One of Florida’s biggest hotel transactions announced this week is the sale of The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida for $460 million. Affiliates of Thayer Lodging Group purchased the hotel, golf course and land properties for a total $535 million. This is the biggest real estate transaction in Florida this year.

One of the immediate effects is this announcement, The Westin Diplomat leaves Starwood October 30, 2014.

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida will be leaving the Starwood system on October 30, 2014.  Reservations for dates on or after October 30, 2014, will not be eligible for Starwood Preferred Guest membership benefits, award redemption or accrual.

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa is the largest hotel in Broward County, Florida at 998 rooms. The Westin Diplomat Resort was built for $800 million and opened in 2002. The hotel occupies the land of the former historic Diplomat Hotel, a luxury hotel opened in 1958 and closed in 1991.

Westin Diplomat-old hotel demolition

Historic Diplomat Hotel Hollywood, Florida opened in 1958 and closed in 1991. The 39-story Westin Diplomat opened on this site in 2002.

Starwood Hotels’ Westin Diplomat page has a history of the hotel from 1958-2002. Grab that page while you can.

Thayer owns several other hotels in South Florida: the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Center, the Marriott Courtyard Miami South, the Miami Airport Marriott and the Residence Inn Miami Airport South, all in Miami-Dade, as well as the DoubleTree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

Read more here:

None of the news stories state a new brand for the Westin Diplomat with the October 30 changeover. On FlyerTalk, this poster reveals a potential answer, stating the hotel staff were told the Diplomat will become a Hilton brand.

Westin Diplomat

Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa hotel Starwood Hotels website. Will it be a Hilton brand October 30, 2014?

Looks like Hilton is grabbing up Florida Hotels north and south.

Related Loyalty Traveler post: Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront rebrands to DoubleTree next year (August 30, 2014)

News sources for Westin Diplomat Sale:

Hollywood’s Westin Diplomat hotel sold in $535 million deal – Sun Sentinel (Aug 29, 2014)

Westin Diplomat properties sell for $535M – (Aug 29, 2014)

Historic Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood sold for $460 million – Miami Herald (Aug 29, 2014)

When the Starwood Tap into Luxury Game spin told me I had landed on the Westin Verasa Napa, I thought, NOT NAPA, they have already had too many objects landing on them there this week.

SPG Westin Verasa Napa game

Starwood Tap into Luxury game – Westin Verasa Napa

Through September 30, 2014, the Starwood Tap Into Luxury game gives you a chance to win an instant prize and an entry into the Grand Prize drawing for 250,000 points.

Starwood Tap to Luxury Game for 250,000 points

Instant prizes include:

  • 195 free night awards for up to category 5 hotels.
  • 390 awards for Starpoints in 500 points; 1,000 points or 5,000 points.
  • 156  iTunes cards $50.
  • 975 TicketMaster $50 cash codes.

Grand Prize is 250,000 Starpoints.

Westin Verasa Napa and I will have to wait on our meeting for luxury date.

SPG game sorry.

Good Luck.


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

SPG points to AAdvantage miles in less than 48 hours is simply a data point to let readers know that my transfer from Starwood Preferred Guest to American Airlines AAdvantage miles was initiated Sunday morning at 10:30am and the miles have posted to my AAdvantage account this morning.

The last time I transferred more than 100 Starpoints to airline frequent flyer miles was 2003 when I made a transfer of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 British Airways Executive Club for a First Class award ticket.

As a former SPG Platinum member I earned thousands of frequent flyer miles in promotions requiring airline partner transaction activity. SPG Platinum members have no minimum transfer level and there were a few times when exchanging 10 points or 100 Starpoints into frequent flyer miles earned thousands of bonus miles.

SPG Gold members are restricted to a minimum 1,500 Starpoints transfer for frequent flyer miles. SPG base members have a 2,500 Starpoints minimum transfer requirement.

There is no minimum Starpoint transfer requirement for Platinum members with most airlines. Gold members have a minimum transfer requirement of 1,500 Starpoints, and Preferred members have a minimum transfer requirement of 2,500 Starpoints.

Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Partners

This transfer to American Airlines allows me to book round trip economy class tickets from Monterey, California to Europe for the TBEX Athens travel blogger conference in October for 20,000 miles each way on AAdvantage MileSAAver awards. These discount awards for travel between USA and Europe are available October 15 through May 15, 2015. I plan to fly soon after October 15.

My thoughts are to either book flights in and out of two different Greek island airports or purchase a low cost under $100 flight between Greece and Italy and spend a few days in Rome or Venice, Italy.

United Mileage Plus charges 30,000 miles each way between USA and Europe and has a more convenient schedule from Monterey, California directly to Athens, Greece but I decided to save those miles since 30,000 miles is the same one-way award ticket price for summer travel. awards AAnywhere, but Athens is my post from yesterday describing the difficulty of booking an online award ticket to Athens, even though there are at least eight other airports in Greece with widely available award space using AAdvantage miles.

