As you can see I am only 1 night away from re-qualifying for my SPG Platinum status for another year. There are a bunch of reasons I have chosen to spend about a month of my travels with Starwood hotels.
The SPG program also integrates very well with Delta Skymiles with Crossover Rewards and, considering the Skymiles2015 changes, getting a nice chunk of SPG points for my Delta spending as well as the other way around is a nice way to make more points that will be harder to get next year. This is a factor for me to consider where to stay.
Next, the cost for rooms on points can be very reasonable for Westins and Sheratons as well as their lower cost brands like Four Points by Sheraton and other brands. If I don’t want to save money by spending points for rooms I can get a 5,000 bonus bump for cashing in 20,000 SPG points then sending them to Delta (you get 25k for sending 20k btw).
Then I just really like SPG hotels. I like the SPG phone APP (I am less impressed with the SPG.com web site changes). I like the Westin beds that are soft and that is important to me. SPG hotels have been, for the most part, near where I travel and need to stay. So SPG has been a good fit. But there is one big issue across the brand. Breakfast – or the lack of breakfast I should say.
My fellow BA blogger Scott from Travel Codex was tweeting to SPG trying to get a straight answer about breakfast choices as a Platinum and I tongue-in-cheek responded that it is simply whatever the hotel wants to provide a.k.a. there is no real set of minimum breakfast choices that “must” be provided to top level elite with SPG. A bit later, as you can see from the tweet above, SPGassist confirmed what I had been saying!
I just got back from a long full week Delta mileage run and it included two stays at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel by the Galleria. I have a full review on the way but I stayed a day then was gone a night then was back. I talked to the staff the first night that I was REALLY disappointed with the sad club choices for breakfast and was considering canceling my next stay and moving to the Westin by the airport for my next night. I was told I could have breakfast at the buffet downstairs. Really? I did come back to the hotel and it was a much better choice. But this goes to the essence of the issue.
Since it really is up to the hotel to choose whatever they want, your breakfast experience can go from WOW to MEH. What SPG does require for a location is very minimal in the clubs I have been told (this included both breakfast and the evening snack options). Also, as happened to me, the hotel may have better options for you but the staff may not inform you of all the choices you could get. So, it really is up to you to ask or even push for a better breakfast choice if you are not impressed with what the club has to offer you (if there is a club in the hotel that is).
There are other issues that don’t make the SPG elite program perfect, but this seems to be one that other hotels like Hyatt offers much better “standard” choices for top elites across the program and one SPG could fix if they really wanted to.
I guess my question for you today is what I opened with. If you are an SPG elite, or even if not an elite, knowing now just what is officially offered, is this a deal breaker for you? Is a good breakfast choice important to you or is the points program more important (along with upgrades and such)? I would love your feedback especially if you have personal experience as a top elite with other chains! – René
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