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And the SPG Contest Winners Are…

by on August 14, 2012 · 33 comments

in Contests, Starwood

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I greatly enjoyed reading through the entries of the “Stretch your Starpoints” promotion we ran last week. I am always amazed at my readers’ creativity and if you didn’t get a chance, check out the entries in the comments section of this post. I spent several hours on Saturday reviewing the top entries that provided the most bang per point and that were original and I’m happy to announce the following two winners.

Cash and Points Redemption: Matty submitted on 08/07/2012 at 10:34 am

Matty discovered that he could book an 18-night stay at the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing using 1600 points and $30 per night.  Using the dates 2/10/13 – 2/28/13 (right around the Chinese New Year), he was able to redeem 28,800 points and pay $540 for a value just under 45 cents per point.  Here is the breakdown:

RACK rate for 18 night stay at Great Wall Sheraton Beijing.

Cash and Points rate for 18 night stay at Great Wall Sheraton Beijing.

1 Room, 2 Adults, King Bed
RACK Rate: 4,080.00 CNY = $641.34 per night
Estimated Total for 18 Nights: 84,456.00 CNY = $13,265.72
Total Cash and Points Rate: 28,800 points and $540
Room Total – Cash Component: $13,265.72 – $540 = $12,725.72
Final Point Value: $13,185.72 / 28,800 = $0.442

Free Night Redemption: AdamB submitted on 08/07/2012 at 12:55 pm

Adam found a way to stretch his Starpoints to save $8,456 by using all 30K of them giving him a value of 28.18 cents per point. Here were his findings:

12/19/2013 Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village ($3491.06 or 12,000 SPG points)
12/22/2013 Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village ($3491.06 or 12,000 SPG points)
12/06/2013 The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing ($737 (CNY 4,692) or 3,000 SPG points)
12/07/2013 The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing ($737 (CNY 4,692) or 3,000 SPG points)

Night of December 19, 2013 Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village.

Night of December 22, 2013 Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village.

Nights of December 6-8, 2013, at The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing.

Congratulations to our winners! We will be in contact directly to put you in touch with American Express so they can fulfill your prizes. If you didn’t win, you can still bank 30,000 points with the current limited-time offer on the Starwood American Express Personal and Business cards, which runs until September 4, 2012.

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.

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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  • Grant Thomas

    SPG must be crazy to charge $3,039 a night. On the plus side, you get free internet and bottled water.

  • MikeW

    Can we challenge these results???? Your numbers arent right. For one, you have the wrong amount on what 84,456 CNY is worth in US Dollars. Its not $13,725.72, and it never was… its 13,281.72. You are off by $444…Then Mattys entry is wrong as he never stated it was for 2 people, as that changes the rack rate by $180 CNY per night.

    Come on man, if you are going to run a contest, at least be fair about it on how you grade it.

  • Rob

    That’s when you use points: when the prices are crazy.

  • PJ

    that entry smells like old old fish!! you cn punch in those days into http://www.spg.com and see yourself. there is FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON MANATTAN CHELSEA for 2999 per night before tax but not the SOHO location. At anyrate any reasonable person would believe that is real ?

  • http://twitter.com/TravelSummary Travel Summary

    I kind of agree. But I knew from the beginning that this was going to be a hard contest to be “fair” about with so few parameters defined. I expect you’re not the only one that’s unhappy!

  • Mark

    I agree with you. You should challenge these results especially if they take the bed type and not the number of adults into the entry.

  • Jimmyhatwetness

    dumb contest

  • thepointsguy

    Its real- I pulled it up today- its 2013 in case you accidentally put 2012

  • PJ

    now it shows BOTH at high rates SORRY I must have done something wrong

  • Mark

    You can always sue for the value of 30K starpoints and let the judge decide.

  • Chris S.

    These folks really gamed the “system.” I’m curious where the best value can be found year-round, on average, not over specific holidays.

  • The Points Guy

    MikeW, I appreciate your concern, but though our currency conversion was off slightly due to a switch of digits (Matty’s original entry said the total bill would be $13,265), the rate you got and the one Matty got at the hotel ended up being the same for a total of 84,456 CNY for the 18 nights. You did point out that you got that rate by booking the room with 2 adults in it (thank you for being specific), but otherwise the points and rate breakdown are the same, so I awarded the points to Matty because he got it in first by three days.

  • thepointsguy

    I wouldn’t say gamed- but more “got creative”. I generally find Cash & Points in Europe to be a tremendous value consistently.

  • thepointsguy

    MikeW, I appreciate your concern, but though our currency conversion was off slightly due to a switch of digits (Matty’s original entry said the total bill would be $13,265), the rate you got and the one Matty got at the hotel ended up being the same for a total of 84,456 CNY for the 18 nights. You did point out that you got that rate by booking the room with 2 adults in it (thank you for being specific), but otherwise the points and rate breakdown are the same, so I awarded the points to Matty because he got it in first by three days.