I was reluctant to transfer Starpoints to airline miles, since 3,000 points is a free category 2 weekend night. But in a way, the 3,000 Starpoints I transferred to American Airlines saves me 30,000 United miles for a better use at a later date. It seems like a good trade-off at the moment.

Bottom line: SPG points to American Airlines transfer took less than 48 hours. mileage balance


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Element Hotels are a room and hotel concept I like. A one-room apartment style space based on environmentally green concepts is a fine model for the hotel industry. The first Starwood Hotels extended stay brand Element Hotel opened in 2008. Six years later, there are only 11 Element Hotels open in North America. Element is Starwood’s smallest brand. The first Aloft opened less than a year before Element. Aloft currently has more than 80 hotels.

Element Basalt Aspen Valley opening August 2015 is in a town on Highway 82 on the way to Snowmass and Aspen, Colorado. That is fine when driving from Interstate 70. When arriving at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE), Basalt will be driving away from the ski resorts. Hopefully the distance to the ski resorts keeps the rates below $200 per night. Ha-Ha. The press release states less than 30 minutes drive to Snowmass or Aspen. Highway 82 gets some serious traffic congestion at times.

An apartment style hotel with Element Basalt Aspen Valley adds to Starwood’s growth in the Aspen ski and summer resort area. Starwood Hotels had only St. Regis Aspen until a couple years back when it was joined by Westin SnowMass Resort and more recently, a second property Wildwood Snowmass. There will be four hotels in the Aspen area with the new Element August 2015.

Element Basalt Aspen Valley will have 113 rooms. The hotel will be located within the new Willis Town Center. This will be the second Element Hotel in Colorado.

Element Basalt Aspen Valley will boast light-filled studios as well as one bedroom suites featuring a fluid design of modular furniture, swiveling flat-screen televisions, large desks with open shelving and custom-designed closets. Rooms will also offer fully equipped kitchens and the signature Heavenly(R) Bed, and spa-inspired bathrooms will feature an invigorating rain shower and dual-flush toilet. Other brand signatures will include a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness center, pool and outdoor hot tub, and 626 square-foot meeting room with modular furnishings, a flexible layout and state-of-the-art technology that can be customized to meet any business or social needs. Guests can stay on the move with Element’s complimentary bikes to borrow and enjoy fun and free extras including complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, the signature RISE breakfast, RELAX evening reception, and salon bar carts stocked with premium wines and beers, soft drinks and snacks, available after hours.

Starwood Press Release


Element Las Vegas in HD

I have stayed in two Element Hotels in Las Vegas and Denver. The design was almost identical for the two hotels, except Denver had an indoor pool and Las Vegas an outdoor pool.

element Las Vegas refrigerator and dishwasher

Element Hotels have kitchen cooking facilities and this Las Vegas kitchen had a full size refrigerator.

Here is my hotel review of the Element Denver Park Meadows from 2011.


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Comments are off for this article

SPG Hot Escapes for July 9, 2014 has 239 hotels listed for some discount rates over the next six weeks. This week’s list has 110 hotels in the USA and 15 hotels in Canada for summer travel discounts. These numbers compared to 26 hotels in Europe shows where the summer travel rate discount emphasis is with Starwood Hotels.

SPG Hot Escapes are prepaid, nonrefundable rates for hotels worldwide released every Wednesday. Bookings through SPG Hot Escapes for this week’s offers must be made by Saturday, July 12.

Some Starwood discount rate deals

Westin New Orleans Canal Place is $97 tonight, Thursday, July 10. Rates are $104, $112 and $119 for most weekdays into August.

Westin Las Vegas $83 for most weeknights. There is a resort fee here.

Westin Beach Resort Fort Lauderdale $92 first two weeks in August and $99 last week of July.

Sheraton Davos Hotel Waldhuus, Switzerland $149 for most of August.

Aloft San Jose, Costa Rica $61 to $69 most weekends.

Westin Calgary, Alberta Canada $86 Sat. July 19 and $96 Sun. July 20 are lowest rates for a hotel that is over $300 per night many nights.

W Minneapolis – The Foshay $112 for several Friday dates.

Le Meridien Versailles, Montreal, Canada $120 to $135 weekends in July.

There are some good deals around this week with SPG Hot Escapes.

SPG Hot Escapes banner

SPG Hot Escapes for Starwood Hotels discount rates


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Comments are off for this article

Starwood Preferred Guest is known for its high proportion of Starwood Hotels in upper upscale and luxury hotel properties with more than 250 hotels in brands like W Hotels, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien and Westin around the world in many countries. 

Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton are the workhorse brands of Starwood Hotels as the upper upscale to upper midscale brands with about half of all 1,300 hotels in the Starwood chain. Like horses, some of these hotels are thoroughbreds. Starwood Hotels has a good track record for hotels that are functional and with luck, in a good location for business or tourism. 

