Starwood Launches Free Resort Night Promo
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Starwood was the last major hotel chain holdout to announce a second quarter promotion, so I was hoping they’d decide to do a free weekend night promotion similar to their Q2 promo last year (which awarded a free Fri/Sat/Sun night award for every 3 stays). They did decide to do a similar “stay three, get one free night” promo, but this time there are two changes: 1) The awards can be redeemed for any night of the week, but 2) they can only be redeemed at one of 200 resort properties. Registration link, FAQ, List of resorts eligible for redemption.
So while we gain flexibility to redeem the awards during the other 57% of the week, the list of properties for eligible redemptions is reduced by roughly 80%. The redemption period is also until December 21, which is 4 days later than last year’s deadline of December 17.
I usually redeem for nights at expensive resort properties, so personally I like this promotion. I usually go to Miami the weekend after Thanksgiving and the W South Beach’s current daily rate is $609 a night. With this promo, I can save 40,000 Starpoints for the two day W South Beach stay, by staying 6 times – in essence a 6,667 point bonus per stay, which is very generous.
In fact, I’ve been focusing a lot on Hyatt this year, so I need 21 stays to requalify for Starwood Platinum. I’m half tempted to buy 21 single-night stays at cheap Starwood hotels to pick up 7 resort nights and solidify my Starwood Platinum until February 2013.
Let’s pretend like I have a 7 day vacation coming up at a Starwood resort where the daily rate is $400. A week will cost me $2,800, however, if I can find Starwood nights for $100 at a local Four Points by Sheraton hotel, the math would favor doing mattress runs (buying cheap hotel room nights just to get the points) versus paying for the resort stay:
21 stays x $100 = $2,100 and in return I’d get:
2,100 x 2 Starpoints for base earning
+ 2,100 x 1 for Platinum bonus
+ 2,100 x 2 for using my Starwood American Express, which I do for all Starwood stays
+ 250 x 21 for Platinum amenity, assuming these nights will be at Four Points which offer 250 point amenity
= 15, 750 Starwood points, 7 free nights at a resort (like the $609 a night W South Beach) and Starwood Platinum status for another year- all for $2,100
Now, I’m not really going to spend over $2,000 on hotel stays I don’t need and I don’t have the time to do mattress runs since NYC is such an expensive city and finding cheap hotels in the region would be too time consuming. However, I will do some mattress runs (buying hotel nights just for the points) during this period- especially when I’ll already be in a cheap city. Just how many will depend on a) how many regular Starwood stays I’ll have and b) how easily I can find cheap hotels.
Below is a list of the participating resorts where free nights can be redeemed and there are some stellar properties, including W South Beach, W Retreat Bali, St Regis Princeville, St Regis Punta Mita, Sheraton Maldives, Le Meridien Fishermans Cove Seychelles and Marques de Riscal in Spain. I’ve highlighted some of the ones I’m most interested in redeeming. If you want to check if a resort has award availability, go to SPG.com, search for the city where you want to stay and if it shows availability under “SPG Free Nights” then you will be able to use a free night certificate there. However, free nights are popular hotels go quickly, especially during these promotions, so you may want to book a room using points now and then switch it out for free night certificates once you’ve earned them. I’ve done this several times in the past with success, though understand some may frown on this speculative booking strategy, so you should not abuse it.
Overall, if leveraged property, this promo can be extremely lucrative and provide you with a vacation you though you’d never be able to afford. I personally recommend the Starwood American Express, because it gives you an additional two Starpoints per dollar spent at Starwood hotels. Plus it also gives you 5 nights or 2 stays per year towards elite qualification, For a limited time you can get 10,000 Starpoints just for signing up for the card (no annual fee for the first year, $65 thereafter, plus 15,000 more when you spend $15,000 within 6 months).
- Sheraton Desert Oasis
- Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
- The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician
- The Phoenician, Scottsdale
- The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
- The Westin Kierland Villas, Scottsdale
- The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
- Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor
- Le Parker MÃ©ridien Palm Springs
- Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa
- The St. Regis Monarch Beach
- The Westin Desert Willow Villas, Palm Desert
- The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
- The Westin Mission Hills Resort Villas, Palm Springs
- The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth
- The Westin Verasa Napa
- Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas, Avon / Vail Valley
- Sheraton Steamboat Resort
- Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas
- The St. Regis Aspen Resort
- The Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas
- The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel
- Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort, Port St. Lucie
- Sheraton Sand Key Resort
- Sheraton Suites Key West
- Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas
- Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas, I-Drive/Orlando
- The Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale
- The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida
- The Westin Key West Resort & Marina
- W Fort Lauderdale
- W South Beach
- Walt Disney World Dolphin
- Walt Disney World Swan
- The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort
- The Westin Resort, Guam
- Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach
- Sheraton Kauai Resort
- Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
- Sheraton Waikiki
- The Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki
- The St. Regis Princeville Resort
- The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
- The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali
- The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
- North Carolina
- The Ballantyne, Charlotte
- Cove Haven Resort
- Paradise Stream Resort
- Pocono Palace Resort
- Puerto Rico
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
- W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island
- South Carolina
- Sheraton Broadway Plantation
- The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa
- The Westin La Cantera Resort, San Antonio
- The St. Regis Deer Valley
- The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, Vermont
- Virgin Islands
- The Westin St. John Resort & Villas
- Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel
- Cayman Islands
- Four Points by Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula Resort
- Le MÃ©ridien She Shan Shanghai
- Le MÃ©ridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Dameisha Resort, Shenzhen
- Sheraton Haikou Resort
- Sheraton Hangzhou Wetland Park Resort
- Sheraton Huadu Resort
- Sheraton Huizhou Beach Resort
- Sheraton Jiuzhaigou Resort
- Sheraton Qiandao Lake Resort
- Sheraton Qingyuan Lion Lake Resort
- Sheraton Sanya Haitang Bay Resort
- Sheraton Sanya Resort
- Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula Resort
- Sheraton Yantai Golden Beach Resort
- The Malus Resort, Sanya
- The St. Regis Lhasa Resort
- The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort
- The Westin Resort, Macau
- Maldives, Republic of
- Hacienda San Jose
- Hacienda Santa Rosa
- Hacienda Temozon
- Hacienda Uayamon
- Le MÃ©ridien Cancun Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center
- Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort
- The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
- The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas, Cancun
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta
- South Africa
- Castillo Hotel Son Vida, Mallorca
- Le MÃ©ridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa
- MarquÃ©s de Riscal, Elciego
- Sheraton Fuerteventura Beach, Golf & Spa Resort
- Sheraton La Caleta Resort & Spa, Costa Adeje, Tenerife
- Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel
- Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Santa Maria de El Paular
- St. Maarten
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees