Saturday, April 11, 2015

Room Upgrades - Cash

After successfully securing a room upgrade at the Westin Lagunamar for our upcoming Spring Break vacation, my father decided to try his luck with the Intercontinental Presidente (seen here) where we'll be staying for 2 nights before our Westin Lagunamar stay.

We used my parents' IHG "Free Night Award Certificates" that they receive each year for having their Chase IHG Mastercard credit card. Note: it's not truly "free" because we had to pay $49 annual fees for each IHG Mastercard, but that's still much cheaper than the going cash rate at this Intercontinental.

Since these certificates can be used at any IHG property, we like to spend them on more expensive properties (such as the Intercontinental Hong Kong or similar properties in Europe), but given we didn't have plans to go to either destination anytime soon, we found that the Intercontinental Presidente in Cancun worked out to a pretty decent redemption (saving $229 + $21 in taxes per night).

However, those free night certificates or IHG point redemptions only book you into the standard room (366 sq feet facing the Lagoon side).

While this room would have been perfectly fine, we knew we should probably email in advance to ask for any complimentary upgrades.
"Good morning 
My wife and I are very excited about our upcoming stay at the IC Presidente Cancun Resort. As IHG Platinum members, we were hoping that the slower season might allow us to have a complimentary upgraded room that might make our stay that much more special. 
Also, we have also booked a 2nd night under my wife's name Mrs. Songer (Confirmation # XX). Could we be placed in the same room for both nights so we do not have to check out. Thank you so much." 
Later that day, we received a response from the Chief Concierge/Guest Relations Manager, Adolfo.
"Dear Mr. Songer, 
It is my pleasure to confirm with you that I have provided a complimentary room upgrade for your upcoming visit. I have assigned a room with a king size bed and it’s an ocean view room. I have also assigned the same room for both reservations. Please do let me know if you require additional assistance."  
So that is definitely an improvement (those rooms were going for $257/night or $305/night including taxes), but we were actually hoping for at least a Club Level room so we could access their club lounge for complimentary breakfasts and evening snacks/drinks. My father pressed his luck a bit more:
"Thank you very much, Adolfo.
Is there any chance we might be eligible for room with a Club level access?"
Having done his research on FlyerTalk in advance, we knew that the possible response would be a cash upgrade option for about $70 + taxes per night - which was the cash price difference on the website.

The Chief Concierge/Guest Relations Manager responded with an offer of $50 + tax per night.
"You may upgrade to a Club lagoon view room by paying a difference of 50usd + tax per night and I will provide a complimentary upgrade to one of our Club ocean view rooms or a Club ocean view suite with club access. Please let me know if you would like to upgrade."
The upgrade price was pretty much the cash price difference between (a) our confirmed ocean view room at $305 and (b) the Club Lagoon view at $349 after taxes. However, since they would then give us a further upgrade to one of the Club Ocean view rooms, that would price out at $382 after taxes.

Ultimately, we'd be paying $50 + taxes each night for (i) club lounge breakfasts and (ii) more space in a larger room (700 sq ft vs. 366 sq ft). Interestingly, we had a similar option for the Westin Lagunamar except that we could upgrade using points instead of cash.

However, given we're trying to save our cash outflow, we're likely going to decline their upgrade offer and instead just pay for breakfast - which would likely be lower than the $60/night for the upgrade after taxes. So while we'll be in a smaller room, I'm not sure anyone will cry over that since we got each night for just the $49 annual fee on our IHG Mastercard.

No comments:

Post a Comment