I received an e-mail today from Starwood Preferred Guest touting a new benefit, discounts at restaurants and bars.
The website is really not very explanatory at all, and when I did some random searches in the US, only 5 restaurants come up:
What I came to find is that if you typed in a non-specific city (Leesburg, VA if you will) or someplace where there’s no property, the website defaults to Los Angeles properties. For that matter, a search of “New York City” yielded the same 5 LA properties, but when I started to type “New York, NY” in and the website auto-completed my search, I got a handful of New York restaurants. So, it just seems like the search feature is a bit wonky right now, apologizing to you that nothing was close to you and then showing you some random LA properties.
These are all hotel restaurants, though some “chains” like the Daily Grill at the Westin LAX. Discounts range from 10%-15%, though the e-mail I received noted discounts could be as high as 30%. My guess is this is a way to try and stimulate more outside business for hotel restaurants which are traditionally not full in domestic markets. Some restaurants operate at a loss so that the hotel can provide the service to guests, and most hotels in the US are trying to find ways to fill those empty restaurant seats. So, it’s not surprising that SPG would try a chain-wide effort to help boost sales.
It really does seem like this is just a premature launch, a bit buggy. And, while a decent benefit since you’ll also earn Starpoints for the cost of your meal regardless of whether you’re staying at the hotel, it’s unlikely I would go out of my way in most domestic US markets for a hotel restaurant. Still, a discount is a discount, and one some people may be interested in.