Update on the Amazing $30 Rate at The Phoenician

by on March 29, 2013 · 35 comments

in Starwood

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On Tuesday I wrote about an amazing deal at The Phoenician Hotel where you could book a stay for $30 per night between December 11th and 31st through

Phoenician 30
As of today it seems that Starwood has sent out a batch of emails to those who booked:

“I am contacting you today in regards to your December 2013 reservations for The Phoenician.

Unfortunately, due to a systems error on March 27, the resort temporarily listed the incorrect and very low accommodation rate of $30 per night. While the Terms & Conditions on our website indicate the right to cancel if a reservation resulted from a mistake or error, we value your business and would like to extend an exclusive, discounted rate of $130 per night, as well as double SPG points for this stay. Currently, the correct, available rate for December 2013 is more than $400, providing you with a savings in excess of $300 per night.

We hope you will accept our redress regarding this matter. However, as this was indeed an exceptional circumstance, we are also giving you the opportunity to cancel your reservation(s) without penalty. We hope to hear from you soon so we may discuss and either finalize your accommodations, or cancel the reservations. To connect with a member of our Customer Service team please email us [email protected]

If we do not hear from you by April, 12th, 2013 we will assume you no longer want to keep your reservations and we will cancel them on your behalf.”

I think this is fair on Starwood’s part since they could have unilaterally cancelled all of the reservations, similar to how United canceled all tickets when there was a mistake Hong Kong award fare.

I also give Starwood and the hotel props for acting quickly, especially since all of these reservations are 7+ months away. While it would be great if they were honored, you win some and lose some and in this situation it seems like a potential for a win-win- great rates (still over 50% standard prices) and bonus points opportunities and the hotel doesn’t completely get clobbered, though I’m sure there will still be a financial hit.

Do you think Starwood's offer of $130 a night and double points is reasonable?

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Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Ben Price

    I think this is a reasonable response. Beats: (1) just having the reservations outright cancelled and (2) cancelled with a response like “here’s 2,000 Starpoints for your trouble, adios” $130 isn’t $30, but it’s still over 50% off normal, and for December, a fantastic deal!

  • Jason

    For the people who voted “No” this wasn’t fair…could you invite me over to lunch at your glass house?

  • Carrie

    $130 is an exceptional rate for this property. I live in the area and it is a GORGEOUS resort. They offer summer rates as many resorts do during the intense heat of AZ summers, but it is never this low. It’s really an amazing deal in my opinion and very generous considering they simply could have canceled and given everyone NOTHING.

  • DrSifu

    I vote “No” only because this is a way to start a conversation with Starwood. Westin NY honored their mistake fare last year. Numerous other occasions where mistake fares have been honored. Not saying I am going to take this all the way to the Supreme Court, but a few more emails won’t hurt Starwood.

  • stef

    I booked a 3-night stay and I also received the email this afternoon. While this is a reasonable offer, why do I feel like I am forced to compensate SPG with an additional $100 a night for THEIR mistake?!? I would rather have some Starpoints and move along. But if you think that the hotel will take some sort of financial hit on the deal, that almost motivates me enough to stay there. Hmmm.

  • Ben Price

    Just for reference sake, I paid over $600 for a similar room at this property last year. You’re not paying an additional $100 for their mistake. Look at it this way…you’re paying over $400 less because of their mistake.

  • Mooper

    It’s reasonable for anyone who didn’t rely to their financial detriment on the rate being honored by booking matching non-refundable airfare, etc. Anyone who did so could easily make a case to have the mistake honored (or to otherwise be made whole). Absent such damages, however, Starwood is offering something very generous and acting professionally.

  • trajan81

    Seeing that its a mistake fare due to a technology issue, I find it a VERY reasonable deal, and look forward to spending some time in AZ this winter. I personally expected them to cancel the deal outright.

  • Ben Hughes

    Does anyone know exactly what they mean by “double starpoints”? As a gold, I already get double, and will be platinum by then and get triple. So when they say “double starpoints”, does that mean I’ll get 6 starpoints per dollar (2 * 3 I normally get), or 4 starpoints per dollar (“double” the non-elite one, plus 2 more for plat)?

  • Ben Hughes

    If the former, I’d say this is a very generous offer. That basically means 8 starpoints per dollar as plat (6 + 2 per dollar spent on SPG card), which valued at 2.5 cents basically yields a 20% discount on the $130 rate.

  • thepointsguy

    I’m sure double base points (so 4x per dollar)

  • Ben Senise

    This is a fair compromise because $30 is a arguably a mistake fare.

    Contrast that with Sheraton Pasadena’s royal screwing over of a number of people who made legitimate, i.e. not mistake fare, bookings. The hotel is simply cancelling people’s bookings without any compensation and essentially telling them “tough luck” despite people having booked travel and bought rose parade tickets.

