Scoring Two Really Free Nights at the Westin St. John

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I have a very short “vacation run” booked to St. John later this year.  The price for the flights was something silly like $120 RT or similar on United.  When there is a crazy silly price on “my” airline to a place I actually would like to go, it is hard for me to not pull the trigger.  I don’t really book “mileage runs” (trips taken for the sole purpose of earning miles), but I’m happy to indulge in a “vacation run” from time to time.

Anyway, on our upcoming St. John trip, we used Starwood Preferred Guest cash and points to book a couple nights at the Westin St. John Resort and Spa on an old cash and points rate before the chart changed.  Since booking, we have been notified that the hotel will be undergoing some renovations during our stay and that the main pool area will likely be closed from some time in September – December.  Our booking falls squarely in that time frame.  While that is a little bit of a bummer, it really will have minimal impact on our short stay.  We will likely have enough time to enjoy some of the beautiful Caribbean waters, but a pool isn’t high on my “must do” list for this trip.  However, I totally understand that there are many trips where a functioning pool would be quite important, so I am glad the hotel is being proactive about this issue.

Recently I got another email update from the hotel confirming the pool’s closure and stating that, “The main pool area and Snorkels Bar & Grill Restaurant will be closing on September 23, 2013 to December 18, 2013, as upgrades to the pool deck are made.”  The email goes on to describe some of the other activities that will be available during that time and then informs us of the following:

All hotel guests who will be staying with us during our pool area renovation will receive a 2- night gift certificate to return to The Westin St. John Resort & Villas. This certificate can be used to return to our resort upon completion of the beachside and poolside hotel room and pool area renovation. You will receive the gift certificate upon check-in.

Two really free nights you say?  Nice!  Of course, there are real costs associated with getting to the resort, and most normal people wouldn’t go for just two nights, so there would likely be additional charges incurred for the additional nights.  The email does not mention the expiration date associated with these free nights.  However, I am still very impressed with the idea of proactively offering pretty generous compensation for guests who will be visiting during the renovations.  Obviously not everyone will be able to use the gift certificates, but it is very nice to have that option for two free nights.

Have you received something similar when visiting a resort that was not fully operational during your stay?

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  1. We were supposed to be leaving for Beaches Turks and Caicos this Wednesday. They decided in like…June :O to close for 6 weeks starting now. They offered 2 free nights to anyone who wanted to reschedule. 2 free nights at Beaches is quite significant as the daily rate works out to almost $700. They also paid the fee for me to redeposit my miles and are honoring the rate we paid for this year (even though they raised their rates quite a bit)

    So we now have to wait until next October to go, but the monetary savings makes that easier to swallow. 🙂

  2. Laura, wow! Bummer you guys aren’t getting to go on your originally scheduled trip, but glad they took care of you! $120 fares aren’t normal around here, that’s why I jumped on it! 😉

  3. It’s a nice touch but they aren’t entirely benevolent. The Villas area is Starwood’s timeshare resort. In our last “Owner’s Update” we were informed that they are going to construct a new phase at that property. So I wouldn’t be the least surprised if you are offered something to attend a 2 hr timeshare presentation after you arrive for your free stay. As long as the offer is worth your time spent and you are firm in your resolve to say NO, it can be nice deal (and you should say no, buying from the developer is a horrible deal). Typically it is 4500-7500 Starpoints or $100 Amex gift card and a free activity or two (sunset cruise, snorkeling, whatever).

    Actually, you might be able to work this game to your advantage. When they give you the certificate, go talk to the concierge and say something like “I understand that the Villas are a timeshare property. We would really like to spend more than 2 nights, are there any promotional preview offers available that we could use to extend our stay a full week?” Possibly they will say there is a 4 nights for $399 offer. If the offer is appealing to you, then I highly recommend that you book your next stay right there. Even as a Starwood Vacation Network owner, the Westin St Johns Villas are very hard to book if you don’t own there because demand is high most times of the year…that is one reason they are building a new phase (obviously with high demand and a recovering economy they think they can easily sell more units).

    Even if there isn’t a promo offer available, you might want to book that certificate while you are there because it still might be subjective to the available timeshare inventory.

  4. If the Braves lose early in the playoffs, it might be time to tack a trip to St Johns on to a DL domestic award using a free stopover in ATL!

  5. Do you know if it includes the resort fee? Or is it waived for Platinums? Last I checked it was $40!
    Another big issue for me (budget-wise) is getting to St. John from STT. Westin wanted $120 RT per person for transport to the resort when I looked into it. Cars were no better. Luckily for you, kids 3 and under are free.
    I hear its an amazing island. A Caribbean Kauai.

  6. I once booked the Willard hotel in DC using 2 free night certs from an IHG promo. I showed up around 8pm to check in and they were booked. Since the certs were about to expire, they gave me 80k points and put me up in a JW Marriott for two night for free of course.

    • @theflightdeal and @airfarewatchdog are great to follow. Not sure what all the rules are with the certs since we don’t have them yet. Hopefully someone who gets them in sept will share soon.

  7. The Westin Annapolis offered free breakfast (a catered buffet) when thei hotel restaurant was closed for renovations.

    Not as exciting of an offer as this one (or the new Anadaz in Hawaii), but a nice gesture nonetheless.

  8. We are headed to the Westin at St. John on Sunday. Got the same email. We are staying in the villas which have their own pools, but still got the free two nights. I too was impressed.

  9. MP – whatever you decide, do NOT use the resort offered transportation offer. It is inconvenient (you have to wait until THEY are ready to accumulate a number of people and go on their time!) and expensive. We rented a car at the airport and make a short (~20-30 min) drive to the ferry. There are multiple competing ferry companies leaving the docks all the time and it is a LOT, LOT cheaper. You’ll need a car on the island to explore all the beautiful beaches since the resort beach is really “meah” in comparison. There are only mom-and-pop rental companies on the island itself (read expensive) and you’ll be glad to have a car. Parking at the resort is free and otherwise hailing a taxi to go for a basic run to the store is a hassle. The only rental company that doesn’t allow the car to be taken to St. John was Budget I believe. We rented from Avis and everything was a breeze.

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