Triangle Trip

Tag: starwood points redemption

Starwood (SPG) needs to learn about security and privacy

by Captain G on Nov.25, 2011, under Hotels

I contacted the Starwood Preferred Guest’s (”SPG”) Platinum reservation line to redeem my Starpoints for a hotel stay. The customer service representative (”CSR”) was friendly as usual but was not able to help me with my reservation and raised a huge security and privacy concern. Before I could complete my Starpoint reservation, the CSR requested for my password to my SPG account. When I told the CSR that I do not recall setting up a password to make Starpoint redemptions or any special types of reservations, she informed she needed my website password to complete my reservation.

After trying for over 10 minutes to explain to the CSR that it would be a security breach if I had given her my password, I decided to ask for a supervisor. All the supervisor  could do was to refer me to Starwood’s corporate policy which required me to provide my personal password to complete the reservation. She also told me that I could make the reservation via spg.com and stop hassling her. The supervisor also didn’t want to provide me a name or number for Starwood to escalate this issue.

I’m also pretty I am not the only SPG member to have raised this security concern to the SPG call center. I am also extremely baffled to have learned how Starwood Corporate has such a lax customer security and privacy policy. SPG needs to learn from Hilton where they only require two pieces of private information (i.e., mailing address and phone number on file) to make a points redemption reservation. SPG also needs to understand that its member’s password may be used on multiple sites. The SPG team should look at the cartoon below and learn more about security and privacy policies (special shout out to Brian Lewis’ blog for providing this cartoon image link).

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Free SPG Weekend Night Redemption Experience

by Captain G on May.30, 2009, under Hotels

I was recently redeemed my free SPG weekend nights (here’s the link to Big A’s post on how to redeem your free SPG weekend nights) and want to let everyone know that the process was extremely smooth even thought I encountered a few hiccups along the way. Here’s my experience:

I rang Starwood’s customer service line to redeem my free weekend nights plus a five-night point redemption reservation, but found out that I was not properly enrolled. The customer service representative knew I was in a hurry and split my reservation into two reservations:  one for the free SPG weekend nights redemption and another for my SPG points redemption. The customer service representative also reassured me that he would make sure my free SPG weekend nights enrollment would be retroactive.

At the Sheraton front desk of my destination, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise:

1.  My SPG free weekend nights were made retroactive

2.  The Sheraton hotel (Category 6) I booked allowed me to redeem 4 nights using my SPG points, and gave me the 5th night for free

3.  I also got my Platinum choice award (I opted for the 500 bonus points of course)

In summary, Starwood’s worldclass service should be held as the standard for the travel industry. The US airline industry should look to Starwood for some guidance.

This is why hotel points are much better than airline miles — here’s a link to my previous post.

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