miles so we can use them towards hotels in Thailand in July?
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Old Jan 25th, 2008, 08:15 PM
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You can call the 800 number or call or email the hotel directly. I find the website not very helpful, but others may have had different experiences.
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Old Jan 25th, 2008, 09:44 PM
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You can book using your points directly thru the website. I actually find their website quite good and very easy to navigate. Find the hotel you want to stay at, then select from the options on the right side of the hotel you've chose.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 05:22 AM
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I always book by calling the 800 number. I find it much easier than the website.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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i made all of my res on line at: www.spg.com

yes it is worth it...using cash and points you can have rooms in thailand for as little as 1600 pts plus $30 per nite....so 10M could potentially give you 6+ nites with a cost of only $180....

locations: bkk, hua hin, pattaya, phuket, khao lak, krabi, CM and maybe more
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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Wanted to add my recent experience on booking for a hotel in Europe. We didn't have enough points to book the room for free, but did have enough to request the 50% off rate that is offered on the SPG website. The website said that in order to do that you had to call their customer service line, which I did. They told me that the hotel hadn't yet posted the rooms that would be open for the 50% off deal so we booked a reservation at rack rate (650 Euros per night, with an annotation that we were requesting the 50% off with points. I was told to call back in a month to see if the hotel had "opened up" those rooms. I did this for 3 months straight and still the rooms were not open according to customer service. So out of curiosity, I went to the website and acted like I was booking a hotel as a full paying customer. Yep, you guessed it. All the rates were coming up at 300 Euros a night (50% lower)than the rack rate for which I already had a guaranteed reservation. Needless to say, I cancelled the pending reservation and just rebooked the other way.

Moral of the story - double check the website. Also I've been told that you should look at your hotel points like FF miles. In other words divide out the number of points by the rate you would have to pay and see what you're paying "per point." It may not be such a great deal unless the hotel is in a really high cost area. Of course, if it's a budget issue then by all means use the points.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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Good point, Pat. I typically use my points for the SPG50 rate (50% off the rack rate for 1000 points per stay). But I always check and see if they have a better rate available. One year, I got a special "spa package" that included massage for two at a rate less than the 50% off rate.

I find the website so unhelpful because it never lists the specific type of roon I want at the Royal Orchid (Towers Deluxe Suite). Indeed, I find that the website often lists very few of the room types available, not only at international propertires, but also at domestic properties that have many room types.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 06:43 PM
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Thanks so much for all your responses. I didn't even know about Starwood points until reading about them here. I just applied for the Starwood Amex card and now hope to use the bonus 10,000 miles towards hotels in Thailand. One more question about using the points. Are the taxes and breakfast included when you use points(or points and cash)?
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 07:30 PM
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Breakfast is only included if the rate says so. Taxes (and service) are extra when you are using the SPG50 rate. I've never used the "free" option, so someone else will have to answer that one.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:21 PM
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I find the Starwood website useful but I agree with Kathie that information about different rooms is lacking. I just used a bunch of points for hotels in London and Amsterdam and I did not have to pay tax. (17.5% in London!) I did use points plus cash for our last night in Amsterdam at the airport which was 4000 pts +$60.
Taxes were added here to the tune of another $55. I do not believe I paid taxes at the ROS last year for the room I got on points. I do think I paid taxes on the room at the ROS I got with SPG 50. The St. Regis Dana Point last year was 8000 points plus $150 and I believe I paid taxes on the $150. I have been told that whether You pay taxes is dependent on the country.

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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 01:43 AM
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No VAT on the room in Thailand using points, but you'll pay taxes on other things from the hotel (lunches, drinks, mini-bar, etc).
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 03:47 AM
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Breakfast is not included when you book with Starwood points.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 04:21 AM
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If you want to use extra points to upgrade your room that you got on points, like to a suite or a club rlevel room or a room w/a great view, you can't do that on the website, you need to call. You can only use points on basic rooms on the website, so if you want any kind of special room, call the 800 #.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 10:57 PM
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You can also get upgraded to next level of room without using extra points if you have Platinum status. I was just upgraded from a Deluxe Room to a Grande Suite at the SGS last week while staying there on points.
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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Bisbee- How do you get Platinum Status?
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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spend lots of money and stay often
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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That's what I thought!
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 11:54 PM
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Spend lots of the company's money, then take free vacations as a thank you for spending lots of the company's money!!
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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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you can reserve through the internet using your american express card.
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