As much as I hate planning ahead, there are certain scenarios where I’d be crazy to not do so. One specific example is Oktoberfest in Germany. After attending my very first Oktoberfest this past September, I knew it was something I’d do again (…and again).
Unfortunately, given that I was (and still am) pregnant, I could not experience the festival to “the fullest”, as some would say; I did, however, dress up and pose with giant liters of beer for the novelty of it – it was a blast!
Last month, a “glitch” in United’s booking engine allowed for some Lufthansa first class seats to be booked for almost any date in 2014. Usually that kind of award space is extremely hard to come by, and is rarely bookable less than two weeks out. As soon as I heard that news, I immediately searched for award availability in late September. Without hesitation, I booked my seat to Munich.
The next order of business was finding a hotel. Let me first start off by saying Munich is packed during Oktoberfest (duh) – which means that hotels sell for unGodly rates. The closest hotel to the fairgrounds is the Fourpoints by Sheraton Munich Central; it is literally walkable. However, be prepared to spend 414 Euro a night ($565).
Thankfully, SPG points save the day. The normal points-rate at this property is 10,000 a night. However, I was able to only secure an “Executive Room” for 11K a night. I’ll take what I can get; it’s still an incredible redemption in my eyes.
As I logged onto my SPG account to book the room, I a phrase I hate seeing – “Please contact us to redeem your free nights“. When it comes to booking travel (or doing anything really), I like doing as much as I can online and on my own. I hate speaking to agents (especially non-US), hate dealing with call-center hold times, etc. Heck, I just hate being on the phone, period. I’m lazy and hate talking on the phone. There – I just threw in my woman card.
Luckily, Starwood “gets” that people like me exist and gives options to contact them. Sure, you can call them, but there’s also an option for them to call you (I’d do that). What’s even better is they have an online chat option. Which route do you think I went…?