Point Credit from SPG Not Given When Booked Thru Liberty Travel

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Nov 18, 2015
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#1
I booked a trip through Liberty Travel to St. John and stayed at the Westin St. John Resort on September 25th - October 1, 2015. I was not granted point credit for my stay.

Before I began my trip, my travel agent confirmed that he spoke with Westin St. John directly and gave them my SPG member number (Starwood Resorts Preferred Guest)

I spoke with a Rep from Starwood on October 17th, and she advised me that she is not able to access the reservation and that the reservation is showing that it was a “wholesale booking”. I am not sure why this reservation is appearing that way but I paid FULL PRICE. When I made this reservation I simply walked into Liberty Travel and made the booking. I am not affiliated with them or anyone at the agency.

While I was price checking at the Liberty Travel office, I noticed that the Westin St. John website offered a better rate than what Liberty Travel was offering me. I brought this to the agent’s attention and he was able to provide me with a price match to the Westin St. John Resort's website rate. Other than the price match, there were no other discounts or wholesale rates applied.

I contacted Starwood and they told me it must be an “eligible rate” in order to receive the credit. I believe this booking was point eligible and I feel I should not be penalized for how the Travel Agency booked it. I reviewed Starwood's terms and conditions and it does say that Wholesale Rates are not eligible but I did not use a wholesale company or get a wholesale rate, I simply just booked Air and Hotel through an agency.

So I guess my question is this; since I booked through an agency, am I not eligible for point credit from the hotel?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#2
Probably not, Janice. I learned this on a tour to Egypt when I didn't receive any points for three stays at Hilton properties that were included in the tour. The hotel pays a commission to an agent and/or tour operator, so they don't award points for the stays. Providing the hotel with your membership number hopefully grants you some perks while you were there (we had a fabulous suite at the Cairo Hilton), but no points.

That doesn't mean you can't contact Starwood formally (an email to customer service) and request the points for your stay. This is an interesting case, please let us know the outcome.
 
Sep 23, 2015
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#3
I can confirm what @judyserienagy wrote. Accor hotel (Sofitel, Mercure, Novotel, Ibis, etc.) stays booked through Booking.com, and presumable other similar booking services, do not get "points." This is to make up for the booking fee paid to these sites, travel agents, etc.

Many people on this site advise always booking directly with the hotel chain and that will assure you get the points credited to your account. However, sometimes these booking sites have special discounts that may not be available from the hotel. I have received more than 50% off of some last minute rates from Booking.com that I never would have been aware of had I tried the hotel directly. Also, sites like Booking.com are a godsend when you are in the car, in a foreign country, and it is starting to get dark and you want to know what is available in a specific area, or just near you. Like most tools, pick the right one for the job ;-)
 
Likes: jsn55
Aug 28, 2015
3,729
2,896
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#5
I booked a trip through Liberty Travel to St. John and stayed at the Westin St. John Resort on September 25th - October 1, 2015. I was not granted point credit for my stay.

Before I began my trip, my travel agent confirmed that he spoke with Westin St. John directly and gave them my SPG member number (Starwood Resorts Preferred Guest)

I spoke with a Rep from Starwood on October 17th, and she advised me that she is not able to access the reservation and that the reservation is showing that it was a “wholesale booking”. I am not sure why this reservation is appearing that way but I paid FULL PRICE. When I made this reservation I simply walked into Liberty Travel and made the booking. I am not affiliated with them or anyone at the agency.

While I was price checking at the Liberty Travel office, I noticed that the Westin St. John website offered a better rate than what Liberty Travel was offering me. I brought this to the agent’s attention and he was able to provide me with a price match to the Westin St. John Resort's website rate. Other than the price match, there were no other discounts or wholesale rates applied.

I contacted Starwood and they told me it must be an “eligible rate” in order to receive the credit. I believe this booking was point eligible and I feel I should not be penalized for how the Travel Agency booked it. I reviewed Starwood's terms and conditions and it does say that Wholesale Rates are not eligible but I did not use a wholesale company or get a wholesale rate, I simply just booked Air and Hotel through an agency.

