Review: SPG Moments With Paul McCartney

Filed Under: SPG

While I’ve written about SPG Moments in the past, I still haven’t had a chance to attend one of the concerts myself. I’ve heard great things from others though, and they seem to be as well-run as the US Open events SPG hosts.

Ultimately I think they’re a fantastic redemption option. Not only can they be an amazing value in absolute terms (compared to the retail cost of tickets), but more importantly they’re a great way for members to create memorable experiences with their points. After all, for many super frequent road warriors, the best use of points might be one which involves not traveling more.

My friend Mike attended the recent Paul McCartney concert in the SPG Luxury Suite at The O2, and offered to share his experience.


There is no doubt Starwood Preferred Guest points are one of the most valuable currencies out there. With great hotel redemptions and airline transfer partners, there are a lot of ways to get great value out of your SPG points.

Another, perhaps lesser-known, redemption option from Starwood is their SPG Moments program, which offer fixed price redemptions and auctions for a host of sports, music and other cultural events.

While Ben is holding out for a Real Housewives cast meet and greet to be his first SPG Moment, I recently took advantage of the program for the second time to see Paul McCartney in concert at the O2 in London. Here’s a little bit about my experience:

Redemption

After a fantastic experience with my first SPG Moment, I setup a ChangeDetection.com notification to email me whenever SPG added new Moments to their website. Since they tend to add many new events at once, it’s a quick and easy way to stay on top of the new offerings as they become available and before they sell out.

When I was alerted recently that a bunch of concerts at the O2 were available, I looked to see if any of them overlapped with a trip I already had planned for Paris. Sure enough, the Paul McCartney concert would work and it would be a great option. The trip was for my mother-in-law who is the right age to remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

She loved the idea so we redeemed 20,000 SPG points total for two tickets in the SPG Suite and then booked a couple of Eurostar tickets to get us up to London for the day.

The Suite

Similar to their arrangement at Staples Center in LA and Madison Square Garden in New York, SPG has a suite at the O2 in London.

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The suite has a direct view of the stage. But, you are quite a distance from it. We were both fine with that since it meant not craning our necks all night.

If you’re looking to be so close that the band sweats on you – I’m thinking Ben and One Direction here – these are not the best seats for you.

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(Note: The camera exaggerates the distance as it didn’t feel nearly this far in person)

Upon our arrival, the host and bartender each introduced themselves. They explained the food and beverages were all included in the experience.

The food spread included two types of burgers, loaded potato skins, nachos, salad, chicken fingers, etc. Beer, wine, soda, several types of bottled water were on offer.

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Restrooms were roughly 50 feet away, which was helpful after having a few drinks from the bar.

One potential issue that night was the fact a married couple was assigned seats 5 and 6. With three rows of 5, this meant one of them would have to sit at the end of the first row while the other would sit at the beginning of row 2. We offered to switch seats with them, but they opted to sit at the table top bar in the suite where they seemed to be just as comfortable.

The Concert

Very simply, the show was incredible. I still can’t believe a guy a few weeks shy of his 73rd birthday could rock the house the way McCartney did.

With 41 songs, I was tired just watching it and I’m less than half his age. The fact he could perform it all and sound great was amazing. It was easily one of the top 3 shows I’ve ever been to.

Bottom Line

For a second time, SPG Moments has come through with an experience money would not have been able to buy. My mother-in-law had a wonderful time, which was the goal of this whole trip. For her, this wouldn’t have been possible without the extremely comfortable setting of the SPG suite.

Even if it means paying for a hotel room occasionally instead of using points, I will continue to look for more great opportunities to use my SPG balance on experiences like this McCartney concert thanks to SPG Moments.

Has anyone else redeemed points towards an SPG Moment? What was your experience?

Comments

  1. I’ve never really looked into SPG Moments in too much detail because I felt like the redemption rates were too high, but 20k points for this event does indeed seems like a great deal. I guess I should be paying more attention to it.

  2. Mike, great report. Sounds like you had a terrific time. Do I understand correctly: it was just you and your MIL? Explain?

    Also, how to do I set up changealert.com? I googled and can’t seem to find it, and that website domain is for sale.

    Lastly, do you know anything about the US Open for 2015? Ben?
    Thanks.

  3. @zow: Trip was a gift for my MIL. The plan was for my wife to come along as well but I used up all of her vacation days with other trips this year.

    My mistake, the change notification website is ChangeDetection.com, perhaps Ben can fix it in the copy above. The website is pretty straight forward to use. They email you when something changes on the page. Then you can click through to see what’s new.

  4. I’m definitely looking forward to the Taylor Swift show in the suite! Thanks for the excellent review.

  5. Real housewives meet and greet? Really? That would be the biggest waste just to meet fake and trashy reality “stars.”

  6. I redeemed SPG points several years ago to attend the So You Think You Can Dance finale and it was amazing. The seats were 5th row back mixed in with choreographers and previous contestants. It was one of my top uses ever of SPG points.

  7. We went to see Jewel as a part of SPG’s “Hear the Music, See the World” event — great experience, but very different as it was exclusively an SPG event. (Maybe 200 people in the US Grant ballroom; the show was just Jewel and a selection of acoustic guitars, and she probably spent half the show talking story (which, I hasten to add, made it all the more fun and personal.))

  8. @ lairdb — We went to a “Hear the Music, See the World” event as well, which was incredible. Ben Folds Five played to about 200 people, they had all kinds of catering, including a sushi chef and three bartenders, and had made up Westin Heavenly Beds as part of the seating. Very fun event, and an amazing value.

  9. @Tiffany — yes, I didn’t mention the catering, but it also deserves credit; it was very strong. (We had just come from an excellent dinner, so we didn’t take full advantage of the food, though we took full advantage of the bar.) (Open bar, IIRC.)

    In case the SPG folks notice this, based on my experience with this event, I’d be about 43,607 times as interested in similar small-venue/SPG only events than in the stadium-scale events.

  10. Sadly , I think at 73 years of age Paul’s .. “Salad days are over ..”
    He could barely hold a note in tune with his ensemble at the 2012 London Olympics.
    Meatloaf however , is extreme but there’s always another story …
    Sadly past their prime

  11. Which night was reviewed? I was in the suite with my wife on the Saturday show and it was great. Had quite a few guests of Spg and a couple of us who had redeemed points. Phenomenal use of points given this package would retail around $1k for two people for McCartney (his package ticket and event prices are crazy). Great value when compared to some of the U.S. points prices. I’d expect this to increase next year. 20k seems too low to last.

  12. The SPG show packages is a promotion for the program itself. They are usually reasonable redemptions. I have been to many exclusive events with them. I never overpay. The problem with some events is they are always short on details and things can be all over the place when people don’t confirm what time, where etc. I am not talking about something simple like a show. I say movie premieres overseas that included hotels, meals and other things.

  13. The thing with the pricing is that SPG has fixed it at a flat level. Recently there was a darts tournament (can you imagine watching darts when you are that far from the stage?!?!?!?!) that was also 20k for two tickets!

    This may change in time, I imagine.

    Meanwhile, having seen Sting and Paul Simon as a guest of SPG recently in the suite, I am off to Fleetwood Mac (showing my age) in a couple of weeks on my own points. Madonna has a few nights at the O2 lined up for December so that should be a good one if / when SPG makes the seats available – at the moment they only have concerts up to July.

  14. @rich We went to the Sunday night show. I read somewhere Dave Grohl joined him at the show you attended. Would have loved to see that.

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