Westin Charlotte taking the low road…

This is a bit disappointing. As many of you may recall, the Westin Charlotte had a promotion a couple of weeks ago on their Facebook page. Anyone that posted a summer vacation picture on their page and got 50 “likes” would earn 1,000 SPG points.

The hotel obviously underestimated the number of participants. I’m sure they thought they would get a dozen photos, but the idea quickly spread to internet travel forums (and blogs!) and hundreds of people submitted photos. Beyond that, people helped “like” each others’ photos, so most made it to 50 “likes.”

While the promotion was originally supposed to run until July 11, they moved the date forward by a week to July 4 when they realized how many points they were going to have to pay out. As far as receiving the points go, the Westin Charlotte left the following comment on my blog:

Thanks for playing in our contest! At the end of the contest, I’ll reach out to everyone who hit 50+ likes for SPG#s and such. Contest now ends on Monday, July 4th so I will be talking to a lot of you then! =)

Just a few minutes ago it occurred to me that I still haven’t been contacted regarding the points, so I headed over to the Westin Charlotte’s Facebook page, only to find the following:

Thanks to everyone who entered our summer memories contest! Due to a facebook technicality, I am unable to direct message winners at this time. If your photo reached 50 likes, please email insider@westin.com and provide the following information NO LATER THAN Friday July 8th, 2011 in order to receive your points: 1.First and Last Name, 2.SPG #, 3.City, State, Country where you live.

Worst of all, they posted this on Wednesday. Great, so you’re giving people two days to send you the information, and just assuming they’ll randomly stumble upon your Facebook page. If you can’t do what you were promised due to a “Facebook technicality” (what does that even mean?), at least give people more than two days to contact you.

Like I said I just saw this, so I guess I technically missed the deadline. That being said, I emailed them, and I really hope that they credit me the points, not because I need the 1,000 points, but as a matter of principle.

Anyone else in the same boat?


  1. I managed to notice that on their website last night and emailed them with a few hours to go before the deadline. I should have tried to contact you so you could put something on your blog. Very sorry everyone, but I literally noticed with a few hours to go.

  2. I’m in the same situation too, and didn’t think about it until I saw your blog post just now. What a crock of you know what.

  3. yea, i agree with you… its disappointing, but not totally unexpected. given the response, you had to figure that they’d try something like this given the high amount of points that they were on the hook for.

    when i didn’t hear anything from them by the 6th, i checked out their site and saw the message (though i still haven’t heard back from them). hopefully they make it right for everyone

  4. I did notice in time and emailed Thursday. Though I’ve still heard nothing anyway, like Jay.

  5. Yeah, I happened to notice it too on Thu so I emailed them as soon a I got home. Their “notification” was also really convoluted, because you had to read the comment to it to find out that you ALSO had to submit the link to your photo.

    You’d think that people would learn from the Hilton points promo from February that putting something like this on Facebook (or really any other social media site) will spread like wildfire in no time. If you don’t understand this newfangled thing called the internets (or facebook), hire a social media consultant. Sheesh.

    No points here yet, not holding my breath tho…

  6. Okay, here’s more information. Thanks to my partner, who works for a social media marketing agency, here are the terms and conditions for promotions operated through Facebook. The Westin Charlotte violated pretty much every single item on the list with this promotion. It’s obvious that they had no clue what they were doing when they started this thing, and the reason they may not have contacted anyone directly was that they may have realized they were in violation of these terms. They royally screwed up on this one.

    Read the rules from Facebook for promotions here: https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

  7. I wonder if you all might have some recourse with SPG corporate if this particular property refuses to live up to its end of the bargain.

  8. One of the people that voted for my photo alerted me to the new req. to email my info and a photo link to the Westin Charlotte or else I never would have seen it. I too have not received any points as of now.

    I found the contest extremely frustrating. There were 2 if not 3 Westin FB pages so that confused some of my friends. But more than that, the sudden overwhelming presence of Korean “MNMF” and “SSS” groupies all voting for each other’s mediocre photos with what appeared to be newly created FB accounts kind of ruined it for me. I think I am done with FB “contests” of this sort.

