Mattress Running With Sheraton’s Free Weekends Promotion

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Earlier in the week, Travis wrote about his Colorado Springs mattress run/staycation.

Mattress running is defined as staying at a hotel purely for the purpose of deriving some benefit from the hotel’s loyalty program. Typically this comes in one of two forms:

  • You’re trying to requalify for a certain status level, and need some extra nights/stays to achieve it (for example, if you end your year with 24 elite qualifying Hyatt stays, it could make sense to make one extra stay so you earn Diamond status)
  • There’s a promotion being offered, the benefits of which outweigh the cost of the stay (we’ve seen this quite often with Club Carlson)

Anyway, Starwood is offering a few promotions at the moment, which have the potential to be quite lucrative. These include:

Sheraton-Free-Weekends

If you combine the promotions can they be turned into efficient mattress runs? Meh, maybe not totally. But it is fun to crunch the numbers in some cases.

Purely for fun, I think it’s interesting to look at this promotion in the context of UAE hotel rates this summer. Just about every year I write about how cheap hotel rates are in the UAE in summer, which is hardly surprising given how hot it is.

The cheapest Starwood property in Dubai

So what are the cheapest properties? Well, the absolute cheapest Starwood property in Dubai seems to be the Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai, where I see rates as low as 152AED per night.

4-Points

Including taxes and fees, the nightly rate comes out to 197AED, or ~$53 per night.

4-Points-1

Not bad, but that’s also a Four Points by Sheraton and not an actual Sheraton, so it wouldn’t be eligible for the Sheraton Free Weekends promotion. But if you’re just after stay credits as inexpensively as possible, that’s tough to beat.

The cheapest Sheraton in Dubai

If you want your stay to qualify for the Sheraton Free Weekends promotion, there are some Sheraton properties which are only marginally more expensive. For example, the Sheraton Deira Hotel starts at just 180AED per night.

Sheraton-Deira-1

Including all taxes and fees it comes out to 231AED, or ~$63 per night.

Sheraton-Deira-2

Not bad at all!

That can potentially get even better, though. For example, the Citi Prestige Card has an awesome fourth night free benefit, so if you book through them and stay four nights, the fourth night would be free. Assuming you’re able to book four nights at $63 per night using this fourth night free benefit, that brings the average nightly rate down to ~$47. Now that’s a deal!

Of course you actually have to check-in

As I said at the beginning of the post, I’m not writing this post because it’s terribly convenient for a majority of you to check into a hotel in Dubai this summer. Do keep in mind that:

  • You need to physically check-in at a hotel; booking it simply isn’t enough (you don’t have to stay for the duration you booked, however)
  • On the plus side, you can earn Starpoints for up to three rooms, so if the rate is really good and you’re passing through Dubai, you can book three rooms for five nights each and knock out the entire promotion
  • I’d think of opportunities like this more as a way to both pad your elite qualifying stays/nights while also earning points towards a great promotion

I’ll be passing through Dubai for just a couple of nights next month, though you can bet I’ll be booking several rooms for myself for several days. If I can at least partly use the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit, all the better!

And I think that’s something people often overlook. Even if you’re somewhere just for a night, it can totally make sense to book several rooms for several nights if the price is right and the benefits outweigh the cost.

Bottom line

Hopefully this post at least helps some of you crunch the numbers on mattress running at Sheratons this summer. For what it’s worth, there are US Sheratons which aren’t all that much more, and you could still use the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit. It’s just a function of finding the right cities.

Sheraton-US

Again, I think this promotion is most useful in the context of both picking up some free nights and racking up elite qualifying nights towards SPG Platinum status, which is one of my favorite top tier hotel status levels.

Do you plan on maximizing the Sheraton Free Weekends promotion this summer?

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Comments

  1. Hey Ben, what upcoming trip reports have you got? And will you be reviewing the hotels in Dubai? Love the reviews so much, thanks

  2. Do you have any experience checking in and then leaving in foreign countries (especially the UAE)? I am very confident that you could get away with not bothering to check out at a US property, but at foreign hotels they seem to be a bit pickier about you actually needing to check out, and often times needing to re-process your credit card at check-out, especially in places like the UAE where I believe they register you with the government when you check in (they always take a photocopy of your ID).

    And for what it’s worth, for that matter, some US properties will check you in by phone if you call and ask nicely 🙂

  3. This is exactly what I was considering today. As I am temp. based in Cairo, so many cheap Cat 1 Sheraton choices here. :)))) – e.g. Sheraton Dreamland (Cairo, about $64-$70 including tax – its club lounge is also nice), Sheraton Luxor and Sheraton Sharm. For example, after the application of BRG claim 20% off, I found that 5 nights at Sheraton Sharm in September costs around $200.

    With actually pre-planned trip in UAE in August, I will complete another 5 nights with combination of Sheraton Abu Dhabi (Cat 4) and Sheraton Dubai Creek (Cat 5). For both properties, I got BRG claims approved (chose 20% off) already, and about $80 (Sheraton Abu Dhabi) & $90 (Sheraton Dubai Creek) per night. Not bad for those full-service & high Category Sheratons.

  4. SPG has almost destroyed the Sheraton brand in the US. Most of Sheraton properties are in such a bad shape that doing a mattress run there would not be much different than doing at a Motel 6.

  5. @ jessie
    How did you get BRG with Sheraton? how did you find the stay with lower price?
    If you get approved for BRG then your stay should be completely free, right?

  6. How does the Citi Prestige Card work with the fourth night free when booking multiple rooms? If you book 3 rooms for four nights, do all 3 get the fourth night free?

  7. @ Louis — Yeah, unfortunately you can only use the Citi Prestige benefit for one room at a time. So it wouldn’t work for multiple rooms.

  8. @ Bgriff — You’re absolutely right that it’s trickier because there is more of a check out “formality.” That being said, at the end of the day it shouldn’t be an issue. If you leave they’ll still charge you since they have your card info. They might not love the idea, but what are they going to do about it in practice?

  9. @ Malcolm — Working on a report about the trip I took with my mom to the Middle East and Europe. And I do plan on reviewing Dubai hotels. Thanks for the kind words!

  10. @David : see SPG BRG here : https://www.starwoodhotels.com/bestrate/index.html

    SPG BRG is pretty easy (as easy as Marriott BRG), easier than Hyatt or Hilton BRG. They don’t care about the detail (e.g. cancellation policy) so just need to find out the lower rate somewhere. I normally submit claim first, only after a claim is approved, I make a reservation. I normally find the lower rates at getaroom.com or amoma.com for UAE hotels.

    “If you get approved for BRG then your stay should be completely free, right?” : no, approved BRG = one free night is IHG BRG policy, SPG gives you an option either 2K or 20% off. I normally choose 2K (about $44-48 value?) for one night stay, but for a 3-4 nights long stay, I prefer 20% off option.

    Hope this helps !

  11. I was just going to get the Starwood Preferred card and saw this article. I am considering stopping in Dubai in late September. The rates are more than 3 times what you paid. Is it the time of year? I guess it was too good to be true for me anyway.

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