Le Meridien Dead Sea Leaving Starwood 01/01/14

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I went with 2 of my 5 brothers to Israel in 2007 and we traveled from Nimrod’s Fortress in the Golan Heights down to Eilat and everywhere in between for a month.  We lived it up at Starwood properties thanks to Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

According to my research notes from that trip there were at least 13 Starwood properties in Israel.  There was the category 1 Le Meridien Haifa, Le Meridien Dead Sea, Sheraton Tiberias, Sheraton Eilat, and the Sheraton Dead Sea.  There was a category 2 Sheraton Tel Aviv.  And there was the category 3 Herod’s Eilat, Sheraton Towers Tel Aviv, Sheraton Ramat Gan, Le Meridien Eilat, Sheraton Eilat, and of course the Sheraton Plaza Jerusalem located just minutes from the old city.  There was also the awesome category 3 Herod’s Vitalis Spa in Eilat where for 2,800 points and $45 as a lowly SPG Gold member we were upgraded to an incredible ocean suite with 3 balconies and relaxed under their hot and cold waterfall massage fountains.  We never could have traveled like that if was had to pay hundreds of dollars per room per night, but I had no problem swinging for a few thousand points a night.

Today that trip would probably never have happened as they are nearly all gone from SPG and are mostly under Fattal management.

Between the hotels on that trip and flying in Continental’s BusinessFirst we really lived it up.  Of course it helped that Continental.com (which is identical to today’s United.com) upgraded all 3 of us from coach to BusinessFirst in both directions by typing in a simple $100 coupon code that I had from purchasing a Continental Privilege Pack. Definitely one of the more rewarding aspects of spending too much time playing around with an airline website. I even have a video recording of exactly what I did to get that to work though it’s got too much personal info in it to upload.

At any rate as of 01/01/14 the Le Meridien Dead Sea will be leaving SPG.  That leaves just the category 4 Le Meridien Eilat and the category 5 Sheraton Tel Aviv as the remaining Starwood properties in Israel.  The Le Meridien Eilat will also eventually leave Starwood as well once its SPG contract runs out though that date has yet to be announced.

On the good news side, Starwood is planning on opening the W Tel Aviv-Jaffa in 2015 with 125 rooms/suites and 38 private residences.

The Le Meridien Dead Sea is a complete anomaly within the Starwood system.  It has $500 room rates which should make it a category 5, 6, or 7 property and yet it is priced as a bargain category 1.

Those with good memories will recall that we have been down this road before.  In 2011 there was a similar announcement made and SPG.com even showed that they would be leaving.  However they had a change of heart and decided to renew their SPG contract, apparently for 2 more years through 01/01/14.  This time there is going to be a much larger management shakeup and such a change of heart seems unlikely.

At least you can still travel to Israel for free by transferring Starpoints to airlines like AA for travel on El Al, to ANA for dirt-cheap surcharge free travel on United and USAirways, to USAirways for travel on any Star Alliance carriers, or to Air France/KLM Flying Blue for cheap Delta and Skyteam travel.

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35 Comments On "Le Meridien Dead Sea Leaving Starwood 01/01/14"

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yuneeq

Baruch Dayan Ha’emes

Gabi

Hey Dan! Heard a fab joke on why the SPG rate for the Le Meridian Dead Sea was so dirt cheap, because when the SPG evaluater came to rate the hotel, he went to take a dip in the “pool” and the pain & burning in his eyes were so intense that he rated the hotel extremly poor 🙂

joe

We did this to ourself!!

We need to stop complaining and enjoy the free nights!!!

yitz1

Will they honor a reservation that was booked for Feb?

bar

If I have a points reservation with spg points for feb 2014 will it be honored?

hh

Will they honor previous starwoods reservations?

What happens....

What happens if we have a reservation already for after Jan/1st?

