SPG

Why Marriott Loyalists Should Apply For The SPG Amex

ritz-carlton-bali

Through April 5, 2017, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

Over the years we’ve seen quite a few increased sign-up bonuses on the SPG Amex, though the bonus doesn’t get bigger than what’s being offered through this promotion. Furthermore, this year is a bit different than in the past, given that Marriott and Starwood have merged. Combined, the programs are estimated to have roughly 90 million members.

So there are a few reasons I think this offer may interest more people than ever before — especially Marriott Rewards loyalists:

Continue Reading »

7 Reasons To Get An SPG Amex Business Card

sheraton-grand-london-park-lane-32

Through April 5, 2017, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Both cards are offering a sign-up bonus of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, with the $95 annual fee waived for the first year.

I know a lot of people have just the personal version and not the business version of this card, so in this post I wanted to look at some reasons to also consider the SPG Business Amex.

In no particular order:

Continue Reading »

How To Know If You’re Eligible For The SPG Amex 35K Sign-Up Bonus

st-regis-dubai-26

At the moment we’re seeing the biggest ever sign-up bonuses on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. The cards are offering sign-up bonuses of 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, which is the biggest bonuses the cards have ever offered.

35,000 might not sound like a big number, but keep in mind that Starpoints are the most valuable points currency out there, as far as I’m concerned. So those points are worth significantly more than 35,000 airline miles.

The bonus on each of these cards is “once in a lifetime,” though there’s some confusion about what that means in practice, so I figured I’d address that in this post.

Continue Reading »

Can You Get 70K Bonus Starpoints By Applying For Both The Personal & Business SPG Amex?

SPG-Amex

As I first wrote about yesterday, we’re seeing big increased sign-up bonuses on both the personal and business version of the SPG Amex:

— For the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $2,000 within six months; $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
— For the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 within three months, plus an additional 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $3,000 within six months; $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

This is the biggest ever sign-up bonus we’ve seen on these cards, so if you haven’t yet had these cards, it’s a no brainer to apply for them.

Continue Reading »

Starwood Luxury Privileges: Latest Updates As Of Feb 2017

w-hotel-dubai-8

Back when I became a full time travel advisor, I wrote about one of Starwood’s best kept secrets — the Luxury Privileges program. For a quick recap, you can read in detail about the program and how it works here.

Since first writing about the program in June 2016, new hotels have opened and the perks and free night promotions for the program have changed, so I want to post an updated list of the participating hotels and their amenities available through the program as of February 17, 2017. You can also always find an updated list published by Starwood here.

It’s important to note that the Luxury Privileges rate is its own independent rate and while generally the same or close to the flexible rate, it is not always the same. The Luxury Privileges rate must also be booked by an affiliated travel advisor and cannot be booked directly by guests.

Continue Reading »

Hong Kong Is Getting A St. Regis!

St-Regis-Hong-Kong

I was in Hong Kong a couple of days ago, and for whatever reason I started thinking about the hotel market there. Hong Kong is probably my favorite major city in the world, and has a lot of great hotels, though also a lot of not-so-great hotels. For those of us who are points-obsessed, it can be a tricky market.

Hyatt has two properties in Hong Kong that I really like — the Grand Hyatt and the Hyatt Regency.

Starwood is more of a mixed bag. For example, there’s the Sheraton and the W, and their portfolio is further enhanced now thanks to the number of Design Hotels properties there.

Continue Reading »

Review: W Hotel Punta De Mita Mexico

W-Hotel-Punta-De-Mita - 44

Prior to this trip I had never visited Mexico as an adult. As a kid we took a couple of cruises there (though 12 hours at a Cozumel cruise port probably doesn’t give you a fair representation of a place), and I remember once vacationing there when I was really young, but that’s about it. I also connected at Mexico City Airport last year, but that doesn’t really count.

Given that I fly halfway around the world to relax at a resort, I figured I might as well try somewhere closer to “home.” The new W Punta de Mita opened just last year, and looked like a fun place for a getaway.

I booked only a few days in advance using the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit. For my stay the hotel had a rate of ~$350 per night, which was brought down to an average of ~$260 per night after applying that benefit. The rate was actually much higher further in advance, but this hotel seems to consistently lower rates closer to the actual stay date.

