Starwood Category 7 Hotels Now Open To Cash & Points Redemptions

by on July 13, 2012 · 9 comments

in Starwood

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Update: The 30,000-point bonus is no longer available. The bonus is now 25,000 points for the Starwood Amex business and personal cards.The big news in the hotel world this week is that Starwood Preferred Guest members can now redeem for rooms at the brand’s highest Category 7 properties using Cash & Points.

The new Cash & Points award chart, including Category 7 hotels.

Previously, SPG’s Cash & Points option was only available for Category 1-6 hotels, and to stay at a Category 7 hotel using points, you’d have to spend 30,000-35,000 points for a free night. With the new Cash & Points option in this category, however, you only have to spend 15,000 points + $275. So spending $275 saves you 15,000 points–it’s basically like buying back your points for 1.83 cents each. A decent value considering I conservatively value SPG points at around 3 cents each.

The St. Regis Bali, one of the Category 7 hotels you can now redeem for using Cash & Points.

Before you get too excited and start booking luxury rooms all over the world, however, this option is only available at 13 out of 24 Category 7 hotels:

Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort
The Chatwal, New York City
The Gritti Palace, Venice
Hotel President Wilson Geneva
The St. Regis Aspen Resort
The St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
The St. Regis Bali Resort
The St. Regis Florence
The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort
The St. Regis New York
W South Beach
W Paris – Opera

Still, at least there are some options where there were none before.

So let’s take a quick example to see if it works at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, where I stayed a few months ago. I searched for a couple dates in August, and all I got was either the full payment or full points options. Remember, though, you can select the “Browse Dates/Rates” to pull up a calendar with availability for the different rates.

If the dates you are looking for are not available, you can use the calendar function to browse dates where the Cash & Points rate is available.

It was telling me that all the dates in August were available for check-in using Cash & Points, however, when I logged on to actually book the rate, it wasn’t available. For any of the dates I checked in August, September or October. Plus, if you notice in the screenshot, it says that Cash & Points is not available for this hotel.

Though the calendar had told me Cash & Points was available on my dates, the SPG site still says that this option is not available at the St. Regis Bal Harbour.

As you can see, the same thing happened at the W Paris – Opera.

It looks like SPG has only been able to partially update its website so that members can find the dates Cash & Points is available at these hotels, but not to actually book those rates online.

When I called SPG directly at 888-625-4988, they were able to offer me the Cash & Points rate on the dates I had found online, though, so for now, it looks like if you want to book Cash & Points at one of these hotels, you’ll have to call in to book the room directly with an agent – it’s a bit of extra effort but at least there’s no charge for doing so.

Let’s say that I was able to book these rooms hypothetically. That St. Regis room would have cost me $409. Using Cash & Points, I’d be paying $275 + 15,000 points, which would each be worth 0.83 cents. Not a good value. At the W Paris, the regular rate was 320 euros, or $390, so my redemption value would be worth even less!

In order to make a Cash & Points redemption at one of these properties worth it to me, I’d like to get at least 2 cents in value out of my points, which means the room would have to cost at least $575. Granted, rooms at many of these properties do go for that rate in higher seasons, but that also means Cash & Points redemption availability will be much more scarce. For instance, I found a room available for a single night at the end of August at the W Paris according to the rate calendar (though again, I couldn’t book it online at that would normally go for 450 euros, or around $550. That would be getting closer to the mark.

As always, when you’re thinking about redeeming your points, calculate exactly what your points will be worth and see if the redemption is a good value for you. Though some of the value you get out of Cash & Points bookings on Category 7 hotels might not be worth it to you, at least there are more options now, and chances are that you can find some pretty great redemption situations if you look.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Aussie

    “Pretty amazing value”, are you kidding?

    This is totally out of line with the C&P’s of the other categories.

    Always nice to have another option, yes. Amazing value, not at all.

  • thepointsguy

    That was a brain fart- meant to say “Not the most amazing value, but can be decent”. Post updated

  • Mark

    On Flyertalk, SPG Lurker made it clear that currently C&P for Category 7 properties could only be booked by calling. That could account for your frustration booking the rate online.

  • MarkJ

    As a skier I have been to both the St Regis in Aspen and Deer Valley. I think the Deer Valley property is better and is still available for 20,000 points/night and no cash. It remains, in my mind, a much better deal than the St Regis in Aspen.

  • Joshua Pickles

    I was there in January and stayed 4 nights at the Hilton and 5 nights at the Westin. The Hilton is still quite a ways from the tram at Table Mountain, you will need a taxi or car to get there. The mosque on the side with the view of Table Mountain kept me up all night with the prayers. The pool was not something that I would want to swim in and not very clean, the Indian Restaurant was excellent. The lounge was very good with a nice breakfast and appetizers in the evening.

    The Westin was a very good value, very clean, larger and more modern room. the lounge had an excellent buffet breakfast and a made to order hot breakfast entrees at no charge for Platinums. The spa pool has an outstanding view of the harbor and Robbin Island. The spa sauna is glass on two sides and looks out over the harbor front and city. An added surprise, the wet areas of the spa (Steam and Sauna) are clothing optional co-ed. Large locker rooms and free use for guests. Westin operates a free shuttle ever half hour to the waterfront.

    The visit to Robbin Island was sort of a let down as there real was not a lot to see, the facility has been completely sterilized, even no furniture. Unless you are really into the history I would not recommend it as it takes a block of about 4 hours time. The South African wine country is a whole day trip and I recommend getting a car and visiting the wineries.

    Cape Town is one of the safest towns in South Africa, however you must be very vigilant in the city. We heard stories of other hotel guests getting mugged within blocks of the hotel. Do not travel with all of your cash and credit cards, use the hotel in room vault and do not lay your mobile phone on the cafe table.

    I flew UA SAN-FRA the LH FRA-CPT.

  • davidu

    I’ve actually been able to get Cash & Point deals over the phone at other Category 7′s for the last few months. Like the new W Koh Samui. Never shows up on the website. In fact, all kinds of good C&P rates are often available over the phone that aren’t on the website. Once in a while the rep will even put me on hold, “talk to her manager” or whatever, and come back with some deal if I stay an extra night or something. I’m usually able to keep the value over $0.02, and often more. Like in Whistler, where they had AMAZING deals all winter long.

  • Zzzzmd

    From everyones description, the only way to make cash and points usefull, or for that matter just points for a free room, is also to make sure that room is over 550, and you stay fro 5 days, this way you only use it for 4 days, and the fith day is free. Then add your suite upgrade, (the 10 you get for 50 stays) to that and you get a suite for 5 nights for 4 days of points or ccash and points
    then it is definitely worth it.

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