I Got My Starwood Ambassador - Now What?
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Among the many enhancements to its elite status program Starwood made last year, they extended their Ambassador Concierge service to all Platinum members who stayed 100+ nights per year. I didn't actually stay in Starwood hotels 100 nights- I got the Personal and Business SPG Amex cards on the same day, which each give 2 stays/5 nights towards status and I also booked rooms for a bunch of other people who traveled with me, since Starwood now allows you to get night credits for up to three rooms per stay as long as you stay. Well, by the end of December I finally hit my 100-night mark for 2012 back, and I was recently contacted by my very own Ambassador named Karen.
Here's what she had to say:
"Dear Mr. Kelly,
Good day! I hope this email finds you well. I am Karen from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
First, I want to congratulate you for staying 100+ nights with us! You are definitely in elite company and we’re thrilled to extend an exclusive invitation to you – custom-tailored service to provide exceptional one-on-one care beyond Platinum Concierge. Because you’ve achieved this milestone, I'm reaching out to you to introduce myself as your personal Ambassador.
I’ll be your single point of contact for all of your needs, and I am backed by a global team of Ambassadors who are ready to assist you 24/7. Whether it’s hotel reservations, trip planning, transportation, restaurant recommendations, special events, or assistance with your Starwood Preferred Guest account, I am here for you. I will ensure our hotels are prepared to make each and every stay a fantastic experience, personalized just for you.
I look forward to assisting you with all of your needs through this time. If you continue to stay 100 nights each year, you will be guaranteed this exclusive service year after year.
If you have any special requests or specific preferences for any upcoming trips, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to make all of the necessary arrangements. I have provided my contact information so you may phone or email me directly.
Again, congratulations on joining this elite invitation-only group of SPG Members. It is my pleasure to be your personal contact with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. I look forward to hearing from you soon!"
So theoretically Karen should be creating an entire profile for me based on my tastes and preferences - extra towels, turndown service, what I like from room service, etc. - and help ensure that on my Starwood stays these personalized amenities are provided, as well as hopefully ensuring that when possible I get upgraded thanks to my status without my having to go back and forth with the front desk and SPG online to ensure I get the upgrade I deserve, as happened recently at the St. Regis New York.
Too Good To Be True?
However, at least one TPG reader named Anthony has been left underwhelmed by his own SPG Ambassador experience listing a tally of his benefits in the 74 nights since he's had his own Ambassador:
-3 suite upgrades - only to standard suites not higher levels
-1 welcome amenity
-Extra towels and shower gel on just one stay
-Never acknowledged as Ambassador-serviced at check-in
-No flexibility with benefits like YOUR24 check-in, even if he only missed the deadline by an hour
Perhaps these quibbles sound minute, but as Starwood CEO Frits Van Paasschen stated in a BusinessWeek interview, the top 2% of Starwood's guests account for 30% of the company's profits, so I don't think this attention to detail would be misplaced.
Only time will tell how my Ambassador works out - and you can bet I'll be reporting on it - but have any other TPG readers gotten Ambassadors of their own? How has your experience been? What have you been able to ask them for, and what have they been able to deliver? Share your comments below!