Continue Reading »

IT’S BACK: Biggest Ever Sign-Up Bonus On The SPG Amex

st-regis-dubai-14

Yay, it’s back! Last year American Express offered the biggest ever sign-up bonus on the SPG Amex, and it’s back again now, for the second time ever. The normal sign-up bonus on these cards is 25,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend. In the past we’ve sometimes seen 30,000 Starpoint sign-up bonuses. And now we’re seeing a 35,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus, which is the biggest sign-up bonus ever. These increased sign-up bonuses are valid through April 5, 2017.

As stated above, at the moment we’re seeing a sign-up bonus of 35,000 Starpoints, which is the highest bonus ever. Here are the details of the sign-up bonus:

Continue Reading »

A Hint That Marriott May Be Adopting Starwood’s Ambassador Service

Starwood-Ambassador-Welcome-Amenity

Last April Marriott Rewards announced three new benefits for members, in anticipation of their takeover of Starwood.

All three of these features are things that Starwood offers, which certainly suggests that this was an attempt to make SPG members feel better about the takeover, while also giving something to Marriott Rewards members. Specifically, at the time Marriott introduced the following three benefits:

Continue Reading »

Marriott & Starwood Announce 2017 Hotel Category Changes

W-Guangzhou-Hotel

Historically, both Marriott and Starwood have made annual hotel category changes. While they don’t make changes to the number of points required for a free night in a particular category of hotel, they do change which hotels belongs to which category categories.

For some context on the 2016 changes (early last year):

— 797 Marriott hotels changed in price, with 560 going up in price and 237 going down in price
— 282 Starwood hotels changed in price, with 168 going up in price and 114 going down in price

Continue Reading »

See If You’re Eligible For Starwood’s New Member Exclusive Promotion

Starwood-Member-Exclusives

Every so often Starwood offers “Select Member Exclusives,” where members are targeted for different offers. Typically members will be emailed when they’re targeted for a promotion, though you can also log in with your SPG number on this page to see if you’re eligible. I’ve certainly been targeted for offers in the past without receiving an email about it.

Well, it looks like Starwood has just come out with some new Select Member Exclusives, where some members have been targeted for offers. Again, keep in mind this is targeted, so some members will have offers, while others won’t.

You’ll want to log-in and see if you’re targeted. Unfortunately in this case I don’t seem to be eligible, though I know plenty of others are. It seems like some people are getting a double elite qualifying nights offer, while others are getting a tiered points bonus based on how many stays they complete.

Continue Reading »

What’s The Future Of The SPG Amex?

linking-marriott-starwood-accounts-1

Reader Nick asked the following question on a recent post about my American Express card strategy:

“I know it’s speculation, but what do you think happens to the Starwood AMEX card post-merger? In the meantime, I’ve had the card once and can’t qualify for a bonus again. But wouldn’t you agree others should apply, especially since even the minimum 25K SPG point signup bonus equals 75K Marriott Rewards with no first-year fee?”

While I’ve addressed this topic in passing, I figured it would make sense to dedicate a post specifically to this:

Continue Reading »

Dubai Is Already Getting A Second St. Regis!

St-Regis-Dubai-3

Other than New York, Dubai is the city with the most Starwood properties in the world. Their footprint there continues to expand quickly. I just recently reviewed the new W Al Habtoor City, and the St. Regis, both of which were great.

Well, what I hadn’t realized is that a second St. Regis is about to open in Dubai. Personally this interests me for a couple of reasons:

— I go to Dubai quite often, so am very familiar with the hotel market and the city as a whole
— This will make Dubai the second city in the world to have two St. Regis properties — the other city is Abu Dhabi, which has the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, as well as the St. Regis Saadiyat Island

Continue Reading »

Review: St. Regis Dubai

st-regis-dubai-14

After spending a night at the W Dubai, I decided to check out the St. Regis Dubai next, which is just a short walk away. As I wrote about a bit over a year ago, the St. Regis Dubai is a Category 7 SPG property, which is Starwood’s highest category. That means a free night here costs 35,000 Starpoints, which is insanely overpriced. That’s not a reflection of the quality of the hotel, but rather it’s just totally off base for Dubai as a hotel market.

As I expected, paid rates at the St. Regis have dropped significantly since the hotel opened, though. Much like with my stay at the W, I booked the St. Regis through Starwood Luxury Privileges. The cost for booking through Luxury Privileges is the same as the flexible rate, and it comes with the following perks:

Continue Reading »