My wife and I are heading to Munich on Friday to visit the Christmas Markets and have a little fun. I'm a long time Marriott Loyalist, platinum premier and have lifetime platinum status, I'm fairly sure I don't need any more nights this year to renew PP. I only say this because in my mind it allowed me the leeway to try a new hotel brand without any concerns. I could envision that as a real issue for many people. From my perspective the merger is a good thing that will allow many new options for world travel in the future.
Many of my travel buddies are Starwood loyalists that tell me how well Starwood treats them as platinum's. This trip has presented a opportunity to test what I've been told. I am familiar with how Marriott treats platinum's in Europe and am interested to see how the other half lives. When I researched our trip ( a points vacation ) My first option was the Munich Marriott for a five night stay at 160,000 points --- sounded a little pointy for an off season stay but certainly possible. After some further research I settled on the Westin Grand Munich for 40,000 Starpoints ( traded in 120,000 Marriott Points) for the same nights. This actually seemed like a bargain to me I'm not adverse to giving a Westin Grand a try and saving 40,000 points. I am interested to see how Starwood treats a newly minted Platinum with a brand new account number and 0 nights lifetime. I will report back on treatment, lounge, possible upgrades, etc... What I can't promise is pictures unless everyone is interested to see a close up of my thumb, perhaps I can convince my wife to take a few.
rlswider, I can't wait to hear the stories upon your return! This is a perfect test case to follow, as you have nothing to lose, have already booked "savings" on the front end, and have fresh status! We look forward to your report
Will be interested to hear your report.
One item of note, however, is that platinums in Marriott get cross-matched at the *lowest* of the multiple tiers of platinum at SPG. So all of that royal treatment you have been hearing about may not pertain to that level of platinum. But one can hope...
I have been told about that Starwood 75 night status and the related suite night upgrades etc and Starwood 100 and its Ambassador privileges . At the merger time I was a little surprised about being matched to Starwood's lowest level platinum but for now that is reasonable in my opinion. Marriott goal has to be to hold onto as many Starwood top tier people as possible, from a business perspective I can understand that. I hope that after 2018 the Starwood tiered platinum remains part of the rewards program --- sort of a "plutonium" status many people used to write about, or platinum premier with actual benefits and defined parameters to earn. I try to have realistic expectations, as such I am interested to see how Starwood's rules are applied. For instance I asked for an early check in which is clearly a benefit of 75 night level platinum (your 24) at Starwood --- I'm interested to see if they stretch a point and allow that benefit for someone that does not have the 75 night platinum status.
Since October when I finally made my 75 nights for Plat, I've been looking at both SPG and Hilton (where I'm status matched to Diamond till beginning 2018) I have so far searched both these out for Brussels, Heathrow Airport, Birmingham, London, Orlando, Shanghai and Beijing, the Chinese being redemptions, the rest paid. Either their locations are poorer or the hotels are more expensive (cash or points) than the Marriott/IHG equivalents.
Since TIPPLE I have genuinely been trying to use these 2, but they just don't cut it. I will actually make Marriott lifetime Plat in a couple of weeks and do want to give SPG and Hilton a try, I've nothing to lose status-wise, but so far to no avail.
So, like you rlswider, I'm ready to give SPG a try, but so far it's just not happening...
I am not sure about this, but I don't believe all of the SPG hotels have concierge lounges. As far as I can tell, only some of the Sheraton brand has them. Please let us know. The only stay that I can report is the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver last May. I stayed for 10,000 SPG points. No concierge lounge but an otherwise wonderful stay in a beautiful hotel in a beautiful location.
Almost all Marriott's have lounges as do almost all Sheratons. I think it's brand standard for those two, but even so, a few don't. As for the rest of the brands, I think you'll find them in Westins, but by no means all, Renaissance too, but again not universally. If you want to know whether there's a lounge skiadcock runs an excellent thread at Flyertalk listing all the Marriott lounges worldwide and whether they're open at weekends. You'll find that here:
Also, if you look into the rates of any hotel youre thinking of booking you'll see the room-types available. Look out for Club, Executive or Concierge room types then click on Room Details and it will tell you whether lounge access is included, thus alerting you to the presence of a lounge.