Redeem Starpoints To Visit Antarctica!

Well here’s a fun Starwood opportunity that has nothing to do with the big Marriott & Starwood news of the day.

Earlier in the month I wrote about my desire to eventually visit Antarctica, though as I pointed out, the world’s southernmost hotel may be a little bit out of my budget. There are no points hotels (or any permanent hotels, for that matter) in Antarctica, so the way that most tourists choose to travel there is by cruise.

It looks like you can now redeem Starpoints for a cruise to Antarctica. Or at least one lucky SPG member can. There’s an SPG Moments auction at the moment for a 14 day cruise to Antarctica for you and a guest, departing November 6 and returning November 19, 2016.


Here’s how the cruise is described:

Adventure of a lifetime ahead. Bring a guest and set sail for the “Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent” with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Enjoy premium comfort and exhilarating experiences aboard the intimate ice-class National Geographic Orion with only 102 guests. Take part in the world’s ultimate, authentic expedition: Travel with the world’s top ice team, including an undersea specialist, and “Antarctica: A Year On Ice” filmmaker, Anthony Powell. See magnificent mountains, towering icebergs, and huge glaciers—and get out there in Zodiacs and kayaks, by foot, and even cross-country skis on a frozen sea. Get up close with thousands of gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguins.  Soak it all in over 14 days and come home with memories to last a lifetime, not to mention your best photos ever, thanks to the National Geographic photographer aboard.

The Journey to Antarctica with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic package includes:

Here’s a video showing what you can expect:

Best I can tell this cruise usually retails for ~$13,000-28,000 per person, so this could potentially be a very good deal.

At the moment the bidding on the SPG Moments package is up to 236,500 Starpoints, and the auction ends October 11, 2016.

I suspect it’ll go a bit higher, though probably not that much higher, as I can’t imagine there are that many people with such a big balance of Starpoints who can take off a couple of weeks to go to Antarctica with less than a month notice.

Regardless, this has to be one of the coolest SPG Moments packages I’ve ever seen (after the one we saw earlier this week for tickets to the SPG Suite at a Biebs concert, natch!).

So, is anyone bidding?

(Tip of the hat to Mike)


  1. @Lucky – If you were an actual company, Asking folks NOT to visit Antarctica would be your Corporate Social Responsibility.

    Sure it’s awesome and you and select few people would be the only few elites who will or had visited Antarctica, but c’mon just because the oppurtunity is there doesn’t mean you have to utilize it. This is just downright common sense BAD FOR THE PLANET, lets leave that part of the world from becoming another haven for contamination from our sadly ignorant species., just think of all the plastic and other garbage that will be left back and screw with the ecosystem, among many other reasons why this is just a SELFISH HORRIBLE IDEA.

  2. Meanwhile, in the beaver blogosphere, many beavers are outraged that a prominent beaver alerted them to some good trees to make a dam out of.

    Don’t spoil the virgin earth, they say! How dare you!

  3. Cackle. The first 2 replies that are 3 minutes apart are from “Debit” and “Credit.” If you don’t want people to take this trip, pony up the Starpoints and buy it yourself and then don’t go. Problem solved. Or keep your tree hugging hippie crap to yourself.

  4. My friends went to an Antarctica cruise last year and they told me it was very eco friendly and was an amazing trip. All the garbage from the cruise was taken back to shore in Argentina so nothing was left in Antarctica. Also, definitely take the Antarctic dip if your cruise offers it (it’s a 2-3 second dip in the Antarctic/Southern ocean). They also advised me to just sign up for the cruise companies email/newsletters as they at times (though rarely) offer 40%-50% off sales on these cruises. I’m presuming these are specific cases when they just want to fill up the ship that will sail anyway.
    I certainly do not have enough points to outbid the highest bid thus far but I am curious what the winning bid will be.
    If you bid on it, good luck and I hope you win since it would be interesting to read a cruise review from you.

  5. with this website primarily being visited by fellow frequent flyers, complaining about pollution Antarctica make you a hypocrite.

