When the starwood merger was announced I was very excited as I had always read many blogs which showed the SPG suite at the US open tennis tournament in NYC.
Me and my wife are huge tennis fans - thats how we met. So this merger finally gave me an opportunity to watch the grand slam tennis the way it should be watched.
So I started accumulating points at a crazy pace - fulfulling as many megabonuses as I can, staying in RC so that I can get 120k bonus points, applying for marriott credit card and SPG credit card, buying SPG points last year when they had 50% off.
So come July (usually the time the packages are announced ) I am sitting with a healthy balance of 760k points ready to take on any exciting packages which SPG may offer.
In the mean time I also bought some early round matches with my SPG credit card during amex pre sale.
A sneek preview showed that there were courtside seats available for early round matches. When the sales opened on July 11 the website almost crashed as many people were trying to buy the limited packages available. The website did not even open in IE or chrome , when it did open in firefox the layout was so messed up that I could not see how many seats were included in a package and in my haste purchased 2 packages (4 seats in total) for the SPG suite on 2 Sep for the evening session. SPG limits that you can buy only 2 packages for a particular event and the whole US open was categorized as a single event. All the fixed price courtside seats were gone in a matter of minutes. The only available ones were the final rounds - all of them auctions.
So I emailed SPG customer care asking them to refund a package so that I can buy men's finals suite tickets. After some schmoozing they refunded a package. But I wanted courtside tickets so I kept an eye for any new ones. As soon as one became available I schmoozed the CSR again to swap out the suite tickets for the courtside tickets even though the T&C explicity say that it is not allowed.
When I finally won the suite tickets for the finals after an epic bidding frenzy I was so happy I almost did a leap like verysuiteboy did when he became LTP.
I ended up spending 81% of my points 615300 in total for 4 tickets.
The courtside seats even though amazing turned out to a damper as both federer and nadal were in the same half and did not play that day.
We ended up watching Isner and Sharapova.
Now for the finals I was super excited as Nadal was playing and we got there at around 3 even though the match did not begin before 4.
The suite had 2 levels of tickets - tier 1 and 2 and since there is no assigned seating you had to come before the others for good seats.
I had only tier 2 seats - I went for this option while bidding in order to save some points but now I regret it a little bit as Tier 1 had better seats. I was sitting on a bench behind 3 rows of tier 1 seats. That was the only option for us to sit together.
The suite was amazing though with free food, drinks, private restroom, goodies like tennis balls, chap sticks, amex radios for commetary.
The service was outstanding with personnel coming at every break refilling people's drinks, clearing the garbage, getting food as well.
The icing on the cake was Nadal winning his 16th grand slam. My wife got to meet her idol Stefan Edberg when we stepped out of the suite and took a photo with him as well.
They gave each of us a goodie bag which contained water bottle, cap, maria sharapova auto-biography, a souvenier glass which listed all the US open winners since 1970 , an iphone case, 2 sugarpova packs of candy and an US open poster.
A truly amazing experience which was well worth all my crazy spending of last year to accumulate the points needed.
Now my goal is to start accumulating again to watch Wimbledon next year - hopefully Marriott will have packages like they had this year.