This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Starwood Preferred Guest released a year-end wrap up of the program and how members earned and used their points – and my own Instagram photo of the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid was included!

SPG toast
My Instagram photo of the Westin Palace in Madrid made it into the Starwood Preferred Guest holiday card.

Among the interesting factoids they included were:

-The top-earning SPG member from hotel stays earned 955,100 Starpoints

-The top-earning SPG member from food/beverage expenses earned 441,123

Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali was the most popular redemption destination

The Westin Maui was the most popular hotel for SPG point redemptions in 2012.
The Westin Maui was the most popular hotel for SPG point redemptions in 2012.

– Westin St. Francis Union Square was the most checked-into Starwood property on Foursquare followed by the W San Francisco, and Sheraton Times Square in NYC

This all prompted me to take a look back at my own year with Starwood.

Credit Cards

As you know, I got in on the 30,000-point bonuses for both the personal and business Starwood American Express cards back in August. Not only did that earn me 60,000 points, and 4 stays/10 nights’ credit toward elite status,  but I now also earn 6 points per $1 I spend at Starwood since I’m a 75-night Platinum elite (I earn 4 points per $1 as a Platinum, and 2 more points per $1 with my SPG cards).

Elite Status

Starwood was my main hotel program and I’m closing in on 100-night uber-elite status with an upcoming trip to Ireland where I’ll stay at the Westin Dublin. That means in addition to regular Platinum perks like 10 Suite Night Awards, 4 Starpoints per $1 and YOUR24 check-in, I’ll also get my own personal Starwood Ambassador, the highest level of Starwood phone reps who can act as a personal concierge and resolve any customer service issues.

Hotel Stays

I had a great time staying in the heart of Stockholm at the Sheraton.
I had a great time staying in the heart of Stockholm at the Sheraton.

-Best Stay: Sheraton Stockholm – I got early check in, there was a nice lounge, I was given a huge suite and the location was perfect (and I saved a ton, in an already expensive city).

I had a great time in Monte Carlo at the Le Meridien there.
I had a great time in Monte Carlo at the Le Meridien there.

-Best Upgrade: Le Meridien Beach Plaza Monte Carlo – It wasn’t the biggest suite, but it had great views of the sea and I thought the modern decor was lovely.

Stunning sunset over Hanalei Bay from the St. Regis Princeville.
Stunning sunset over Hanalei Bay from the St. Regis Princeville.

Can’t Wait to Return: St. Regis Princeville – I loved everything about my stay, from the junior suite with ocean views I was upgraded to dining at the Kauai Grill to taking a surfing lesson in Hanalei.

The rooms at the SLS Beverly Hills tend to be too dark for my taste.
The rooms at the SLS Beverly Hills tend to be too dark for my taste.

Most Underwhelming: SLS Beverly Hills Hotel – I stayed several times and never got upgraded and I usually had to wait to check in, plus I find the rooms dark and a little depressing. On the plus side, it’s a great, central location and I love the rooftop pool.

The W "Cool Corner Room" I was upgraded to in Hong Kong - the first one reeked of smoke!
The W “Cool Corner Room” I was upgraded to in Hong Kong – the first one reeked of smoke!

Worst Stay: W Hong Kong – I was “upgraded” to smoking Cool Corner Room but had to move again late at night to a non-smoking room after I was first told none was available and then one magically appeared after I tweeted my dismay.

An aerial view of the St. Regis Bal Harbour's beach club and one of its infinity pools.
An aerial view of the St. Regis Bal Harbour’s beach club and one of its infinity pools.

Best New Hotel: St. Regis Bal Harbour – This new luxury property in my own backyard, and while there were some hiccups with my elite perks, I enjoyed my stay overall and thought it was a beautiful hotel.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.