The Oncoming Storm: Marriott/SPG Merger Information

As much as I was upset by the news of the merging of Starwood with Marriott, and I’m still not thrilled by the prospect, the recent news really is the best case for what we could hope for from an SPG member perspective. There are definitely some frustrating points involved, particularly for partner members (Delta and United alike), those that receive status from credit cards (American Express Platinum, for example), and those that focus on stays over nights to attain status.

Adding a spend “qualification” to receive Ambassador service does make sense given the property footprints of Starwood versus Marriott, but putting the price in USD is questionable as Gary points out. For those that spend a lot of time in countries with drastic currency conversion rates, it might require a ridiculous number of days to attain this tier of status. Bundling Your24 with this tier is also a little frustrating, but again with the substantially increased footprint, I can understand wanting to make this more exclusive.

Given Marriott’s relationship with United, the announcement that the relationship with Delta will be ending soon isn’t really a surprise. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed earning points with both at the same time, so this will be missed. With old Platinum Premier Elites, when this tier was invitation-only, receiving Untied Gold, it’s unclear if there will be a new influx of United Gold members as well.

I appreciate that the new Lifetime Status qualifications are based on nights and years, not on points/spend. Plus: breakfast at more properties which can save a decent chunk of change. All things considered, it could be much worse!

Four Points by Sheraton (San Diego, CA) – Whirlpool Suite

After last week’s travel meltdown, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on the road. I knew there would be some cascading issues that lingered with all the disruptions to Delta (which translated to a little more than an hour delay on my flight to San Diego), so I went in expecting the worst.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

Not only did Avis give me one hell of a fun car for the week (Camaro SS!), the Four Points I was staying at upgraded me to one of their suites. Being my first visit to a Four Points, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was safe to say I was blown away by everything it had.

Surprise Number One

One of the nice things about having Avis First is that you get upgrades from time to time upon arrival at your rental location (not to mention the ability to pick out a new car if you don’t like the one you were assigned).

As I landed, I checked my email to see what I would be driving this week, and I definitely did a double-take. Though I’ve been given cars like Charger R/Ts in the past, this was my first Camaro, and to have it be an SS was icing on the cake.

Ooooh baby… that engine!

The Hotel

The Four Points has two restaurants (Citrus, where breakfast is served, and the Montfield Bar), a swimming pool and fitness center, and on-site golfing. Though located a fair distance from downtown, it is still quite well positioned for a variety of activities. There is even a shuttle to the airport (which is quite nice, as parking is not complimentary).

The interior isn’t particularly remarkable in terms of decoration, but it is very well-maintained. There are trees placed throughout as well, which is quite nice. The trees make it feel a lot more open and adds a nice touch. I’m not sure if other hotels could pull it off, but the Four Points does it well!

Surprise Number Two

I wasn’t too surprised as I entered the room, as it had fairly standard furnishings in the “living room” area, but as I made my way into the bedroom, I was wow-ed.

Entering the room: swanky!
Traditional King bed and another TV

In a nook to the side of the bed, on the way to the bathroom, was a Whirlpool!

Surprise! Whirlpool!

Continuing into the bathroom, I noticed that the trend of spacious elegance continued with the shower and counter area with the sink. There was even a bidet in a separate room with the toilet!

Swanky shower!
Lots of space on the counters

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised this week and can definitely see myself coming back to this hotel.

@SPG & @Marriott Q1 Promotion

Starwood, now part of Marriott, has announced their Q1 promotion for 2017. Called SPG Double Take, you earn double-points on your first three stays and some decent bonuses beyond that. An extra 10,000 points once you hit 20 nights, for example.

Promotion Details

You can register on the SPG Promo Dashboard. Registration is between December 15th and March 15th, and the stays have to be completed between January 16th and April 15th.

Read up on the details over at One Mile at a Time!

On Track for @spg Ambassador Status! #spglife #spg100

Thanks to some upcoming travel over the next few weeks, I am on track for attaining Ambassador Status with the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The SPG website describes what this offers for you:

The more your ambassador gets to know you over time, the more he or she can provide the personal touches that make each trip special. Whether it’s an early arrival, shopping, a meeting venue or a restaurant for a client dinner, your ambassador will scope out the local scene to find the best your destination has to offer.


I’m really looking forward to this – having a single point-person for all my bookings would make things a lot more interesting! This takes the idea of a concierge to a whole new level, and I am thoroughly impressed. I hope this isn’t lost when the Starwood-Marriott merger goes through.

Ambassadors in action

Starwood Preferred Guest (@spg): More For You Promotion Active

Starwood Preferred Guest’s quarterly promotion (“More for You”) has become active. You have to register before November 30th, and you will earn extra points for stays between September 12th and December 18th.

You can find a list of participating properties on the promotion website, as well as the FAQ.

More for You
More for You

Earning is straightforward: you get a multiplier based on the length of your stay and if it crosses into the weekend. One catch is that Sunday nights do not count as weekend nights; only Friday and Saturday nights will cause a 3x multiplier to be applied.