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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:
- Starwood’s Make It Count promotion, whereby you can earn 1,000 bonus Starpoints with every weekend stay of at least two nights
- Starwood’s Sheraton Free Weekends promotion, whereby you can earn one free weekend night at a Sheraton after every five nights
- Starwood is also offering targeted promotions this summer; for example, I can earn a 25% discount on a free night redemption after six stays this summer
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.
Including taxes and fees, the nightly rate comes out to 197AED, or ~$53 per night.
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.
Including all taxes and fees it comes out to 231AED, or ~$63 per night.
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.
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.
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?