35% Off SPG Resort Redemptions

Starwood has just announced a promotion whereby they’re offering 35% off free night redemptions at select resorts through March 8, 2016.

SPG-Resorts

This promotion almost exactly mirrors the promotions offered by Starwood in 2014 and 2013.

Which SPG properties are 35% off?

This 35% off promotion is valid at the following properties:

SPG-Resorts-1

To make a booking through this offer, simply call Starwood customer service — these can’t be booked online.

This promotion is stackable with fifth night free.

When redeeming Starpoints for free nights, the fifth night of every redemption is free. For example, you could redeem for five nights at The Naka Island for 104,000 Starpoints, which is an average of 20,800 Starpoints per night.

Wait, why are these hotels so expensive?

For those of you not familiar with these SPG resorts, you might be thinking “damn, those stays are expensive.” And you’d be right, because they don’t really correspond with the SPG award chart. As a reminder, here’s the free night award chart for SPG:

Starwood-Free-Night

Why are these properties at a minimum double the cost of “standard” hotels in their categories? Because these are all “specialty properties” and don’t have “standard rooms.” Technically the above rates are for redemptions in standard rooms, and by Starwood’s definition, those don’t exist at these resorts.

Therefore you have to redeem at least double points for stays at these properties. That doesn’t totally make sense, since award categories are based on the average daily rate to begin with, so you’re basically getting double penalized. The category a hotel belongs to is based on the rate for the specialty suite, and then they’re doubling the cost on top of that.

But I get Starwood’s struggle here, and I think they recognize these properties are ordinarily overpriced when redeeming Starpoints. And that seems to be why they’re frequently offering these 35% off promotions, which make the cost of redemptions at these properties much more reasonable.

I do think this is something Hyatt handles better, for what it’s worth. For example, the standard room at the Category 6 Park Hyatt Maldives is a Park Villa, which certainly doesn’t feel like a “standard” room. Yet you can redeem just 25,000 Hyatt points per night there, which is the same cost as any other Category 6 Hyatt property. The same is true at all Hyatt properties, as they all have “standard” rooms.

Park-Hyatt-Maldives-Park-Villa-05

But again, I get Starwood’s struggle, and I appreciate that they at least offer this 35% off promotion every year.

35% off redemption I’m considering

Are there any resorts here which represent a great value?

I’ve long wanted to stay at Al Maha, which is the SPG desert resort not far from Dubai.

While I’ve stayed at another desert resort in the UAE — Qasr Al Sarab — this one looks much nicer, and is much more conveniently located.

Al-Maha-12

And as you might expect, it’s outrageously expensive. For example, pulling up rates during peak season, rates are 8,040AED per night (~$2,200) including taxes and service charges.

Al-Maha-Cost

Redeeming “just” 39,000 Starpoints per night there is quite a bargain, especially since the standard rooms are over 800 square feet and all have private plunge pools.

Al-Maha-Pool

Also, don’t quote me on this, but I believe all rooms at this hotel come with full board and two activities per person per day.

So there’s definitely value to be had through this 35% off promotion, if you ask me, given how unique some of these properties are.

Bottom line

I’m excited to see this promotion return, and am seriously considering spending a couple of nights at Al Maha soon. While I love SPG, I don’t love their policy on redemptions at “specialty resorts.” That being said, this 35% off promotion certainly makes redeeming points at these properties more lucrative.

Do you plan on taking advantage of Starwood’s 35% off redemptions promotion at resorts?

Comments

  1. Hi Ben,
    What are your strategies for earning SPG points? It seems relaly hard as it’s got only 2 cards (personal and bussiness) to get bonus from, and no bonus categories for them.

  2. @ Abhi
    The best method is to move into hotels full time. Otherwise, the only other methods beyond linking to Delta/Uber is to use your credit card, stay in Starwood Hotels during promotion periods, and to purchase points during point sales (typically not that great of a discount).

  3. I did a 2-night stay at Al Maha as part of my honeymoon, this past April. I used a Cash and Points (30K/night) option that wasn’t too bad – Al Maha includes food and desert activities. It was awesome – highly recommend.

  4. We did a night at Al Maha in April. SO many points, but totally worth it. The food was absolutely amazing and two free activities were included per person each day. The falcon demonstration was surprisingly good, we also saw sunset via camel and my husband loved the dune bashing. A lot to be said for not having to weigh the cost of food and activities at such a pricey property.

  5. such a bummer. I have a trip planned to Thailand for next April and have been eyeing the Vana Belle and this would have been perfect.

  6. Timely post, thanks for the heads up. Just booked Vana Belle for around New Years. Cash rates are $900 so seems like a good value at ~21K points per night (for 5 nights). Customer service was not aware of the promotion and it took awhile to find it through trial and error with different codes. Originally was coming up as 200K points required for 5 nights (50k / nt and 5th nt free).

  7. @lucky – have you stayed at any other (luxury) resorts in the UAE? I know you visit the country often, and prolly stick to the city aka Park Hyatts etc. but just wondering if you had stayed anywhere other than Qasr as well.

    also I’m guessing this room (on points) can only have a max of 2 ppl in a room? it’s kinda big, so wondering if they could accommodate more ppl. or perhaps if they have other/bigger rooms or suites (for more occupants) that can also be booked with points?

    if anyone else has stayed there or is familiar with the Al Maha property, please feel free to chime in!

  8. Has anyone actually been able to book a 39k room at the Al Maha? All the agents I’ve spoken to can’t seem to find the discount or anything close to 39k during the promo period.

  9. Considering how hard it is to ring up a decent amount of SPG points, I just can’t bring myself to spend that many points for 1 night’s accommodation.
    A first class flight can be had for that amount.

  10. Lucky, Any idea why I’m seeing SPG properties price lower than expected. I’ve search a few W properties that say, initially, they are 20k points per night. However, when you go to book they price out at 16k per night.

  11. Just a shame they won’t allow kids under 10 at the resort. I know I know some of your are probably happy with that but for such a spread out hotel I don’t see how they would be an impact on the other guests.

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