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Here at TPG, one of our favorite mottos is “it never hurts to ask.” When it came to an unsatisfactory stay at a Starwood property recently, TPG Contributor Akash Gupta took this advice to heart and was pleasantly surprised by SPG customer service’s response.
When I first started following The Points Guy about two years ago, the one piece of advice that immediately stuck with me is that it never hurts to ask. Whether you’re after upgrades, freebies or reparations for subpar service, a polite request can do wonders. And you don’t necessarily have to be an influential blogger or even a top-tier elite to get your way.
During a recent one-night stay at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, I was less than satisfied with the completely unusable Wi-Fi in my room, as well as a strong, musty smell within. Now, I’m not an IT specialist but I was able to ascertain that the internet issues were due to the room’s location — rather than any paranormal signal disturbances due to the Gunter Hotel’s haunted past.
Normally, this wouldn’t have been a big deal and wouldn’t have soured my stay. But my friend, with whom I was traveling, had an important Skype interview that same night. Upon approaching the front desk with these issues, we didn’t get the result we were looking for — which was a change of rooms, having just checked in. We did, however, receive an apology and were informed that the internet was working well in the lobby and lounge, and she was welcome to use either.
We were also assured that the smell would be taken care of, but the effort seemed half-hearted. Despite the inconvenience, we did enjoy our stay in San Antonio due to the hotel’s central location — within walking distance to almost everything. Still, I wondered what the point of in-room Wi-Fi was if the common areas were so much better to stay and work in.
A few days after checking out, I emailed Starwood customer support, politely explaining my disappointment with our stay at the property and how much I enjoyed staying with them on other occasions. The very next day, I got a personalized, empathetic email from the hotel manager apologizing for my bad experience, as well as a message from an SPG Gold representative who kindly offered to refund the cost of my award, plus an extra 1,000 Starpoints for the trouble! (Note that my Gold status is exclusively through The Platinum Card from American Express, as I’m not a very regular Starwood guest, having attained only 10 lifetime nights since starting a few months ago.)
There’s no harm in asking for something nicely, or politely expressing your displeasure to customer service, no matter who you may be. I’m thankful for the considerate response I received from the SPG customer support team regarding this matter, which makes me look forward to staying at a Starwood property again in the future.
Have you ever received a points refund after an unsatisfactory hotel stay?
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