I've just checked in at Hotel Des Indes in The Hague for the night, having booked a standard room not too long ago. I also hold Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum, which entitles me to an upgrade to the highest available ‘normal' suite. For this hotel this is the Junior Suite.
Upon arriving at the reception I asked the check-in agent what room I was placed in. She said an “Executive Room”. When I asked if there were any Junior Suites available, she said they were sold out and so that's why I was in the room I was.
Fine. I took my keys and went to my room with a raised eyebrow. Perhaps I should have behaved more Dutch and told her bluntly I didn't believe her. I had checked Suite availability only this morning.
Junior Suites don't tend to sell out that easily in this hotel. They're simply too expensive. So checking the hotel's website for tonight after entering my Executive Room, here's what I saw:
So being dissatisfied with what I saw I called SPG Platinum customer service line to inform them about this situation. At first he was reluctant to help, quoting this kind of debate was “out of his scope”, but I asserted him to ask his supervisor.I was put on hold for around 10 minutes whilst he consulted his manager and also called the General Manager of Hotel Des Indes.
The phone agent said someone would come to my door soon.Sure enough before I'd hung up the General Manager had come to meet me in person and to show the available Junior Suite. The reason for this being available?
The phone agent's excuse: He was told by the GM that they had already acknowledged my elite status with the single upgrade, and they already thought my Executive room was better than the available Junior Suite. I immediately dismissed the first part as bullshit and dishonest to the terms of the SPG programme. I wasn't inclined to believe the latter either.
The GM's excuse: The check-in girl was “fairly new” and so didn't know the rules so clearly. Whilst I don't think I've seen her before, I'd imagine it's within their training to know that Platinums get upgraded to the best available room…after all this Flyertalk thread gives all positive reviews of Platinum member services.
This kind of upgrade kerfuffle tends to happen a lot at SPG properties. Sure I can understand they don't want to give away one of their highest revenue rooms for free, but I really shouldn't have to argue for something that's their published incentive and to which I'm entitled. Thankfully I'm now in the Junior Suite and the GM even gave me a complementary drinks voucher to compensate. Maybe I'll just pick the champagne in the minibar eh? 😉