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Earlier this year, Starwood Hotels freed the WiFi for all members of its loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest, so long as they booked directly through Starwood. However, that was just for basic internet usage.
Premium internet--which is fast enough for streaming services and heavy-duty uploading/downloading--still comes at a cost, unless you're a Gold or Platinum member.
But now there's another way to get it "free"--by signing up for the SPG American Express card. Automatically being a cardholder will get you that premium in-room internet you want. The benefit doesn't kick in until August 11 so you have some time to get your application in. The card will also free customers from foreign transaction fees as well as give them complimentary unlimited Boingo WiFi hotspot access. Which means you shall never pay for internet while traveling again.
Using the SPG Amex will also earn you more Starpoints during your stay at participating SPG Hotels as well as 1 Starpoint for all other purchases. And once you've spent $30,000 on "eligible" purchases on the card, you'll be automatically upgraded to SPG Gold status.
However, the catch is that that the annual fee for the card is set to go up to $95 on August 11 (previously it was $65.) Your first year of card membership is free, but after that you'll pay $95 annually.
[Photo: W Hotels]
Hotel Technology / Hotel News / Apple Watch / Starwood Preferred Guest / SPG / Keyless Entry / Apple Watch Apps / → All Tags
As promised when the Apple Watch was first announced last September, Starwood Preferred Guest has announced their app will allow guests to check-in and open their room door using the watch. No paper, no phone, no kiosks needed.
With today's new presentation on the Apple Watch revealing just how much it can do (SO much), how long it can go without charging (18 hours) and how much it will cost (starting from $349 up to $17,000), SPG has also detailed how their keyless room entry for watches will work.
Just like using your phone as a room key, the watch will only work at hotels that are equipped with the technology. Right now, that is for select Aloft Hotels, Element Hotels and W Hotels, but not all of them. If you're a member of SPG, you're staying at one of the participating hotels mentioned above, and you have an Apple Watch, then you
must be loaded can use your watch to open the room key.
We're assuming it works much like the phone app, where you can check-in and learn your room number all from the app, and then all you'll have to do is wave your watch in front of the door. But we'll find out soon on April 24 when the Apple Watch becomes available to us all.
[Photo via SPG]
We've seen hotels partner with the taxi-on-demand service that is Uber, usually in the form of a room package with an Uber credit. Hyatt Hotels went a bit further by allowing guests to order Ubers to and from their Hyatt hotels within the Hyatt app. But now, Starwood Hotels has trumped them all.
Starwood Preferred Guests members can now earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent with Uber. You'll also earn more points if you use Uber during an SPG stay. Gold and Platinum members will earn even more.
This sounds ideal, especially if you're a big city kind of kid/business traveler who relies on Uber to get around, although the linking up of Uber and SPG accounts is not seamless.
Hotel Technology / Google Glass / Starwood Preferred Guest / SPG / Starwood Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Apps / → All Tags
Google Glass hit the market for the general public yesterday for one day only (and for $1,500 a fully tricked out pair) and already, a hotel brand is catering to the
Glassholes new owners.
Starwood Preferred Guest announced this morning that they will soon be releasing its SPG app for Google Glass. Here's what you'll be able to do with Glass and SPG:
· Search and Book: Voice search Starwood's 1,150+ hotels worldwide and then book your room
· Explore: Get turn-by-turn directions to any hotel and explore photos of amenities, rooms or local areas
· Check Your Account: Access your Starpoints balance
· State Aware: The state aware technology already found on SPG's mobile app will be implemented here so guests can display upcoming stay details, recognize arrival, and customize experience.
In essence, it's not that much different from what you do on your phone, except you'll be showing off your Glass-ware.
The app has not yet been released to the Google Glass store but it is coming soon. SPG's Glass website also says that the app will be updated based on member feedback and of course, any new Glass features that come out.
[Photo: SPG for Glass]
Once again, Starwood Preferred Guest and Live Nation have teamed up for a series of intimate music concerts called, Hear the Music, See the World. And the key word here is intimate. Not something you usually think of when Live Nation is involved but that's just another perk of being an SPG member.
Nine acoustic performances by top artists will be happening at Starwood-owned properties around the world, from New York to China, starting on June 5 with Mayer-Hawthorne in Toronto at the The Element Vaughan Southwest. Peep the rest of the schedule below (hello Janelle, Jason Mraz and Jewel!) and head on over to SPG to book.
Just know, you have to be an SPG Member to attend one of the concerts. You can redeem Starpoints for tickets as well as bid on VIP experiences like meet and greets with the artists (those start around 5,000 points.) .
Loyalty Program News / Hotel Loyalty Programs / Hotel News / Starwood Preferred Guests / Caesars Entertainment / Starwood Hotels / SPG / Total Rewards / → All Tags
Aside from redeeming and earning SPG points at the Westin Casaurina just off the Strip or at the Element Las Vegas way out in the Vegas burbs, there hasn't been much opportunity for Starwood Preferred Guests to make the most of their Vegas Vacation. Until now.
Yesterday, SPG and Caesars' Entertainment's players club program, Total Rewards, announced a new partnership that will give program members "the ability to both earn and redeem Starpoints and Reward Credits when staying at participating Starwood or Caesars Entertainment hotels."
This is tre similar to the sharing program launched over the summer by Hyatt Hotels and MGM Resorts. The SPG-Total Rewards program will officially launch on January 9 but you can sign up at spg.com/caesars or totalrewards.com/spg in the meantime.
The key word here though is "participating." Right now, about 1,100 Starwood properties are participating. That's most of Starwood's portfolio but it does leaves out about a few hundred hotels. Just FYI.
Below is the nitty gritty of what the program entails including point redemptions and the types of SPG Moments that you can purchase in Vegas. (HELLO, BRITNEY!!!)
Celebrity Scoop / HotelChatter Interviews / Ben Folds Five / Starwood Hotels / SPG / Westin Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Music / Hotel Parties / Manhattan Hotels / Motels / Red Roof Inns / Howard Johnson Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
About a dozen Westin heavenly beds were hauled up to the hotel's third floor ballroom, where select SPG members got cozy and settled in for a private performance by indie trio Ben Folds Five. It's not every day you get to watch a live concert in bed!
But that wasn't the only exciting thing about the grand opening. Earlier in the day, HotelChatter got to sit down for an exclusive interview with the band and quiz them on their early days in the 90s as motel-hopping road warriors. Sure enough, they had plenty of stories to share...
HotelChatter: When you guys were just starting out and traveling to different cities each night, what was it like? Where would you stay?
Ben Folds: The Knight's Inn. Usually, one of us would book the room as if it was just for one person, and the others would hide out in the van and wait. The reason being, if there was more than one of us, the price would go up. So then we'd get into the room; someone would share a bed, I usually blew up a mattress and slept on the floor.
HC:: And how much did you have to pay?
BF: $39.95 usually. We would use whatever cash we'd gotten from the night before.
When we were checking out the W Scottsdale yesterday, our guide pointed out the hotel's bottled water selection, found in all the rooms.
On offer was two types of Fiji water ($3 and $2), a bottle of Smart water ($6) and one Nestle water ($1). But members of Starwood's Preferred Guest program actually get bottled water for free. (Just one and it's the cheaper Nestle kind.)
This free water perk used to be available to the elite tiers of the SPG program but now it's free to all members, even those who sign up on the spot. So, is this a nice perk for members, regardless of the member status, or a clever way to sign up the especially parched to SPG? You decide. Just remember, SPG's new perks go into effect on March 1.