Are Certain Starwood Hotel Properties Limiting Free Night Awards Only to Single-Occupancy Rooms?

This is the entrance to the Hotel Des Indes, Den Haag — where the redemption of Starpoints is supposedly good only for free award nights in single-occupancy rooms. Photograph by FlyerTalk member Anglo Large Clawed Otter. Click on the photograph for additional photographs by Anglo Large Clawed Otter, as well as a discussion pertaining to this hotel property.

If you are married or have a significant other who has been patient with you as you have traveled frequently — especially when you travel on business — away from home for days or weeks at a time, you might want to reward them with a trip to a place anywhere in the world where they would like to visit, using your frequent travel loyalty program points or miles at hotel properties and on airline flights.
FlyerTalk member SAN-man has reported that at the Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam — which participates as A Luxury Collection Hotel of the Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest loyalty program — you can “do a standard Starpoint redemption” only if you are a solo traveler: “Previously, you could book a standard award (12K pts) for 2 adults, and you were booked into a deluxe king room. My father did just this last summer, online with no issues. Now, the hotel is saying that Starpoint redemptions are only valid for the ‘classic room.’ The issue is that they will not allow 2 people to book into a classic room, either for cash or using points. As soon as you change a search from 1 person to 2, the classic room disappears from availability. So, the hotel is effectively not allowing any standard Starpoint redemptions – at any time – for parties of 2.”
Apparently, at least one other hotel property is engaging in a similar policy: “The same is true for the Des Indes hotel in The Hague – standard redemptions are for single bed rooms only”, posted FlyerTalk member Stoontje.
In response, FlyerTalk member Starwood Lurker III — also known as Christina Zhou, who is a social media specialist for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide — responded that “the hotel is allowed to set single standard room occupancy” and that “According to the terms and conditions, ‘Free Night Awards are each valid for one free night, single and/or double standard room occupancy at participating properties, and include the cost of your hotel room and room tax/service charge.’”
The reaction from FlyerTalk member heakja reflected how many fellow FlyerTalk members feel about this policy: “Holy cow…so you have to travel alone in order to redeem a free night ‘award’ at this hotel? Couldn’t this lead to other spg hotels creating small single rooms and only offer THEM to members who want to use their hard-earned points? Bad policy, bad customer service.”
When FlyerTalk member Starwood Lurker IV — also known as Jesus Partal, who is another social media specialist for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide — campaigned for FlyerTalk members to vote for the Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest loyalty program for the 2014 Freddie Awards, FlyerTalk member tattikat2 responded: “I for one will wait for the outcome to the question asked in this thread…before deciding which program to vote for.”
I do not believe that the responses posted by most FlyerTalk members in the discussion pertaining to the 2014 Freddie Awards were exactly for what Starwood Lurker IV was aiming — but I digress.
With FlyerTalk members looking for and demanding clarification on the policy in question pertaining to hotel properties limiting free night awards only to single-occupancy rooms, FlyerTalk member Starwood Lurker — also known as William R. Sanders, who is the original social media specialist posting on FlyerTalk for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide — is seeking to get a definitive official answer on the policy, stating that “We will see what SPG says about this particular situation when the answer comes.”
If indeed the official word from administrators of the Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest loyalty program is that this seemingly unpopular policy will be upheld, FlyerTalk member Dr. HFH posits this thought: “And what happens if you have a guest in a single occupancy room? How would they prove it? 3 a.m. bed check?”
  1. All very true indeed, and the first hotel to do so probably. I see the arguments and agree with them and would find it very very sad if we’d go that way. But, by analogy, do we have the same view on airlines never putting 2 award seats in F available ? Roughly half of the dozen of companies that offer real first class long haul have this policy (at least on popular routes / dates) I would guess. And to be fair, personally, I’d rather pay my hotel night than paying the 2nd F seat longhaul…
    Just a thought…

    1. I believe you have brought up an excellent point, rvdsna. I am curious to see if other FlyerTalk members agree with you…

  2. I stay enough nights to keep top tier status in at least two programs. It has always been Marriott and one other, most recently IHG. I was considering giving SPG a spin. This makes it an easy decision. Regardless of the final answer from SPG, just the fact that this is a possibility scares me away. I ONLY use my points for travel with wife and/or kids. Never solo travel. With Marriott & IHG I can book any room I want — so long as I have enough points for the room I choose. Points that are only good for single occupancy rooms are worth nothing to me. I would suspect that nearly all frequent travelers whose company pays for their business travel would feel the same way.

  3. While I fully agree with wcthomps that this policy will be bad for SPG if implemented, I am a bit surprised to see that someone who only uses points to travel with wife and/or kids would even consider IHG as a valid program to bother for a top-tier status. I am in the same boat but I’ve been avoiding IHG precisely because of that.
    IHG policy officially precludes any room upgrades, even for Platinum Elites, for Reward nights. Meaning that you will be stuck with the basic room you have booked.
    On the other hand with SPG there are no restrictions on upgrades for reward stays, and so far as a Plat I have been upgraded every time, including most times into a suite.
    Also IHG has zero extended check-out benefits for top-tier (they claim 2pm but it’s purely at the discretion of the hotel) while SPG top-tier get guaranteed 4pm check-out confirmed in most hotels.
    As a result I have been carefully avoiding IHG and have been collecting status within SPG and Hilton until now.

  4. It strangely sounds like discrimination against couples to me …..Single, sure no problem, OH, married? well, couples are not permitted….only 1/2 joking but doesn’t it seem like an odd rule to favor Solo over 2 people like that.
    If this is the new reality whats the point of booking biz stays with SPG to reward your family/companions with personal stays. I like SPG plat so hope this issue gets fixed before it spreads. Next they will want 2x the points for 2 quests in the same room.

  5. In the original discussion thread it is seldom mentioned that you can always redeem for double occupancy even at the hotels mentioned in the post, only it will cost about 8% more in points. So it’s not that the hotels don’t allow redemptions for 2 people, they offer the “standard” redemption for single bed rooms, and if you want to have double occupancy, you have to pay a bit more. I’m not happy with this, and I hope this issue gets clarified, but I just wanted to mention this.

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