Friday, August 16, 2013

"Moments by SPG" - Seeing the Cubs from Starwoods Luxury Box

     Its fairly axiomatic that the way to obtain the best value when using points or miles in any particular program is to redeem those points as a "native currency", that is to say, using miles to book flights and points to book hotel rooms.  Many programs will try to tempt you to use your points for merchandise, a notoriously bad option that is scorned by all right thinking people.

     However, some programs offer some really "outside the box" redemption options that can return great value.  An outstanding example of this is Starwood's "Moments by SPG" program.  The Moments program allows Starwood members to redeem their Starpoints for experiences (usually performing arts or sporting events) that would almost certainly be out of reach otherwise.  Some redemptions are in an auction format and others cost a fixed number of points.  Recently I had the great good fortune of being able redeem 7,500 Starpoints for two seats in the SPG Luxury Box at Wrigley Field in Chicago to see the Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds.

Being a Cubs fan (for my sins) I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take my dad up to see the Lovable Losers in style.

     First off, I'd like to give a tip of the hat to Mommypoints, where I first saw this deal mentioned.  Mommypoints reviewed her own Wrigley experience here.  I'd been aware of SPG's Moments program, but hadn't ever redeemed any points through them.  Now I'll be sure to keep a closer eye on the Moments offerings.  Redeeming on the Moments by SPG site was pretty painless, and about a week after the redemption, I received the first of a series of e-mails from Starwood's very helpful Moments team.  My tickets would be waiting for me at the will call window at Wrigley on the day of the game.

My ticket after getting mangled in my pocket.

     We arrived at Wrigley and picked up our tickets without any problem.  Entry to Wrigley is through the "VIP" gate just to the right of Will Call window #11.  We then proceeded up the 4 levels of ramps, following the signs to the "Suites Level presented by Nuveen Investments."  Starwood's suite is #37,  to the right at the top of the ramp.

          The suite itself was nice, and included complimentary food and drink.  The food selection was identical to that offered during Mommypoints' review and, since she took much better pictures, I'll direct you there.  The beer selection was decent, with Heineken, Bud Light (shudder), and Goose Island 312.  For teetotalers and children there were various Pepsi products and water.  But the really important feature was the view and the game itself.  The view was very nice:

The game?  Not so nice.  The Cubs got shut out by the Reds, losing 2-0.  Ah well, some good memories all the same.