Earn Extra Hotel Points For Declining Housekeeping

On a day-to-day basis there aren’t many decisions I make without considering the implications on my points balances.

Going to a restaurant? I’ll check if the restaurant belongs to an airline dining program. Purchasing something online? I’ll check if the retailer belongs to an online shopping portal.

And while you already earn points to begin with when staying at chain hotels, I’m always looking for ways to earn more points.

One of the ways to earn more points on hotel stays is through Starwood’s Make A Green Choice program. They market it as a way to save the environment, though I think it goes without saying that they don’t mind the cost savings of reduced housekeeping either. ;)

Starwood-Make-Green-Choice-1

Starwood’s Make A Green Choice program is available at Sheraton and Westin properties, and allows you to choose between 500 Starpoints or a $5 food & beverage credit for each night you decline housekeeping.

Here are the terms of the Make A Green Choice program:

  • To participate in Make a Green Choice, and be eligible for the $5 food or beverage voucher or the 500 Starpoints®, hang the Make a Green Choice doorhanger on the outside of your guestroom door by 2am or let the hotel know during check-in that you’re interested in opting-in.
  • You are not eligible to participate in the program on the day of departure; it is only on stayover nights. Please note: the $5 F&B voucher is only valid at time of purchase and cannot be combined with other offers. Unused $5 F&B vouchers may be turned in at the front desk before check-out for 500 Starpoints each.
  • If you opt-in to the Make a Green Choice program, housekeeping services will not be available for the day. Please note this includes all room cleaning and coffee & bathroom amenities will not be automatically replenished.
  • If you opt out of the program, but still want to conserve water and energy, you can hang your towels you want to reuse and place your doorhanger on the nightstand to reuse your bed linens. The bed(s) will be made. For fresh towels, please leave them on the floor. For fresh linens, please leave the doorhanger on the bed.

Living in hotels full time, I’ve had the chance to play around with this a bit, so figured I’d share some thoughts on the program:

Should you choose 500 Starpoints or a $5 credit?

This is an absolute no brainer. Starpoints are worth roughly 2.2 cents each, meaning I value 500 Starpoints at ~$11. I think it goes without saying that 500 Starpoints are worth more than a $5 food & beverage credit.

What’s the easiest way to decline housekeeping?

As it states in the terms, there are two ways to register for the Make A Green Choice program:

  • Hang the Make A Green Choice doorhanger on the outside of your guestroom door by 2am
  • Let the hotel know during check-in that you want to decline housekeeping

I usually let the hotel know at check-in so that I don’t forget about it. Most hotels will slide a card under your door when you opt into the program, which you have to present at check-out to receive the 500 Starpoints. Meanwhile I’ve found other hotels add it automatically if you inform them of your choice at check-in.

Regardless of which method I use, I always follow up at check-out to confirm that they’re posting the right number of points for the Make A Green Choice program.

When do points earned from Make A Green Choice post to account?

Points should post the same time that your stay posts. They should post alongside your base points, any points from promotions, and your Platinum welcome points, if applicable.

Starwood-Make-Green-Choice

What if my Make A Green Choice points don’t post?

If they don’t post, simply submit a missing points request with Starwood, and they should have them manually posted to your account.

Do I still get toiletries when I decline housekeeping?

I use this program all the time, and have never been denied extra toiletries or towels. The terms are interesting in that they state:

If you opt-in to the Make a Green Choice program, housekeeping services will not be available for the day. Please note this includes all room cleaning and coffee & bathroom amenities will not be automatically replenished.

So while it says housekeeping services won’t be available for the day, it also says that amenities won’t be replenished automatically.

I’ve never had an issue calling the guest request hotline, though, and at least requesting that toiletries and towels be delivered to my room.

Sheraton-Edinburgh-Hotel-26
Sheraton Edinburgh toiletries

How often should you decline housekeeping?

You obviously can’t decline housekeeping on a one night stay, since your room will automatically be served upon arrival.

My general strategy on longer stays is to take housekeeping every third or fourth day. That way I earn points while not living in a complete mess. After all, one of the benefits of staying at a hotel is that you don’t have to make your own bed. ;)

Do other hotel chains offer a similar program?

I know some other hotels that individually offer a similar program, but there’s no other chain that offers this as widespread as Sheraton and Westin, as far as I know (someone correct me if I’m wrong).

I do wish it would expand to more chains.

When staying at hotels that offer points for declining housekeeping, do you take advantage of such a program? If so, how often?

Comments

  1. Ed C says

    Woah — although you always had the right to decline housekeeping, it now incentives it. While maybe a good idea at first, it may increase the chances for a hotel to have an issue with pesky bugs and critters.

