On Saturday I raised some alarms over Starwood apparently allowing a handful of hotels in Europe — such as the Pulitzer in Amsterdam and Hotel Des Indes, The Hague — to make rooms available for standard points redemption that fit only a single person — and charging more points if you wanted to have two people stay at the hotel.
The Starwood Preferred Guest terms and conditions say that award rooms are “for single or double occupancy rooms” but SPG representatives had explained that these hotels were unique, and that they were complying with Starwood’s rules because they only have to offer redemptions for single rooms or for double rooms, and they were offering single rooms.
I called that a pretty tortured reading of the rules of the program and suggested that the better approach would be — if they really wanted to allow these hotels to offer just single rooms — to change the terms and conditions to exempt these hotels.
It turns out though, despite what Starwood’s representatives had posted online, that the hotels in question were not considered compliant with the program terms and conditions. And that when program leadership saw my post they began working with the hotels to see what’s going on. It was a mistake, a training issue, and it’s getting fixed.
Here’s what I heard from a Starwood executive this evening:
Since your post, I personally have been working with our European Division to resolve. We did not change our T&Cs…hotels are not allowed to put single occupancy rooms up for redemption as the only option. If they have single occupancy rooms (as many in Europe do), they can put them up for redemption…but they also must have double occupancy rooms. We simply had new people at some hotels who didn’t understand correctly.
Over the past few days we’ve worked with the 2 hotels in Amsterdam (Pulitzer and Sheraton), as well as the Bristol in the Ukraine to fix the situation. We are still working with our hotel in The Hague.
Mistakes happen, it’s unfortunate that there was some initial mistaken information about what was going on, and I’m glad to see Starwood step forward and fix the issue and make clear where they stand. So kudos to Starwood Preferred Guest for owning it and solving it.