Reminder: June 30 Last Day To Make SPG Nice Choice Selection

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Just a reminder that June 3o is the last day to register and make your selection for the SPG Nice Choice promotion. This is Starwood’s summer promotion and the options include bonus Starpoints, free nights and award redemptions, merchandise discounts and elite night credit.
As usual, I’ve procrastinated on making my choice, both because there are a lot of different choices to make, as well as to see what my summer stays schedule would look like.

As a reminder of what this promotion is all about, here are the details and the choices you must make.

First you must you’ve got to choose an earning period from the following:

Period 1: May 1-July 31
Period 2: June 1-August 31
Period 3: July 1-September 30

Next, you choose the type of bonus you want to earn from the following and which option within each of those categories, and again, you can only choose one of each:

Starpoints
-Earn double Starpoints beginning with your second stay, no limits.
-Every 6 paid nights (they don’t have to be consecutive), get 3,000 Starpoints up to a max of 9,000
-Earn 500 bonus Starpoints per eligible paid night at Sheratons worldwide (no limits). Online bookings only.
-Stay 15 nights, get triple Starpoints on all stays retroactively. No limits.

Free Night and Redemption Awards
-Stay 10 nights get 1 free weekend night at a Category 1-5 property, maximum 2 award nights.
-Stay 20 nights and get 25% off a free night redemption at a Category 1-5 property for up to a 5-night stay, maximum 2 awards.

Merchandise Discounts
-Stay 4 nights, get a $50 SPG award certificate, maximum 3 certificates.
-Stay 4 nights, get a $50 or 50-euro Westin At Home Collection discount code, maximum 3 codes.
-Stay 4 nights, get a $50 or 50-euro Sheraton At Home discount code, maximum 3 codes.

Elite Night Credit
-Stay 5 nights, earn 1 bonus Elite Qualifying Night, maximum 3 bonus nights.
-Stay 10 nights, earn 3 bonus Elite Qualifying Nights, maximum 6 bonus nights.

The Clock is Winding Down
Since it’s already almost the end of June, you might already have a good idea of what your stays for the first period look like, and whether it makes more sense to choose either the second or third period instead.

When it comes to what choices to make, think about all your upcoming stays that you have planned in the next months and see how many nights that is total. Bonus Starpoints offer a lot of flexibility since you can use them for whatever kind of redemptions you want, rather than just taking SPG-specific vouchers or going for stays at specific categories of SPG hotels. You can also start earning them with just 2 stays, meaning this might be a good option for those of you who don’t have a lot of Starwood time coming up.

On the other hand, the free weekend nights can be used up to a Category 5 hotel like the Sheraton New York and Towers, which starts at $399 a night in November normally. Elite night credits are a good option, especially if you are trying for new SPG Benefits after 50/75/100 nights which include confirmed suite upgrades, 24 hour check-in, or having a personal SPG Ambassador.

Though I applaud SPG for giving their members some interesting choices here, I’m not usually thrilled with promos like this one that make you guestimate your stays very specifically and lock you into a particular bonus structure. Plans change all the time, and just one or two small changes to your summer travel could mean a huge difference in how many points and/or perks you earn with this promotion.

The point of this promo is to entice SPG members to stay more at Starwood properties this summer, but I actually think the structure of it could de-incentivize certain travelers. Say you chose one of the options like the elite night credit option where if you stay 5 nights you earn 1 bonus Elite Qualifying Night, and then say you had 7 nights of stays planned, but knew that was going to be it. Would you stay those extra 2 nights in a Starwood hotel, or would you try to use them for summer promos at another chain?

Then again, shooting high is risky. If you chose the option to stay 15 nights or more to earn 3x points retroactively, but your plans changed at the last minute and you only got to 13 nights, then you’d forgo any bonus altogether.

So how do you choose?

My Choice
I’ve really focused on Starwood status so far this year and I’m currently at 55 nights. I’d like to get to the 75-night level so I get an extra Starpoint per dollar spent and the ability to check-in 24 hours a day. That being said, I’m not sure how many paid stays I’ll have this summer since most of my travel is in Europe and hotel rates are ridiculous so redeeming points is very appealing.  On top of that, I’ve got to start requalifying for my Hyatt Diamond status, so I may focus on Hyatt, even though I find their current airline mileage promotion to be a real snoozefest. Four Hyatt stays would net me 7,000 airline miles vs. 6 nights at Starwood which would net me 3,000 Starwood points. I value SPG points more than airline miles, but not over twice as much, so I think the Hyatt is better for me since 4 stays is doable.

If I could hit 10 nights, I might go for the free category 5 night with Starwood or if I had expensive stays lined up, I’d probably just opt for the double Starpoint option. It really depends on how expensive your stays are and how many nights you plan to stay. Since I need to re-up on Hyatt, I’ll probably just try to do as many stays there while hitting 6 nights at Starwood. Not spectacular, but I’ll hold out for more compelling promos this fall.

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