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One complaint you won’t hear from award travel enthusiasts is that there aren’t enough places we want to go. Today, TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen stretches that list even further as he shares his favorite Starwood properties for award redemptions.
To borrow from a well-known phrase, value is in the eye of the beholder. This is especially true when it comes to redeeming your points and miles for flights and hotel stays. The awards you covet might be of little interest to someone else, and vice versa. Still, some properties tend to offer strong redemption options, so I wanted to follow-up on my earlier posts about top Hyatt redemptions and Hilton redemptions, and today take you through my list of 9 Starwood properties that are worth every point.
In compiling this list, I utilized a number of factors to determine which Starwood properties offer the “best ” value:
- Typical revenue rates
- Uniqueness (amenities, location, etc.)
In addition, you can extend the value of your award stays even further simply by holding The Platinum Card from American Express, which offers automatic Gold status in the Starwood Preferred Guest program (check out my post on the value of SPG Elite Status for more info). This gives you bonus points, a welcome amenity, and possible room upgrades, among other benefits. SPG also joined the free Wi-Fi party last month, giving all guests complimentary internet when you book your stay through official channels (which by definition includes award stays).
Of course, you likely have a different way of defining what makes a redemption valuable, so feel free to include your favorite Starwood properties in the comments below! These are my picks:
Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona, this location is actually three separate properties: the “standard” Phoenician, the Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, and the Phoenician Residences (which isn’t available using Starpoints). The complex includes nine pools, the luxurious Centre for Well-Being Spa, on-site tennis and bike rentals, and 27 holes of championship golf. Standard accommodations start at 530 square feet, and include a balcony or patio, marble bathroom, and separate shower & tub. For a more exclusive experience, consider reserving one of the 60 rooms at The Canyon Suites to take advantage of a private infinity pool, chauffeured service around the property, and priority reservations.
Both The Phoenician and the Canyon Suites are Category 6 properties, requiring 20,000 – 25,000 SPG points for a free night. Paid rates in April start at $439 per night, giving you a value of 2.2 cents per point.
If a New England getaway is on your horizon, you’ll get terrific value redeeming your Starpoints any time of year at The Equinox, in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest in southwestern Vermont. Guests enjoy priority tee times on the property’s championship golf course, and afterwards can relax in the 13,000 square foot spa. Skiers will appreciate that Bromley and Stratton Mountains are less than 20 miles away; you can also try out cross country skiing at Hildene, with complimentary transportation and a 50% discount on ski rental. With 195 rooms across five separate buildings, the resort feels much more like a bed & breakfast, though with all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury collection property.
This is a Category 5 property, requiring 12,000 – 16,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in April start at $299 per night, giving you a value of 2.5 cents per point.
Another luxury resort for winter travelers is the St. Regis Deer Valley, located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Park City, Utah. With ski-in, ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort, you’ll have miles of trails to explore and a five-star resort waiting for you to return. The split-level heated infinity pool and hot tubs are open year-round, and the Remede Spa provides even more pampering (though be prepared to pay up!). Other amenities include the chain’s signature champagne sabering, free hot chocolate, a “ski beach,” and gorgeous views from just about everywhere on the property (which TPG loved during his recent stay at Sundance).
This is a Category 7 property, requiring 30,000 – 35,000 points for a free night. Paid rates next winter start at $1,336 per night, giving you a value of 4.45 cents per point. (Non-winter rates can get as low as $300/night, so this redemption is most valuable during ski season.)
Just like Hilton HHonors, there’s an SPG property that’s an absolute steal using points in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: the Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral. Located next to the city’s main train station, the property is actually the largest Aloft in the world, with 482 rooms and suites. Standard rooms start at 355 square feet and include free internet, 42″ LCD TVs, and walk-in rain showers. Common areas include all of the brand’s contemporary fixtures, including the W XYZ Bar, re:fuel cafe, and re:mix lounge. You can also enjoy the rooftop pool, but when you want to explore KL, the city centre, central market, and Petronas Towers are all just short public transportation rides away.
This is a Category 2 property, requiring just 4,000 points for a free night. Rates in April start at $126 per night, giving you a value of 3.15 cents per point.
Another terrific value in Southeast Asia is found at Le Meridien Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Right next to Angkor Wat, the resort includes 213 guest rooms & suites across a lush tropical property, including a pool, spa, and multiple dining options on-site. The grounds and accommodations are designed to blend contemporary luxury with traditional, local decor, giving you a modern resort next to an ancient city.
This is a Category 1 property, requiring just 3,000 points for a free night. Rates in April start at $140 per night, giving you a value of 4.67 cents per point.
If your travels take you to London, consider redeeming your Starpoints at the Park Tower Knightsbridge, part of the Luxury Collection of hotels within the SPG program. The 280 rooms & suites offer views of Knightsbridge, Hyde Park (just a short walk from the hotel), or the city skyline, and all include marble bathrooms, slippers and bathrobes, and walk-in showers. Indulge in afternoon tea at The Knightsbridge Lounge, a quiet dinner at One-O-One Restaurant, or a cigar and whiskey at The Hyde Bar. Knightsbridge Tube station is a short walk from the hotel, giving you easy access to all of the city’s main attractions.
This is a Category 6 property, requiring 20,000 – 25,000 points for a free night. Rates in April start at $489 per night, giving you a value of 2.44 cents per point.
There are 17 Starwood options in Manhattan, but despite being one of the oldest properties on the list, the jewel is actually the St. Regis. After a 2013 renovation, the hotel feels completely new, while retaining its well-deserved reputation for traditional luxury. The 171 guest rooms and 67 suites evoke a residential feel, with custom-made furnishings, unique artwork, and silk wall coverings. You can grab a drink at the historic King Cole Bar (where the Bloody Mary was allegedly invented) or a bite to eat at The King Cole Bar & Saloon, which serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
This is a Category 7 property, requiring 30,000 – 35,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in April start at $745 per night, giving you a value of 2.48 cents per point.
A trip to Argentina’s capital is another way to get great value from your Starpoints by staying at the Park Tower. Situated in the heart of Buenos Aires, the hotel consists of 181 guest rooms spanning 23 floors. The standard (“Deluxe”) rooms start at 592 square feet, and include Italian marble bathrooms, 24-hour butler service, and free health club access. Relax in one of two on-property pools or play a quick game of tennis on the lighted outdoor courts.
This is a Category 5 property, requiring 12,000 – 16,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in April start at $289 per night (and include breakfast), giving you a value of 2.41 cents per point.
If you’re considering a trip to the United Arab Emirates, consider redeeming points at the Grosvenor House, another Luxury Collection property. With 749 rooms, suites, and apartments spread across two 45-story towers, the hotel provides a variety of accommodations to suit all types of travelers. Enjoy spectacular marina views, butler service, a separate tub and shower, and Bvlgari bath amenities from all rooms, or treat yourself to additional pampering in the two on-site spas (one in each tower). You can choose from 16 restaurants and bars, but staying here also gives you access to the facilities at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, with 13 additional dining options plus beach access. If you can, try to score an upgrade to Level 5, the property’s executive lounge, which made my list of top international hotel club lounges.
This is a Category 6 property, requiring 20,000 – 25,000 points for a free night. Paid rates in April start at $327 a night, giving you a value of 1.64 cents per point.
Between the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, partnerships with Uber and Caesars Hotels, and the SPG/Delta Crossover Rewards program, there are plenty of ways to earn Starpoints, and this post features just a few of the great ways to redeem them. The list could go on and on, demonstrating that airline transfers aren’t the only reason TPG lists Starpoints as the most valuable loyalty currency.
What are your favorite hotels for Starwood award redemptions?
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