    Check out the post on the FlyerTalk Starwood forum:

  • garyst16

    If anyone that voted no actually booked the rate at $30 and is not going to use their $130 nights, please email me and I will gladly take them off your hands!

  • jmw2323

    they aren’t forcing you. feel free to cancel

  • Amy

    I did not get that email….yet…

  • Alexander Hickman

    I wish Avis’ did something similar to this…..

  • BobChi

    I understand the curiosity value of this topic, but this is getting very close to free advertising, I would think. And if you’re going to do that, don’t play along with the “resort fee” scam. You cannot get a room for $130. It is $130 plus a mandatory resort fee of $29, which means any honest advertising – and even if the property isn’t honest, we could be – should state the price as $159. I know there is a segment of the hotel industry which loves to lie about its prices by breaking them down into a publicized base price and a hidden “resort fee” that really should by law be required to be part of the upfront total. We do not need to play along with that racket, and when we do we motivate it. We should state the real prices when we discuss these matters. I understand that $159 is still a very much reduced price at this facility, but let’s be accurate.

  • schmenge

    “we are also giving you the opportunity to cancel your reservation(s) without penalty.” Seriously?Geez, thanks.


    Except that Starwood retains the right to unilaterally cancel reservations, so one cannot ever detrimentally rely on a reservation, given that it can always be cancelled.

  • Dude

    Same thoughts at you, Stef. I have a six-night stay booked for mid-December. It’s not worth an impromptu trip to AZ at $130 + resort fee. If they’d toss me some starwood points, I’d be much happier.

  • Mooper

    Could you cite that section? Even if so, it doesn’t dismiss the notion that you can be justifiably reliant upon the reservation in booking airfare. If there were no circumstance where this was true, they could cancel upon your arrival “just because” and leave you hanging without consequence.

  • Ben

    No – and thanks to Westin NY for honoring the error rate last year – the property survived and made obviously a lot of new friends !

  • Vince

    I feel like this is not a good compromise because it’s a marketing gimmick. They make an “error” and get tons of interest and posts on deal websites. So then people flock for a $30 rate. It’s a classic bait and switch. Everyone is baited with thirty bucks and then offered a still reasonable deal, but the hotel guarantees a high occupancy many months out. Now they can price remaining rooms at a high price. That’s why I voted no.

  • Matt

    If I sufficiently mispell my name on an airline reservation, I get hit w/ a fine (cancellation fee.) If I enter the wrong dates, by accident: same thing.

    But large businesses can just say…”Oooppss, we didn’t mean it!” They entered into a legally binding contract at $30/ night. END OF STORY!

    Don’t let them get off the hook that easily!

  • Vincent Delaney

    I feel like this deal is fine, but it also looks like a classic bait and switch. They make an “error” that garners huge interest. Blogs report the great deal and everyone books a great deal. They pull the initial deal and offer up another deal that’s not as desirable. They end up filling vacancies far in advance based off of the free advertising and buzz. Not a terrible deal, but they should stand behind the initial deal.

  • jmw2323

    exactly. it’s not an unlimited deal as there are only so many days and so many rooms. My response mentioned it could easily have been a B & S

  • jmw2323

    i responded to the original email mentioning that this could easily be a bait and switch. I requested SPG points as an alternate. No response as yet

  • Craig

    My sentiments exactly.

  • wwittman

    When a supermarket tags an item, they are bound by law to sell that item at that price. Even if they tagged it in error.
    An advertised price SHOULD be an offer of contract.

    It’s a flaw in the law that it isn’t.
    It’s their error; honour the price.

  • YesMissWin

    I still haven’t received an email and my reservations are still in tact at the $30 price. Anyone else in my boat? Does it have anything to do with status? I’m Plat 50+ nights

  • Jtgray

    It technically wasn’t legally binding, read their Terms and Conditions.

  • Eric

    I asked if I could pay with starpoints and the offer was refused. Any other updates?

  • Adam

    FYI, I have been emailing SPG Exec Cust Service about this and have confirmed two things.

    1. The $29/nt resort fee is in fact waived for SPG Platinums
    2. If you accept the $130/nt rate the new cancellation policy is 72 hours (orig was prepaid)

    #2 convinced me to confirm the reservation, can always cancel later.

  • Cindy B

    I booked 4 nights for mid December. I received a confirmation and the charge from the Phoenician has posted to my American Express as well. I have yet to receive any further emails from Starwood regarding my reservation. Unless they’re sending out their “Oops! we messed up!” emails in batches, it’s looking like I might get an awesome deal on a warm weather break for Christmas this year.

  • Guest

    Has anyone received any updates on this?

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