So I guess my question is this; since I booked through an agency, am I not eligible for point credit from the hotel?
I can confirm what @judyserienagy wrote. Accor hotel (Sofitel, Mercure, Novotel, Ibis, etc.) stays booked through Booking.com, and presumable other similar booking services, do not get "points." This is to make up for the booking fee paid to these sites, travel agents, etc.

Many people on this site advise always booking directly with the hotel chain and that will assure you get the points credited to your account. However, sometimes these booking sites have special discounts that may not be available from the hotel. I have received more than 50% off of some last minute rates from Booking.com that I never would have been aware of had I tried the hotel directly. Also, sites like Booking.com are a godsend when you are in the car, in a foreign country, and it is starting to get dark and you want to know what is available in a specific area, or just near you. Like most tools, pick the right one for the job ;-)
@Berkinet2 welcone back!
@Janice Hearne As the others explained, unfortunately you don't earn points for 3rd party bookings, unless it's American Express or another partner's site. I just was on the phone with SPG about something else and I asked them your question and they said you would not receive points in your situation. You were on the right track, though. Next time instead of having the agent meet your price, you should have the hotel meet the third party price.

However, you might as well write SPG a letter and request the points. Let them know you made a huge mistake and the travel agent didn't explain but you love starwood and can't wait to plan your next trip, etc.....They may award them anyway. Be sure to include your reservation number (not the number from your travel agent but the confirmation number that appears on your folio- call the Westin and ask them what it is if you are not sure). With that number SPG will be able to access your reservation and confirm how many points you would have earned (nightly rate, food (no drinks), phone calls, etc (no gratuities). Actually you may want to call the hotel directly, especially if they remember you, and just ask them if they submitted your reservation to starwood as your points haven't posted yet. See what they say. While there are rules, there is also latitude for the research Dept there to make independent decisions based on other factors so it is worth pursuing.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#6
Starwood changed their program and unless you book directly through Starwood, you don't get points for your stay. This changed over a year ago and Liberty should have told you this as it was announced to all travel agencies.

Marriott had done the same thing.
 
Likes: Mike Z

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#7
I agree with the other answers, I think you have a legitimate complaint with Liberty Travel. If you ask nicely you may be able to convince Starwood to give you some good will points that won't count towards elite status (which for me is more important than the points).
I agree that next time you should book directly with Starwood.
 
Likes: Tricia K.
Jan 8, 2015
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#9
Janice, while the terms may not allow you to get the points, there is nothing stopping you from appealing to the corporation for some goodwill points. We have their contact info listed by way of links at the top of the page here. Send a polite email explaining that you only wanted to stay at their hotel and assumed that when you gave them your rewards number that you would be taken care of. Start at the customer service email and work your way up as needed, waiting a week between contacts. (email one person at a time)

Alternatively, you may also want to contact the travel agent and inquire to a manager why you weren't told that you wouldn't earn any points, especially as you may have given your information to the agent. We go to agents for help and information, and when information is kept from you, that's just not right.
 
Nov 18, 2015
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#10
Thank you all for your information. When I wrote to Starwood the first time that upgraded me to gold status for 1 year (which doesn't help since I don't have another trip planned) but I will write to Starwood again and also make a phone call to the resort itself. I did contact the travel agency and he was shocked I didn't get any points since he, himself had called the resort to make sure my member number was on file.

I did get the points for food and drink.

Thank you all once again.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#11
Thank you all for your information. When I wrote to Starwood the first time that upgraded me to gold status for 1 year (which doesn't help since I don't have another trip planned) but I will write to Starwood again and also make a phone call to the resort itself. I did contact the travel agency and he was shocked I didn't get any points since he, himself had called the resort to make sure my member number was on file.

I did get the points for food and drink.

Thank you all once again.
It sounds like your agent wasn't very well informed by his bosses, as this was announced to travel agencies by Starwood. The issue is that Liberty apparently hasn't notified their agents - perhaps they don't want to lose the commission it would cost them to stop booking Starwood via their GDS systems.

