Monday, March 21, 2016

Starwood Moments - Sing the National Anthem at Wrigley, or An Eminently Gameable Auction

Those who are involved in this hobby tend to have a particular frame of mind.  We like rules.  That is to say, we like figuring out what rules mean.  Sometimes digging into the rules, or Ts&Cs, of an offer/promotion can turn something that's interesting on its face into something that's actually very interesting.  Below is one example.

I've mentioned Starwood's "Moments" program before.  It's what allowed me to take my dad to see the Cubs in a Luxury Box at Wrigley.  Well, Starwood has another "Moments" offer that's very intriguing:

Starwood is auctioning a chance for the top three bidders the chance to audition to sing the National Anthem before a Cubs game.  The Cubs will select one of them to sing the Anthem.  That would definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  But that's not what makes this auction so interesting.  What makes it interesting is what the Ts&Cs say about the two bidders who lose the auction.  They get their points back and they get a pair of luxury box tickets for later in the season.  Do you see what immediately leaped out at me?

Of course you do.  If you wanted luxury box tickets but didn't want to sing The Star Spangled Banner in front of thousands of people, you could try to win the auction and then try to lose the audition.  Just submit a terrible audition and ... Bang.  Free luxury box tickets.  Here are some pointers.

One small problem, though.  You might be facing a quasi-prisoner's dilemma situation where all three of the top bidders are trying to lose the audition.  If that happened, I would really love to be in the Cubs offices when those tapes come in.

UPDATE: As the auction nears it's close, bidding is up to over 100,000 Starpoints.  I'll admit I threw in a couple of bids early on, but to me, a one third chance of getting to (or having to) sing the Star Spangled Banner in front of a crowd isn't worth the points!

UPDATE: Auction closed with the top bid at 205,000 points!  Wow!  That's the equivalent of two first class tickets to Europe.  ETA: Bids keep getting updated.  Now its up over 220K points.  That's just nuts.

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