Starwood Honoring Phoenician Mistake Rate… With a Discount

As The Miles Professor noted in the comments, Starwood has made a decision on how it will handle the $30 rates at the Phoenician in Scottsdale for this upcoming December.

They are unwilling to do $30. But they’ll do $130.

Depending on the dates that folks booked, paid rooms are available in the $400 – $500 price range (and award nights are 12,000 Starpoints).

I am contacting you today in regards to your December 2013 reservations for The Phoenician.

Unfortunately, due to a systems error on March 27, the resort temporarily listed the incorrect and very low accommodation rate of $30 per night. While the Terms & Conditions on our website indicate the right to cancel if a reservation resulted from a mistake or error, we value your business and would like to extend an exclusive, discounted rate of $130 per night, as well as double SPG points for this stay. Currently, the correct, available rate for December 2013 is more than $400, providing you with a savings in excess of $300 per night.

We hope you will accept our redress regarding this matter. However, as this was indeed an exceptional circumstance, we are also giving you the opportunity to cancel your reservation(s) without penalty. We hope to hear from you soon so we may discuss and either finalize your accommodations, or cancel the reservations. To connect with a member of our Customer Service team please email us at ____________.

If we do not hear from you by April, 12th, 2013 we will assume you no longer want to keep your reservations and we will cancel them on your behalf.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our technical difficulties, and remain committed to providing you with our signature AAA Five Diamond guest service and experience. All Starwood Preferred Guest benefits will be fully honored. We look forward to having you with us!

The Miles Professor declares that relative to the value of Starpoints, this isn’t much of a discount.

Point Me to the Plane received the same offer and plans to jump on it.

Personally I think it is a very good price for the room, but not good enough where I’d want to make a trip to Phoenix that I wouldn’t otherwise take — I like but do not love the Phoenician, and I like Phoenix weather in December relative to the temperatures in DC — but I don’t love Phoenix weather. So if I’m going to go somewhere warn, I’m going to go somewhere warm.

Starwood has a mixed track record honoring mistake rates.

Recently they came through on the $60 Westin Times Square rates.

Years ago I took advantage of the ‘Ugandan schillings’ mistake rate at the Le Meridien Khao Lak — I booked what was then called the Presidential Oceanfront Villa for the equivalent of 60 cents a night. As with this rate, they decided to honor but at a higher rate, the equivalent of $33 per night (inclusive of tax and breakfast).

They’ve also cancelled rooms outright, such as when Bora Bora Nui (now under Hilton management) opened. They sent out mass emails with everyone who booked in the ‘To:’ line rather than ‘Bcc:’ and in the process violated Starwood’s privacy policy, so they wound up compensating everyone with Starpoints.

When the Lanesborough in London published a mistake rate, those who booked at had a limited number of nights honored — but without the ancillary benefits of the published rate such as airport transfers. Folks who booked on Orbitz had those ancillary benefits honored… by Orbitz.

For those interested in a blast from the past, here’s my Top 10 Airline and Hotel Mistake Fares of the Past Decade.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I love, not like, the Phoenician, and I am not surprised that they’ve made a very reasonable counter offer. Everyone I’ve met there is a class act. Unfortunately, I can’t travel in December, but I do have a bunch of Cash and Points nights for next winter that I booked at the old 4,800 points plus $90 rate – and that’s no mistake!

  2. Sorry but I don’t feel the Miles Professor provides a good opinion. Cash and points for this property is $110 and 6,000 points per night vs $130 and double points. Both would have tax and resort fee added on, unless plats still get the fee waived.

    I think Starwood made a fair offer.

  3. Brent, you’re implicitly assuming that Cash and Points and just points rates should replicate the same hotel rate portfolio. But this isn’t the case. To me, 3,600 (or even 6,000) points is not worth $110 + $29 resort fee + $10 tax = $150 so I would never pay the Cash and Points rate. That’s just too high.

    I agree SPG made a fair offer. It’s a 20% improvement on the current best market value. They just got very lucky in that the rates they charge for the hotel ($400+) were very high above market value (which is 9,600 SPG points a night) so their offer looks particularly good. 🙂

  4. @Miles Professor
    What’s the best market value for this resort? $130 still seems like a great value for those who plan on traveling to Scottsdale.

  5. If like me the customer doesn’t have enough points to cover the stay a beautiful room at a full resort for $130 looks pretty good. I happily took the offer.

  6. gary, how would Le Meridien Chiang Rai have a Presidential Oceanfront Villa? Chiang Rai isn’t anywhere near an ocean.
    have you seen the discussion regarding cancelled reservations at the Sheraton Pasadena on FlyerTalk? Hotel is cancelling LEGITIMATE reservations and telling the guests to just suck it up. wow. that’s not the way to run a business.

  7. The Bora Bora e mail fiasco netted me 5000 points.
    Don’t forget the W Times square ‘deal’ at $25. That was ~ 2003.

  8. @Brent. Agreed. $170 a night is a good price for one who would like a high end resort in Arizona. It’s definitely great value. And I am not saying someone should not take it. I am just pointing out a great value always existed by using Starwood points. The option to use Starwood points always made the market value of this hotel well below $500. If anything, this is a testament to the value of collecting miles and hotel points… they make stays at high end “$500 a night resorts” accessible at affordable prices.

  9. sorry, but Phoenix is a horrible place that i would not go to for any amount of money. But with that said, their counter offer seems fair enough, so if i was drugged and out of my mind and had some crazy notion to go to Phoenix, this would be a good deal.

  10. @David – of COURSE it was Khao Lak, don’t know why I typed otherwise 🙂 No oceanfront rooms in Chiang Rai, they do have a river though…

  11. I just heard from Starwood confirming my reservation at the $130 rate. Starwood is allowing cancellation with a full refund up to 72 hours before arrival, whcih I can understand. They would probably prefer to sell the room at a higher rate. They also made clear that the $29 resort fee applies. I feel Starwood has been very fair about this.

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