I would also complain to Liberty Travels executive offices that the agent did not tell you this and that all agencies were sent notification by Starwood about this change. We got it and so did all the other agents I know.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#12
Your travel agent is really bad. Getting points has nothing to do with having your SPG number attached. Have you looked at the SPG site of app? It is very comprehensive. Check it out. Then you will know definitively what earns points and what doesn't. There are many ways to earn, outside of hotel bookings and with gold you will earn at an enhanced rate going forward. Keep at it with your letters. There is a gray area with Starwood bookings and polite persistence and a demonstration of loyalty (Chris would hate that sentence..... I agree) they may come around. Also, thwre are a few current promotions where you can earn double the points, once registered. Many of them, you can submit your reservation after the fact and still earn. Sorry, I'm super pro SPG right now. 6 months ago I hated them. I think they will give you the points :)
 
Jan 8, 2015
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#13
Thank you all for your information. When I wrote to Starwood the first time that upgraded me to gold status for 1 year (which doesn't help since I don't have another trip planned) but I will write to Starwood again and also make a phone call to the resort itself. I did contact the travel agency and he was shocked I didn't get any points since he, himself had called the resort to make sure my member number was on file.

I did get the points for food and drink.

Thank you all once again.
Ah, so they already gave you some goodwill gesture? When appealing you will want to mention this, but then point out that you really appreciate their upgrade status, but that you would rather have the points, if possible. Also, you say the gold status won't help you as you don't have travel planned, but usually if you do not acccumulate new points in a given period, the old points would expire anyway.

i would do as suggested above and contact the executives at the travel company. there is no excuse for them not knowing what other agents have said happened on their end. (Neil is an agent, as well as several others here)
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#14
Ah, so they already gave you some goodwill gesture? When appealing you will want to mention this, but then point out that you really appreciate their upgrade status, but that you would rather have the points, if possible. Also, you say the gold status won't help you as you don't have travel planned, but usually if you do not acccumulate new points in a given period, the old points would expire anyway.

i would do as suggested above and contact the executives at the travel company. there is no excuse for them not knowing what other agents have said happened on their end. (Neil is an agent, as well as several others here)
Large agencies don't book directly through Starwoods reservation system (or Marriotts) because they receive lower commission than booking through their GDS systems, and they also need to maintain volume. Hotels are now beginning to fight back to try to get bookings directly thus taking away point programs or in Marriotts case, perks like free internet, if the hotels aren't booked directly.

Smaller agencies that don't use GDS systems know to book directly through the hotel sites so the clients aren't losing anything by booking through them.

And now with Starwood and Marriott merging, it will be interesting to see how the loyalty programs will change down the road.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#15
Ah, so they already gave you some goodwill gesture? When appealing you will want to mention this, but then point out that you really appreciate their upgrade status, but that you would rather have the points, if possible. Also, you say the gold status won't help you as you don't have travel planned, but usually if you do not acccumulate new points in a given period, the old points would expire anyway.

i would do as suggested above and contact the executives at the travel company. there is no excuse for them not knowing what other agents have said happened on their end. (Neil is an agent, as well as several others here)
Nope. They didn't give her a goodwill gesture. Any SPG member can earn points by eating at a hotel without a corresponding stay. She earned points for the meals as if she just walked in and had dinner there and showed her SPG card at the end or emailed SPG a receipt copy.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#16
Hey, we got 2,000 Starwood points when we reported to the front desk seeing a mouse run down the hallway of the Westin New Orleans and run into room 1522. We were 1526 and happy it wasn't running into our room but we hoped they'd catch it before it came back out.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#17
@Janice Hearne I just realized something. You said up had no plans to travel in the next year, so why do you even care about starwood points? They expire in a year anyway if you have no account activity.
 
Jan 8, 2015
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#18
@Janice Hearne I just realized something. You said up had no plans to travel in the next year, so why do you even care about starwood points? They expire in a year anyway if you have no account activity.
That's what I said. ;)

BTW, she said "When I wrote to Starwood the first time that upgraded me to gold status for 1 year"

So yes, they did give her a goodwill gesture already.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#19
Sorry, Mike. I misunderstood. I was thinking goodwill as in something they didn't have to do. The gold thing would be great if she planned to travel but she doesn't so I am not sure why she wanted the points.
 
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