  9. Let me get this straight. You guys, a bunch of people who thrive upon capatilizing on mistake fares, last minute deals, insider credit card promos, etc. etc. etc. — are upset that Westin posted a limited time offer on their website that actually works against you? haha Karma

  10. I don’t blame them at all. These types of promotions are designed for honest people to use them, not to be taken advantage of by mileage hungry forum people who then help each other out and “like” each other’s photos.

    It’s people like that who RUIN promotions for everyone else.

  11. They are indeed taking the ‘low road,’ the cheap bastards! If one offers a simple promotion, one honors the declared rules – and doe not, repeat NOT change the rules a the mid-point. ‘Low Road,’ is polite, probably because you hope to still get your points. In the end, they are NOT honoring their ad and some state Attornets General ought to call them on it and demand that they honor their ad. Obviously, they underestimated the response and did not allow for some slide-out – short of just changing the rules. In my view, SLIME. THe Westin-Char is **OFF** my list of maybe spots for late period, mostly because they cannot be trusted. You can bet that my private list of 75-85 ‘tourist-like folks’ will hear about this. Shame on them. Promotions are opportunities for lines, places and houses to showcase their wares. Heck yes!, but when the won’t honor their own rules, I can hardly recommend them to my friends. The Westin-Char goes to the Junk Heap, at least until they step up and honor their own promotion. As for the Facebook ‘technalicaties,’ how many ways can one spell Bull Shit? They screwed up, but they won’t own it. A very bad combination!

  12. This just goes to show how a simple point giveaway designed to improve loyalty can easily backfire and turn into a PR nightmare if it’s not handled correctly.

  13. @Glenn. Write to Frits van Paaschen, CEO, at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. 1111 Westchester Avenue White Plains , NY 10604. They’re pretty responsive to well articulated communications.

  14. Actually I think they are doing worse than the low road. I saw the post, sent the email well before the deadline, and still have not heard anything from them

    @Steve – please get real. It’s like celebs who say they don’t like publicity. If you choose to use social media, accept the fact it will spread like wildfire if you offer anything of value. “honest people” my eye

  15. No matter what, they won! They gained access to your information via Facebook.

    ANyone that feels like they were taken advantage of should reach out to Corporate. This local hotel is tarnishing the SPG name…..

  16. People have begun commenting on the Westin Charlotte’s FB page about how they haven’t gotten their points and how the contest violated FB’s contest T&C’s (which it clearly did).

  17. Thank you everyone for participating in our contest! Usually when we do contests, we reach out to winners individually. The day the contest ended, we were having issues sending messages to winners which is why we put up the facebook status. We wanted everyone to know what was going on. We created the deadline in hopes of getting everyone’s information as soon as possible so that we could then issue the points as soon as possible. If you missed the deadline, please still email us at insider@westin.com and let us know. I will do all I can to still give you your points! We value you all as fans of The Westin Charlotte! Thank you again for participating in our contest!

  18. Has anyone had their 1,000 points post yet?

    I e-mailed them a week ago, before the deadline, and have not heard anything and no points have posted yet.

  19. I got an email today from Westin Charlotte’s marketing coordinator asking me for the link to my photograph (which I forgot to attach earlier). It said, “I cannot find your name on our winners list, could you please send the link to your picture so that I can confirm?”

    When I sent the link, only thing I got was a “Thank YOu”

    One thing is sure though that they are in process of preparing a “Winners List” 🙂

  20. I received an email today confirming that my name has been added to the points list and the points will be deposited in 1-2 weeks.

  21. So, 2 days after the deadline for notifying them you’re a winner (yes, I agree the change in rules was bad) and you haven’t gotten your points yet you’re bitching? As so many of you pointed out, they were overwhelmed by the response and somehow you expect them to ‘pay up’ instantly? Whiners

  22. I submitted my info on Sat, a day after the deadline and I received an email on Monday informing me that the points would be awarded shortly. I just checked my account today (Wed) and the 1,000 points have been deposited. Nice!

  23. I sent my email with all the relevant info before the deadline and as of now, no points. I will be interested to learn which photo was the winner. By the way, what on earth is “MNMF” and “SSS”? Many entries and votes seemed to come from this group.

  24. I got 1000 SPG points credited to my account today. Hope you all will get it soon. Anything for free miles & points! 🙂

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