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Starwood offers elites who requalify for their tier in 2013 a choice of elite gifts. Golds who requalify (10 stays/25 nights) get the choice of a 25% discount on one award stay or double points for a month, and Platinums (25 stays/50 nights) get the choice of a 35% discount on one award stay or double points for a month.
I just requalified for Platinum with 50 nights year-to-date thanks in part to starting the year with 10 elite nights thanks to my SPG Personal and Business Amex cards which give 2 stays/5 nights each towards elite status. To get notification of the gift, make sure you’re opted in to Starwood’s promotional emails, but even if you do not receive Starwood’s promotional emails, you can still register for this promotion here.
In terms of qualification, the Starwood lurker on this FlyerTalk thread explains:
Preferred members who achieve Gold status and Gold members requalifying are eligible for the Gold gift. Gold members who achieve Platinum status and Platinum members requalifying are eligible for the Platinum gift. If a member obtains Gold status by meeting the spend threshold on their SPG Amex co-brand credit card, they will also be eligible for the Gold gift. Lifetime Gold members who hit the Gold stay or night thresholds and Lifetime Platinums who hit the Platinum stay or night thresholds will also be eligible for gift selection.
Comped Gold status from the Amex Personal and Business Platinum cards will not get you the Gold gift. Also, those who are Platinum, but don’t requalify for Platinum – even if they get Gold, they won’t get a gift.
The promotion is ongoing, so you can qualify and register throughout 2013, and those who qualify in December of 2013 for the Gold or Platinum gift can register and up until early in 2013.
Choosing an Option
Per the promotional terms and conditions, if I choose the double points option, I earn double points just on my base earning. So whereas right now I earn 2 Starpoints per $1, plus 2 more Starpoints per $1 as a Platinum and an additional 2 points per $1 with my Starwood Amex, for a total of 6 Starpoints per $1. If I choose this option, though, I’ll earn an additional 2 points per $1 on base spending for a total of 8 Starpoints per $1. You get to choose from three possible months provided as options at the time I register. That just gives me until September, so I find this option fairly limited.
I’m personally much more interested in the 35% off redemption gift. To book a discounted award stay, you must get the Award ID on your registration confirmation and call the SPG number at 1-888-625-4991 to book (you can’t do it online). This benefit is also only available at Category 1-6 hotels for stays up to a five-night stay up to six months from registration and applies only to standard room categories.
To max out the point savings at a Category 6 hotel like the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, you could book four award nights at a peak time when award nights 25,000 points each (and get the fifth night free) for a total of 100,000 Starpoints, when rooms are going for 419 EUR ($550) per night.
With the 35% off elite gift, you’d get 35,000 points back, so your five nights would cost a total of 65,000 points instead of $2,750, getting a value of about 4.2 cents per point.
To earn more than 35,000 points (the equivalent of what you’re saving) with the double points promotion, you’d need to spend at least $17,500 during your selected double points month. That’s something I won’t be doing, but if you plan huge events or are a road warrior, the double points may be the way to go.
My (Possible) Plan
This option has the potential to be extremely lucrative at lower category hotels as well. To take an example, I’m thinking of going to Sydney for New Year’s. The Westin Sydney is a Category 5 property that normally requires 12,000 Starpoints for an award night.
I could book four nights at 12,000 points and get a fifth night free, spending a total of 48,000 Starpoints. However, I’d then get 25%, or 16,800 Starpoints back.
So my total redemption would be 31,200 Starpoints for five nights in Sydney over New Year’s – a breakdown of 6,240 Starpoints per night.
Room rates at the same time are a whopping $750 AUD ($770 USD), so those five nights would cost me $3,750 AUD ($3,845), giving me a value of 12.4 cents per point. Thanks SPG! Even though I’m not maxing out the rebate with a category 5 hotel, I’d still save 16,800 Starpoints- to get that many during a double points month I’d need to spend at least $8,400.
The one chance I would have to take on that particular redemption is that I can only book up to 6 months out, so I will have to wait to register until the end of June to book this award and hope rooms are still available.
All in all, I think it’s nice that Starwood rewards loyal customers for qualifying for their tier early, even if it’s just under the deadline, and a 35% points discount can be a great way to save a ton of points if you plan your redemptions carefully.
Here are the rest of the terms and conditions for each offer:
Double Starpoints® Month: Registered member can choose to earn double Starpoints on all eligible stays during the calendar month of their choice from the three months provided as options. Retroactive selecting of the member’s bonus month is prohibited. Members who earn double Starpoints will earn an additional two Starpoints per eligible US$1 spent (for a total of four Starpoints per dollar). Elite-level extra Starpoints earnings and other bonuses will not be doubled. Only the base two Starpoints per dollar earnings are doubled. There is no limit to the number of bonus Starpoints that can be earned during the promotion period. Bonus Starpoints will post to the registered member’s account within 2–4 weeks after the qualifying stay posts. An Eligible Night is a night at any of the over 1,100 SPG®-participating hotels and resorts paying an Eligible Rate during the promotion period. An Eligible Rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. SPG-participating hotels and resorts and a description of Eligible Stays and Eligible Rates can be found at spg.com under program terms and conditions. See Section 1.4 b iii for the complete definition of Eligible Rates, but note that certain prepaid rooms where the booking is made through a third party (including but not limited to travelocity.com, expedia.com and orbitz.com) are not Eligible Rates and do not earn Starpoints or qualify toward promotional earnings.s
35% off Starpoints® Redemption: Registered member chose one (1) 35%-off redemption award. SPG® members must call 1-888-625-4991 or their nearest Starwood Preferred Guest® Customer Contact Center and mention Award ID PP2POR. Offer is valid for one award at Category 1–6 hotels and resorts for up to a five-night stay through November 30, 2013. This 35%-off redemption offer excludes Category 7 properties, upgrade awards and award reservations booked online. 35%-off redemption and no blackout dates applies to standard room categories only. 35%-off redemption stay will count toward elite qualification. Member forfeits percent-off redemption when modifying award reservation outside the offer dates. If a percent-off redemption award is cancelled, only the amount of Starpoints used to order the percent-off redemption award will be credited to the member’s account. Other restrictions may apply. Advance reservations required.
Qualifications and Starwood Terms: Offers are nontransferable and void for Starwood employees. Once a member chooses his or her offer it cannot be changed at any time. All promotions are subject to the Starwood Preferred Guest program terms and conditions, which are subject to change without notice and can be found at spg.com. Offer is applicable to individual members only and not to groups. Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Starwood reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time. To update your communication preferences or learn about our privacy practices, view our Privacy Statement on spg.com/privacy, or access our privacy information line by calling 1-877-782-0071 in the U.S. and Canada or +353-21-4930474 in all other countries. Starpoints, SPG, Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Four Points, W, Aloft, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Element, Sheraton, St. Regis and their respective logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. Void where prohibited by law. ©2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All rights reserved.