Our Best Starwood Points Redemption Ever?!
One of my primary approaches to maximizing miles and points for our family's travels is to plan and book our "big" award trips as far in advance as possible. There is something to be said for pouncing on last minute award availability, but when you have four people in the family, are dealing with peak travel times, and are at the mercy of the school schedule, that last minute approach frequently isn't viable.
Many programs allow you to book awards 11 - 13 months in advance, but some have an even longer booking window than that. Specifically, the Starwood Preferred Guest program currently allows you to book awards up to 18 months in advance...which my OCD-ish right brained self just loves.
In school break terms, this means I can book SPG award trips through spring break 2018. Since some hotel award programs, such as Starwood, allow you to book a standard room on points if that room is for sale with cash this super advance planning usually works in your favor as the hotel typically has standard rooms available that far in advance. Since we are mentioning Starwood and 2018, also keep in the back of your mind that 2018 is the year Marriott is currently eyeing for combing SPG and Marriott Rewards into one loyalty program.
One type of hotel that often will often sell out of standard rooms during school breaks as the date nears are ski resorts, so this is a type of big trip I book as far in advance as I can manage. While Colorado ski resorts are my standard ski vacation go-to thanks to proximity and an overall abundance of natural beauty and pure awesomeness, I have been itching to get back to beautiful Whistler ever since my last trip ended a bit earlier and more painfully than anticipated.
By combining our SPG point balances for free online, my husband and I were able to put together enough points for a five night award stay at the Westin Whistler, which is located located just steps from the gondola and ski school meeting points. With SPG, the fifth award night is free at Category 3 and higher properties, so this dropped our "nightly rate" to just 9,600 SPG points per night during a very peak season where rooms are selling for $1899 CAD per night (currently about $1432 USD).
No matter how you do the math, this may be our best SPG redemption ever. We got peak location, in super peak season when cash prices are sky high, for a very reasonable number of SPG points per night. I'm sure this sounds a little weird, but I'm also really proud of us for following through with our goal of transitioning to fewer but longer trips since that pace and use of miles/points aligns better with where we are in life right now.
This trip is still quite a ways off into the future, but I'm very happy to have redeemed our SPG points to lock in our slope-side ski accommodations in Canada. We are hoping to have this view right out of our window again!
What is your best Starwood points redemption story?