One of the nice “touches” that Starwood Preferred Guest offers elite members is a renewal gift every year. It’s nothing huge, but a nice gesture, in my opinion. As I wrote about in April, this year they stepped up their game and are offering Platinum members the choice between double Starpoints for Starwood stays for a month of your choice, or 35% off a redemption for up to five nights at up to a category six hotel.
I requalified for Starwood Platinum status a couple of weeks ago, so have been putting some thought into how best to maximize this. I decided the 35% off a redemption option definitely makes more sense than double Starpoints for a month, since I don’t actually spend that much on Starwood stays. Even if I were to spend $2,000 on Starwood stays in a month, that would only be a total of 4,000 bonus Starpoints, which isn’t worth a ton to me.
So I decided on the 35% off redemption. The only thing is that I don’t really redeem my Starpoints much. While I always preach about earning and burning points to avoid devaluation, I’m quite content hoarding Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership Rewards points, and Starwood Preferred Guest points, given how flexible they are. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes redeem my Starpoints for one or two night stays at luxury hotels using cash & points, but aside from that I don’t usually get around to redeeming them much. That’s probably in part because when I want to redeem points for a luxury hotel stay I end up using Hyatt points for Park Hyatt properties, while I seem to end up staying at mid-range Starwood properties most of the time, where it’s not all that advantageous to redeem points vs. paying.
That being said, the 35% off deal is so tempting that I’ll have to change that pattern. The 35% off only applies to free night redemptions and not cash & points, and the big benefit of free night redemptions is that the fifth night is free. When the fifth night is free you’re already getting a 20% discount, and then on top of that you’re getting a further 35% discount, meaning in the end you pay a total of 52% of what the redemption would otherwise cost.
As an example, category six properties typically go for 20,000 Starpoints per night during non peak season, and that means you’d pay a total of 52,000 Starpoints for a five night stay, factoring in the free night and 35% discount (100,000 Starpoints becomes 80,000 Starpoints becomes 52,000 Starpoints). That means you’re basically paying just 10,400 Starpoints per night for a category six property, which is a phenomenal value.
Anyway, I’ve been looking at different category six properties, and have come up with a few that interest me most. If anyone wants to browse category six properties, you can find them here.
A few that interest me include:
- St. Regis Rome
- St. Regis Mauritius
- St. Regis Lhasa Resort
- Le Meridien Seychelles
- Blue Palace Resort & Spa, Elounda
- W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island
That’s by no means a comprehensive list of the best category six properties or necessarily the best values on a cent per point basis, but they are all properties I’ve been wanted to stay at that seemed like an especially good value using the 35% off deal.
To those of you that have requalified (or will requalify) for Platinum status, do you have a similar strategy, or which gift do you plan on going with?