Davidd

anyway to start online petition to be sent to hotel(new management) to renew their contract with SPG and tell them how many people book through SPG and how valuable it is to them to stay with SPG. I can see us getting astronomical amount of online signatures in a short time which may influence new managment

DanFan
hh10

I have a reservation for mid january with spg. Will they honor it??

It's Me

We’re Jews, good deals never last when we hang around! Ask the walmart upstate…

sam the man

hi ,what happens to my reservation of jan 19-20-21 ?

israel

too bad this is upsetting why didn’t they stay and make it a category 4 hotel ?

Question

Any other hotel options in Israel where one can use points?

josh

Horrible news

a

dan ANA never has availibility on united to israel ?

Dan

Once this is officially announced I’m sure they’ll decide what to do with 2014 reservations.

@a:
Search on United.com or USAirways.com.

Davidd

@Dan: search and then what call ANA? will they book ticket for free? do you also notice no availability on ana.com for united flights to israel?

a

@Dan:
SO instaed of 80k , ana has for 50k?

Dan

@Davidd:
If you see a saver United flight on United.com or a saver USAir flight on USAirways.com then it will be on ANA.
Those flights are 80K coach or 120K business round-trip via United/USAirways and are 60K coach/90K business via ANA.

Davidd

@Dan: what about the fact of expanded saver flights with the United club card or mileage explorer card? how do you know which flights on United.com are saver and not expanded saver; once I enter my United mileage number on United.com my United club card is automatically linked to mileage number and I automatically get expanded saver flights

sam

why cant I book Le meridian Eilat for 01/26/2014?

Steve

This is a bummer — I was planning on staying at that mediocre property eventually very cheap on Star Points.

Davidd

@Dan: Hi dan if you get a chance can you get back to me as securing flights from ANA can be tricky see comment 20. I am not sure how I am suppose to differentiate between saver award and expanded saver award flight on United.com so I can book on ANA Thanks for all of your help!

mo
redboxers

@Dan: Dan, just wanted to point out i believe the Starwood card link you used in this post and some others is linking to additional card options, instead of card application.

Yalili

@Dan:

Did you know that the new W Hotel in Jaffa is the same place where they have been protesting for the past few years about digging up graves. Aby Rosen of RFR holdings is one of the owners/developers. If you recall they even had demonstrations in front of their NY office.

I aint no Satmarer, but I wonder if my local orthodox rabbi will tell me its ok to stay there. I am sure there much of the noise is also politics, but I wonder if all of it is.

Julio

Don’t ask Dan- ask Starwood. How is Dan supposed to know? Does he know all?

Anonymous

@Davidd:
using the hack in the following link you can directly search the ANA rewards site for united availability
http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/7986350/frequent-flyer-hack-finding-award-travel-on-star-alliance-partner-airlines/

NP

I wrote to Starwood and Fattal asking them to reconsider and this is the relevant part of the reply I got from Starwood. “There are many factors that go into the separation of a hotel from SPG, but we thank you for your feedback hope we can welcome you at Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel and Towers when you are in Israel.” So it looks for sure that Le Meridien Eilat will also leave otherwise they would have hoped to welcome me at the Le Meridien Eilat or the Sheraton Tel Aviv. I haven’t heard from Fattal.

Davidd

Online petition might help

hh

I received a phone call from starwoods today telling me that I will have to find a new place because the la meridian is off spg. My reservation was for mid January

sam the man

starwood sent me email that they r rebooking my jan 14 reservation which i booked nmonths ago to the crown plaza dead sea and if i dont want it they will refund my points, any input ? i know there is a mehadrin hotel program that week would u know who that is ? maybe i can get them to switch to that ? ty sam

James

The property was never a $500/night property. I regularly used to get SPG to price-match the rates on Fattal’s website, which was usually around $200/night.
In any case, this hotel never deserved to be a Starwood property in the first place. There was barely any recognition of SPG status, and the service was below all reasonable standards. I

James

I hate Fattal, they are an evil company lol.

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