  2. Blandon says

    Does it seem like declining housekeeping and then calling for towels and toiletries kind of goes against the spirit of the program?

  3. says

    @ Blandon — Ultimately for the hotels it’s about saving money. 500 Starpoints are costing them maybe $5 from corporate. Housekeeping plans on average 30 minutes per room, so there’s no doubt they’re coming out ahead using this method. I think asking for toiletries and occassionally a couple of towels doesn’t really go against the spirit of the program, but I guess YMMV.

  4. Scot says

    Actually, on every third day of the stay, your room will automatically be cleaned (regardless of if you do the Green Choice program or not). For example, on a 4 night stay you should receive 1,500 points but on your third day, the room will automatically be cleaned anyways. It always seems odd to me that on a Sunday through Thursday stay that my room is cleaned on a Wednesday, but I don’t complain because I still get the points regardless!

  5. Phil says

    I think also most SPG hotels require a cleaning on the third day after two consecutive green stay nights. YMMV but in my experiences, it’s always been the third or fourth day of the stay that the room is cleaned anyway.

  6. Mark says

    We struggled with this decision. Once participation hits a particular level, it starts costing people their jobs – often people who rely on that check for the basic essentials of living. I am NOT being judgmental of those who accept the offer, and there is a “green footprint” component to this that is laudable. But since my decision could affect people’s employment, I pass on the points.

  7. PSL says

    I always decline this offer, because I don’t want to be complicit in putting hard working housekeepers out of a job. I believe that’s Starwood’s real motivation in awarding points to those who decline housekeeping.

  8. Blandon says

    Actually, I find it kind of laughable that people who ride around for no other reason than to get points care much about the earth and being green. Sure it saves Starwood money, but you have to give the guests at least a small carrot. I don’t claim to be innocent, but if you take a step back from things you can get a little perspective.

  9. Nick says

    Most of this “green” stuff is complete BS. Don’t be fooled, you aren’t saving the planet. Enjoy your extra towels.

  10. Ben Skelton says

    Starwood’s toiletries are total garbage. I’d only use them as a last resort!

  11. says

    I find some other SPG brands do this too. At the aLoft Tempe they offer this option as a normal perk for 2+ night stays. Also on my last trip to PHX I stayed at the Four Points Tempe for 4 nights and so did my frind (different room), she was offered the option and I was not. I have status she doesn’t, not sure it mattered.

  12. steve says

    #Phil – I’ve definitely done a 7 night stay for work (every other night was a mattress run at a hyatt place next door) with make a green choice every night, and they never cleaned the room.

  13. Ivan Y says

    I like this program. I understand it’s really all about the money for Starwood, but — let’s be honest — most of us probably don’t need to have our rooms cleaned & towels/toiletries replenished every day, especially if you are a business traveler and don’t spend all your time in a hotel room.

  14. GAM says

    The uncomfortable thing about this program is that I have had it pushed on me by some Westin properties. Repeatedly saying that I’d prefer room service shouldn’t be necessary.

  15. says

    SPG also has some ‘green rates’ which automatically include this option which they do not tell you about. I think it depends on how long you stay – one or two days, yes; more than 2 days and with more than 2 people I would rather choose the housekeeping option

    Choose the ‘green’ option as well as the ‘fitness’ option (which includes loaner shorts, shirts, sneakers, and socks for you to keep) at the Westin Galleria in Houston

  16. UAPhil says

    I believe the exact policy varies from property to property. At the Westin Palace in Madrid, you must take housekeeping every 3 days, and can’t earn the 500 points for those days. (Maybe a union thing?)

    Lucky, love your new blog layout!! But I’m missing the ability to “follow comments”. Any chance you can add that back?

  17. Ivan Y says

    @ 0504Traveller – is there some special way to search for those rates? I don’t recall seeing that offered online.

  18. says

    @Ivan Y —
    almost all Starwood hotels have the ‘green’ option — i have seen it at Westin, Sheraton, and Aloft hotels.

    Westin hotels also have the loaner program which is called “WestinWORKOUT® Gear Lending Program: Westin and New Balance® now offer shoes and athletic wear to use during your stay so you can pack lighter or workout on a whim. All gear is provided fresh and clean, and the socks are yours to keep. A nominal fee applies (Fees: 5 USD; but sometimes that has been waived)

    http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/features/fas_detail.html?propertyID=1053&fasXRefId=1022442296

  19. Gracie says

    I like it not just for the points but I don’t want housekeeping in my room unsupervised with my personal belongings.

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