Throwing out a first pitch at a major league baseball game can be exhilarating or, for Gary Dell'abate, aka Baba Booey, aka Howard Stern's longtime punching bag and producer, downright embarrassing. Hey, 50 Cent, you aren't immune from ridicule, either.
To throw out a first pitch, at a World Series, at a Game 7, well, that is a thrill not easily defined. But, the honor doesn't just go to any Joe Schmo off the street—like Daniel Eleff, a rabbi from Ohio, who also happens to run the blog Dan's Deals.
Daniel, a diehard Cleveland Indians fan, SPG member and a man who knows how to accrue and use loyalty points with the best of them, redeemed a staggering 1,060,500 Starpoints to throw out a first pitch at Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland. (Mr. Eleff has a history of using loyalty points on sports-centric rewards.)
That's a lot of points, Daniel! So many, in fact, that had he decided to, instead, use them on a hotel stay, the equivalency comes to more than a month of free nights in a superior room at the St. Regis New York. We aren't talking a Four Points, a Sheraton or a Fairfield Inn (now that SPG is part of Marriott International)—but a St. Regis, the one in New York, where a superior room runs north of $1,100 per night. Multiply that over 30 days and you can see how many SPG points Mr. Eleff had.
So, was it worth it? First, Daniel didn't get to throw out the "actual" first pitch. That honor went to former Indian great Jim Thome (some things even an inordinate amount of loyalty points can't buy).
While the cost was steep, the moment ephemeral, I'd say—heck, yeah—it's worth it. Especially for an Indians fan (full disclosure, I am not one). This is a moment in time that may never come around again, and to be part of it, in some way, is a true experience.
I just used that omnipresent hospitality buzzword—experience. HOTEL MANAGMENT editor-at-large Glenn Haussman recently wrote about this experience phenomenon; namely, that hoteliers use it far too often to describe something that, on face value, is not an experience, but mundane. Preparing your own waffle makes not an experience. Throwing out a first pitch at Cleveland's most important baseball since 1948 does.
The SPG Moments program is known to give SPG members once-in a-lifetime experiences and VIP access to premiere sporting events, concerts, culinary experiences, and more. When hoteliers talk about experiences, they should be touting their loyalty programs that offer real experiences, ones that will always be remembered, ones that offer total recall, ones that you can tell your grandchildren about and never get tired of re-telling the story.
Daniel Eleff got that. I'm saving up my SPG points, too—after all, the Baltimore Orioles will—I pray—one day make it back to the World Series.