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But did you know you can turn the points you’d earn from one signup bonus alone into ten (or more) free hotel nights? For some of us the quantity of free nights can be more impactful than the caliber of the property. But if you play your cards right, these can still be at some pretty nice hotels.
And that means you can have two five-night vacations with the points you’d earn from just one signup bonus.
How SPG Determines Categories
Now, we are somewhat
spoiled particular at OMAAT, so no one here is going to get all excited about redeeming Starpoints at your local Aloft. But there are some compelling properties in the lower categories.
That’s partly because the SPG category determination isn’t necessarily based on “niceness,” and sometimes not even based on economic realities. So while there are some uninspiring properties in the low range (like nearly all the Four Points properties), there are also some gems.
Perfectly nice, and just 4,000 points a night (or 3,000 on weekends)
Beyond that, the lower category properties are further discounted on the weekends, which is when many of us might want to be traveling anyways.
|Category||Weekday Starpoints Per Night||Weekend Starpoints Per Night||Five Nights (5th Free*)|
|5||12,000 - 16,000||12,000 - 16,000||48,000 - 64,000|
|6||20,000 - 25,000||20,000 - 25,000||80,000 - 100,000|
|7||30,000 - 35,000||30,000 - 35,000||120,000 - 140,000|
Now, I know that not everyone wants to go to Cairo, and I’m not suggesting that you use your signup bonus for a week at the airport.
We can do better anyways.
Two fun spots in Category 2
With a strategically-timed hotel stay, you could have five nights at a Category 2 property for just 18,000 Starpoints (three weeknights and two weekend nights).
That means once you’ve completed the minimum spend on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, you’ll have enough points to take two long-weekend stays at Category 2 properties. There are plenty of decent hotels in this category, but there are two I especially like.
The hotel is new, stylish, and the hospitality was impeccable. Surprisingly, in the few short months it has been in operation the Sheraton Dubrovnik has shifted from a Category 4 to a Category 2 property.
And the surrounding area isn’t too shabby either.
Croatia is super popular right now, and I see paid rates this summer north of €200, so this is a good value per Starpoint as well.
Le Meridien Angkor
Cambodia is another popular destination, and the Le Méridien Angkor is located just outside the town of Siem Reap. This means it’s a bit closer to the archeological zone, which is convenient if you want to spend time exploring ruined temples.
Or climbing ruined temples.
Or meandering outside ruined temples.
There’s other stuff to do in Cambodia, but let’s face it — you’re also going to spend a lot of time at temples.
I actually haven’t stayed at the Le Méridien, but I’ve heard great things, and the pool looks fabulous (which is a definite plus in muggy Siem Reap):
This isn’t a super pricey hotel, with rates generally ~$110 a night outside of peak dates, and there are definitely both cheaper and more luxurious options in Siem Reap, depending on your preference. But many people would rather spend the 3,000 or 4,000 Starpoints a night and save the cash for other parts of their vacation, so this is a solid option.
While I of course love aspirational properties, I also like stretching my travel budget. Using points at lower category properties can still represent a good value, especially if you can pick out the nicer hotels.
I already have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, but if I didn’t I would be jumping at the opportunity to have 10+ hotel nights with one credit card signup. That saves at least $1,000 out of pocket (and potentially much more), which is pretty compelling.
What about you? Does anyone have any other Category 2 SPG hotels they’d recommend?