  • Mark

    What a poorly run “contest”. It specifically said ” The reader who is able to demonstrate they can pull the most value from each point wins. ” and the fact that MikeW went above and beyond to gather specific details to find the best point value clearly illustrates that he did that. I think MikeW should submit a formal complaint to Amex.

  • thepointsguy

    But his value wasn’t greater than the winners and came second?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Adams/100001568389233 John Adams

    This is really lame. I was looking forward to some helpful insights to using SPG points. No help here!

  • thepointsguy

    Read through the entries- lots of good properties that have low point redemptions and high room rates

  • MikeW

    Actually my value wasnt 2nd, it was 1st, because if you read my comment above, your numbers were wrong on the value of 84K CNY, I guess you didnt go back and check but you were off on calculating that. At worst it was tied for 1st, but again he never made mention of the fact that the rack rate goes up for 2 people and didnt say that, whereas I did. You are giving him credit for the same rate of 4,080 CNY/nt instead of 3,900/CNY nt., when he didnt mention why the rate changed. How am I 2nd????

    With that said, I would never sue or file a complaint to AMEX! As I said in my entry post, Points Guy at least went out of his way to give us an opportunity with a creative contest unlike having people just tweet their name and follow him, so I know the spirit of intent was good, and to be frank, he gives a lot of great info on this blog, probably better than anyone else, so Im not gonna change stance now and start railing on him. I just disagree on how you judged it. It’s clear I was the winner (based on all the responses that are supposed to be transparent), and am the only one who pointed out why the rack rate went up. And there is some irony there because I am sure TPG that you have stayed places and didnt get the right amount of points credited, and complained to get what you thought was due. This is really no different than a situation like that except you are playing the part of the hotel who isnt honoring what they said, and Id think you would have a little more understanding of that fact, but hey its your contest and you get to make the decisions, as wrong as they may be.

  • thepointsguy

    I appreciate your good sport attitude on this. As for being tied for first, I specifically said the first person to highlight the value would be the winner in the case of a tie, so thats why it went to Matty.

    That being said, I’m going to try to get another prize for you, so I’ll contact you directly. Thanks for playing along!

  • steven

    actually he is playing games, SPG site just have glitch, if you go to http://www.ctrip.com you can easily find just cost CNY 833 per night, not CNY4080

  • PJ

    The SPG Service Rep I talked to was as shocked to see the posted $2999 on NYC hotels and suggested that was a SYSTEM RACK PRICE for far dated bookings. translation = it is as good as the 4 Miles UA redemption to HongKONG.

    Postings from Whoever went on with his/her real experience with SPG stay are those telling us how good SPG points are. 30,000 points got me 10 weekend nights at LAX Gateway Sheraton and 4.8K +$75 at Sheraton Iguazzu speaks well for the reason why we so far signed up for 3 AMEX SPG cards and going for more .

  • Lala

    Well, if this is the case then I should receive a prize also since my entry also had a higher value with a different and unique combination of hotel, date, bed type, and number of adults!

  • Lala

    By the way, I am really happy to read this reply since you are doing the right thing and awarding the correct winner.

  • Jon

    Wasn’t that the point of the contest…to “game the system” to find the best redemption rate? Everyone went into the contest knowing the rules up front.

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  • PJ

    indeed whoever pays for those prices on the winning entries need to have his/her brain checked.

  • Xhe41

    errrmmm………Beijing isn’t in Europe…….it’s in China

  • thepointsguy

    Who said it was? I was speaking generally for myself that I find lots of value redeeming for C+P in Europe

  • Lala

    My entry is in the same category as MikeW, with mine for the free nights entry. I have a unique entry of hotel, date, bed type, and number of adults that has a total higher $ value than what was chosen as the winning entry of AdamB. I have screenshots pulled on 8/11/12 from spg.com clearly showing the amounts for each hotel date, bed, and number of adults combination with tax included. The rates are different with mine being higher! The only hotel that is the same as AdamB’s entry is the Great Wall Sheraton.

    The details in the contest state: “Entries are on a first come basis- you may want to wait until the very end to submit your entry, if someone else posts the same hotel/date before you, they get the entry and you’ll need to submit another option.”

    My entry is unique and different and I clearly showed that by adding SPECIFIC bed type and number of adults to each hotel night made my value greater. You just said above, “I specifically said the first person to highlight the value would be the winner in the case of a tie”. Why is my entry not the winning entry”. I did just that, highlighted by my unique entry, not nearly identical.

  • steven

    it’s just SPG glitch, if Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing really sell CNY 4000+ /night in Chinese new year, the whole hotel will be empty…….. check Ctrip you will easy find CNY 800+ price

  • Lala

    Since it has been 2 days now without a reply, I assume you don’t care about me and my position on this.

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