August 05, 2002
Reservation Conversation

Westin Reservations, can I help you?
Yes, hi, I'm getting married in October, and I already have a block of rooms set aside for guests at the Sheraton Palo Alto. Now I'd like to see about reserving a room for me and the groom for the wedding night at the Westin Palo next door.
When will you be traveling?
We're not traveling. It's our WEDDING NIGHT. We're getting married on October 6.
For how many nights?
And how many people will be in the room?
Uh, since it's our WEDDING NIGHT, it'll be just the two of us.
Would you like a king or two double beds?
It being our WEDDING NIGHT and all, I was thinking one bed would be sufficient.
And are you traveling with any conventions or groups?
You mean outside of the wedding party?
OK, I guess that would be no. Do you need a suite?
Well, a honeymoon suite would be nice, yes.
Our standard suites are $439 per night.
Our regular room rate is $299 per night.
So are there no wedding night specials or honeymoon suites?
There are no romance packages available.
You're telling me!

This was an actual conversation with one of the Westin reservations agents I talked to (it might be slightly paraphrased—unlike them, I wasn't recording the conversation for quality assurance purposes). I talked to three different agents over the course of the day, mainly because I was trying to get one who would respond to the words "WEDDING NIGHT." None did.

I called around to a few other hotels, but I kind of had my heart set on the Westin. It's next door to the Sheraton, so we could visit with friends and family who are staying there after the wedding reception, and yet still have some privacy. Plus, I love their Heavenly Beds. And of course, it's convenient to home, only no cats waking us up at 7am.

After calling around and finding only one hotel that had a wedding night package ($399 and up), I hit upon an idea: Use Your Starpoints, Stupid! I joined Starwood Preferred Guest a couple years ago because I was traveling to a lot of conferences that used Starwood properties, and I continued staying at Starwood hotels because of my affection for the aforementioned Heavenly Bed and for Starwood's stylish W Hotels. There are also a lot of Starwood properties in Hawaii, one of my favorite destinations.

In the past three years or so, I've managed to amass 14620 Starpoints. Not a staggering amount, I grant you, but enough to earn a free night at the Westin Palo Alto. And, believe it or not, when I called the Starwood Preferred Guest Redemption Center number, I finally got the reservations agent I'd been wanting all along: one with some sense—and a sense of humor. He totally got the "wedding night" thing and agreed that we didn't need to spend extra points on the Westin Office room. He actually laughed when I said, "I don't think we'll be needing a fax/printer." When he said, "ok, I've got you booked for a standard room," and I said, "Wait! I want to make sure it's a King/Non-Smoking," he replied: "I wouldn't book you in a room with two double beds on your wedding night!", and he laughed again. When everything was set, I'd checked my remaining Starpoint balance, and I'd thanked him for his help, he said, "thank you for calling Starwood Preferred Guest, and congratulations on your wedding." Yep, he got it. I only wish I'd gotten his name, so I could send him a thank you note.

Heavenly Bed, here we come!

Posted by Lori at August 05, 2002 06:31 PM