If you redeem SPG points for their suite at the 02, this is what you get

On Thursday night I was invited to the O2 Arena in Greenwich as the guest of Starwood Preferred GuestStarwood Preferred Guest is the loyalty programme for Sheraton, Westin, W, St Regis, Le Meridien, Element, The Luxury Collection and Aloft.

They wanted to show off their new hospitality suite which is now available as an SPG redemption via SPG Moments.  Apart from myself the guests included two bloggers (hello Kelly, hello Sven!), one SPG member, a couple of trade contacts and a number of Starwood staff.

I wrote about this new SPG redemption option in this articleFor 20,000 SPG points you will receive two tickets to the suite for an event, including food and drink.

SPG Moments O2 Arena suite 6

Starwood has a three year contract on the suite so this will not be a flash in the pan.  Tickets should be available for pretty much every event at the O2 Arena during that time.  You can currently redeem for a wide range of concerts including Take That, Olly Murs, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and Mark Knopfler (plus some younger people I’ve never heard of ….!).

Here is the suite:

SPG Moments O2 Arena suite

And here is the view, taken an hour before the show started:

SPG Moments O2 Arena suite 2

The good news is that you are DIRECTLY facing the stage.  The bad news is that you are quite a way back, although there are plenty of seats which are higher and further away than this as you can see from the picture.

What you can’t see from these pictures is how the seating works.  There are tables in the suite where you can sit and eat, perching on stools.  You can see the concert from these stools.  However, there are also ‘proper’ seats in front of the suite which is where I was standing when I took the second picture.

The food and drink on offer was excellent:

SPG Moments O2 Arena suite 3

There were three different hot dishes (salmon, chicken and a 3rd I didn’t try) plus a variety of snacks.  A staffed bar was serving wine, beer and soft drinks.  Drinks are served in glasses but if you want to sit in the three rows of seats in front of the suite you need to switch to a plastic cup.  The seats are comfortable with generous armrests and cupholders.

The toilets are very close, literally 20 seconds walk, so you won’t miss much of the show!  This was very handy with Paul Simon and Sting, where the 3 hour 20 minute show had no interval!

SPG Moments O2 Arena suite 4

SPG has hired a team of six hosts and one will be on duty every night, greeting guests and ensuring their glasses are always topped up!  It is possible that, on many nights, all of the guests will be SPG Moments redeemers so don’t necessarily expect to meet any SPG employees.  SPG has very few staff in the UK – they employ 500 people in Cork instead – so this is genuinely something they have done for the benefit of members rather than for in-house entertaining.

This is how it looked with Paul Simon and Sting on the stage.  The camera makes it look SUBSTANTIALLY further away than it actually is!  The two video screens are actually pretty large in your field of vision.

SPG Moments O2 Arena suite 5

If you are the worlds biggest fan of Take That / Paul McCartney / Bette Midler / Olly Murs etc then you wouldn’t want to be in the suite.  You would want to be in the front block down on the floor!  What you get with the SPG Suite is a very relaxed evening where you can eat and drink throughout the show and get up and walk around the suite whenever you want.

It is important to note that the O2 Arena has outstanding acoustics.  The sound quality is fantastic, even at the back.  You don’t need to be concerned about not hearing the show.

There were rarely more than five people sat in the seats at any point as most people preferred to stand in the suite.  However, it may work differently on an SPG Moments redemption evening because all of us were effectively ‘together’ in a group.

At present, Starwood is not using any sort of dynamic pricing for the tickets.  Everything is 20,000 SPG points for two tickets, whether it be Paul McCartney or a darts tournament.  It remains to be seen if this will change over time.

This is a genuine ‘money can’t buy’ experience and is, I think, an excellent use of Starwood points.  Putting my points where my mouth is, I already have tickets for another concert – bought using my own SPG points – lined up for June.  If you look at the alternatives, 20,000 SPG points would get you around £300 of free hotel rooms or 25,000 airline miles.

Remember that Starwood Preferred Guest is an Amex Membership Rewards partner (at 2:1) and you can also get 10,000 Starwood points by signing up for the SPG American Express credit cardStarwood would also be very happy, of course, if you moved some of your upcoming hotel stays to their properties in order to earn some points!

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. I like the sound of this. Sounds like a company that understands what it means to be rewarded.

    I’ve actually never looked at SPG before because Hilton has better coverage where I need to be but there’s sometimes SPG properties where I stay so it might be worth getting the Amex and making some stays.

  2. Don’t suppose there’s a follow up review of the AMEX lounge at the O2 as well? Interested to see people’s thoughts on it!

    • No, never went in. You need to pre-book the Amex lounge even though it is free.

      • It’s worth trying even if you don’t book to see if they have availability. The first and only time I’ve been to a gig at the O2 I saw the entrance and asked security who directed me to the AIG reception. I showed my PRG card and the guy printed us off 3 tickets then and there. The gig was sold out but the lounge was barely half full, and although we had standing tickets, really useful as there’s a free cloakroom – shortcut to the standing area and separate toilets with no queue, which were more than welcome at the end of the show! A couple of rounds of drinks before and after the show were no more expensive than in the arena or any other bars around the place and service was excellent. Great and comfortable place to get hyped before the show and chill with a few friends and drinks afterwards.

        • Cheers for this. I didn’t realise the Amex lounge is open during the show (and for 1 hour after), that makes it more interesting!

          I hadn’t even considered the lounge before because I assumed it was like the Barclay’s one, which closes 20 minutes before the main act starts. That seemed pointless to me.

  3. Any idea what the situation is like for under 18s? Is the price still 20,000 for 2?

    It sounds like a great idea to open one of these in the UK. If I recall correctly, they have a few of these in The States already.

  4. Raffles

    How good was Paul Simon at 73?

    • Better than you’d expect, voice is unchanged. Sting is also in great shape for 62 iirc and still happy to do rockier Police numbers.

      • I went and agree. Thought both Sting and Paul Simon were brilliant. I was in A1 block about 12 from stage.

        Was a superb concert but then I have been a massive Paul Simon fan since 1964.

  5. Has anyone tried the Barclays Premier lounge?

  6. This sounds like a worthwhile event in November: Prudential Bluesfest Presents: A Night with Tom Jones & Van Morrison

  7. Thinking of buying points for this.

    1. Can you take kids in the suite?

    2. Can I check availability before buying the points?

    • 1. Yes, they need to be 6+ though. One person in the party must be an adult.
      2. Yes, take a look at https://auction.starwoodhotels.com/

      The search function is messy. First, stretch out the calendar to July which is all they have currently loaded. (Madonna etc in December will be loaded later in the year.) Select ‘Europe’ and ‘London’ or you’ll be drowning in events. You can then click on any particular event to see how many packages are left. Remember each package is for 2 people.

Trackbacks

  1. […] would also get you the 20,000 points you need to get a pair of tickets for the SPG Suite at the O2 which I reviewed last week.  This may be a decent deal for a sold out concert although it is […]

  2. […] Starwood invited me to try out the SPG Suite at the O2 last week, they also offered me a free room at the Aloft London hotel at Excel.  Whilst I live in London, I […]