Two newest brands in the Starwood family are Aloft and Element. These brands saw their debut in the past decade and were the forerunners of what are now being labeled a ‘millennial’ style brand in the 2014 hotel industry with newcomers like Moxy from Marriott and Even at InterContinental Hotels Group. Aloft had pool tables and a bar in an open-space lobby with electrical charging tables for guests over six years ago. Starwood’s Element offers apartment style amenities like a functional kitchen in what remains a very small brand for Starwood in the extended stay market with fewer than 20 hotels.

Starwood Vacation Ownership properties sometimes offer rooms for award nights in certain locations like Colorado ski resorts.

Read More…

Starwood Preferred Guest Guide includes:

  • SPG overview and basics
  • Buy SPG points
  • Starwood Best Rate Guarantee policy
  • SPG American Express credit card
  • SPG and Delta Airlines Crossover Rewards program
  • Starwood Hotels brands
  • SPG Hotel Stay Earn Rates for Points
  • Fast-track to Elite
  • SPG Restaurants and Bars points when not a guest at the Starwood Hotel.
  • SPG Moments
  • SPG partners.

Starwood Preferred Guest Program Basics:

Starwood Hotels has a reputation for high-end properties around the world with three luxury market segment brands in St. Regis, W Hotels and Luxury Collection(161 hotels), three upper upscale hotel brands (722 hotels) in the workhorse brands of Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien, and an expanding presence in the upscale brands (268 hotels) with Four Points and 2008 newcomers aloft and element.

Starwood Preferred Guest seems better known to many guests for its SPG American Express card more than hotel rooms. The ability to earn 1 point per $1 with the credit card and the opportunity to exchange SPG points into airline miles at 1-to-1 rate with over 25 airline partners makes SPG points a versatile currency. Transfer 20,000 points and SPG adds 25% more miles: 20,000 SPG points = 25,000 miles.

Elite members report being treated well with frequent complimentary upgrades, elite benefits on award stays and SPG promotions offering opportunities to earn SPG points at a rate quicker than hotel spend earning.

SPG has many ways to redeem points for award stays with Standard awards, Cash & Points awards, Upgrade Awards and Suite Awards.

Personally, I find SPG one of the best programs for getting into a luxury or upper-upscale urban hotel or vacation resort at a price far less than possible with most hotel chains. Read More…

Starwood Preferred Guest has offered their environmental incentive Make a Green Choice program since at least early 2010 where I remember using it at the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel. The deal is a member can refuse housekeeping service and receive a $5.00 food and beverage certificate or 500 Starpoints for each day housekeeping is declined.

500 Starpoints is the better value for most of us into points.

Make a Green Choice does not apply to one-night stays and you will not get points or credit for your last night since housekeeping has to clean your room after checkout.

FlyerTalk has a thread with a global list of Starwood Hotels known to participate in Make a Green Choice. This is a good list to favorite since a five night stay at the right Starwood Hotel can mean a couple thousand extra Starpoints added to your account.

Make A Green Choice
  • To participate in Make a Green Choice, and be eligible for the $5 food or beverage voucher or the 500 Starpoints®, hang the Make a Green Choice doorhanger on the outside of your guestroom door by 2am or let the hotel know during check-in that you’re interested in opting-in.
  • You are not eligible to participate in the program on the day of departure; it is only on stayover nights. Please note: the $5 F&B voucher is only valid at time of purchase and cannot be combined with other offers. Unused $5 F&B vouchers may be turned in at the front desk before check-out for 500 Starpoints each.
  • If you opt-in to the Make a Green Choice program, housekeeping services will not be available for the day. Please note this includes all room cleaning and coffee & bathroom amenities will not be automatically replenished.
  • If you opt out of the program, but still want to conserve water and energy, you can hang your towels you want to reuse and place your doorhanger on the nightstand to reuse your bed linens. The bed(s) will be made. For fresh towels, please leave them on the floor. For fresh linens, please leave the doorhanger on the bed.

Sheraton Hotels Make a Green Choice

SPG Make a Green Choice


Westin Hotels Make a Green Choice

Are Westin hotel guests water hogs?

Westin Green Choice

Westin’s Green Choice graphic shows the water savings as 49.2 gallons vs. 37.2 gallons at Sheraton Hotels. That is 32% more water.

Related post:

Walt Disney World Dolphin (Starwood Sheraton Hotel)-Resort Review

Starwood Preferred Guest has a great 10,000 points bonus offer for stays at two different hotels of five Latin America hotels in the Aloft brand June 1 to September 30, 2014. Stays also earn double points.

SPG members must register for this offer by July 31, 2014.

Check in to double your earnings at any of these Aloft hotels:

Read More…

Another enhancement to the weekly SPG Hot Escapes website is the ability to sort hotels by room rate. I just noticed that feature with this week’s edition of hotels. There are 161 hotels on the SPG Hot Escapes list with 43 hotels in the USA.

SPG filters

SPG Hot Escapes hotels sorted from low to high room rates.

Read More…

Comments are off for this article

« previous home top