  6. Early November is low season for Antarctica (their spring.) Still, I’d sign up for this if I had enough points and I didn’t have a Maldives trip all planned.

  7. @Debit/Credit – How’d you get to work today? You drove a car? Took a train? Congrats. New name = “@Hypocrite”

  8. Thank the heavens for the SPG and Marriott Transfer announcement. I only have ~300 K SPG points currently which might not win it but with the UR points and MR points that I have currently, I have a shot!

  9. @Curtis /Idiot – What a logic, Your comparing something totally opposite. I was born into a world where you need to drive or take a train to,survive. But you DON’T NEED TO GOTO ANTARCTICA so fill a stupid selfish pride of being a select privileged few and destroy/contaminate a precious part of nature untouched for millions of years until your sorry ass came along.

    lol call me a beaver, we are all beaver or some shitty animals in this planet at the end of the day and yes I’ll voice to help my dam/planet in any way I can from you ignorant idiots. Goto freggin Artic its the same damn thing except the penguins. You want to see a freggin penguin, goto the f**kin zoo.

    I can’t believe people don’t give a tiny wheeny shit about the overall point.

  10. I’ve been to Antarctica, on a 10 day “cruise.” (The term cruise sounds odd when you travel on a Russian icebreaker 🙂

    Rules are VERY strict down there. There is absolutely no garbage left behind. All hikes are carefully orchestrated by trained guides. Passengers have to disinfect their boots and equipment every day in order to prevent contamination. Also, the number of visitors is highly regulated – and in fact, most visitors go through a very small portion of the continent. Folks who lead expeditions to Antarctica are very passionate about the ecosystem. Passengers have to go through a mandatory training regarding rules and regulations.

    Of course, any human activity has an impact on the planet. And the idea of a big diesel ship isn’t exactly eco-friendly. However, I think that some of the concerns expressed above are somewhat misplaced. There’s nothing wrong with advertising an auction for a legitimate trip organized by a serious organization.

    However, if you really believe that you have to pay $13,000-28,000, then think again. That’s akin to paying a full F fare – you have to be foolish, or get someone else to foot the bill. You can go for less than $5,000 if you’re a tiny bit creative. (Plus flights down to Ushuaia, of course.) Quoting a full retail price is absurd.

  11. We were in Antarctica this February on a 15 days cruise that also visit South Georgia Island after Antarctica with a French cruise line on a brand new ship. Most passenger were narrowing down between the French cruise line & Linbald/National Geographic for comfort. It was definitely one of the most spectacular place I’ve visited in the world. And now after visited all 7 continents & over 70 countries, I can earnestly say few places has beauty that left you speechless like Antarctica. Tourism to Antarctic region are very strictly governed by IAATO. For climate change denier, it is the ground zero you witness the effect of global warming. November would be very early season, sea would be rough still, but its also the mating season. We were there during the chicks molting time. Lots and lots of penguin chicks in each colonies and lots of adorable seal pups. Definitely one of the mo worthy place to visit on earth, it humbles you and human existence.

  12. I took a 19 day cruise to South Georgia Island and Antarctica from Ushuaia in December 2003/January 2004. We sailed on one of the two most stable vessels in the Antarctic fleet… a Russian research vessel called the Sergei Vavilov.

    It turns out that the stability was a critical factor as we travelled through a lengthy storm (leaving South Georgia Island) that was literally off the charts (the captain said) in terms of intensity with waves that were taller than our vessel!

    I agree with the two comments above that stresses the importance of preserving the ecosystem while on the cruise. Absolutely everything is taken back to the ship.

    But, here’s the tip to do this trip cheaply. The normal season for Antarctic cruising ex-Ushuaia (southern most city of South America and a quick flight from Buenos Aires) is from about 20 December to 10 February. There are vessels leaving Ushuaia at least once daily. Fly down there, bring USD cash, and negotiate for last minute rooms with the tour operator. I would be very surprised if you couldn’t get a room at a sharp discount to any advertised price. I got a whole room to myself with no single supplement for 50% off the price for one person…so it was like getting a 75% discount on the whole cabin since I didn’t have a cabinmate.

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