It Lives: The Starwood 2014 Q1 Promo is now alive for Registration

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Register now at this link (spg.com/bringonthenights). The Bring On The Nights promotion is now live for Starwood’s 2014 Q1 promo. It adds a new wrinkle because there are no blackout properties which is perhaps a game changer in the hotel promo industry.

A smart traveler might combine this promotion with some early mattress runs to get set for 2015 SPG Gold/Platinum qualification. I know I am leaning on doing this during January 2015 so that I can get a jump start on my qualification.

 

A little bit more about the promotion…

-From Jan 5, 2014 through Apr 30, 2014

-EVERY PROPERTY IS INCLUDED

-You receive 2,500 Bonus SPG points for each 5 nights, and 5,000 SPG points when you hit 25 nights during the promotion. This makes the maximum bonus total of 15,000 SPG points if you hit 25 nights.

 

If you coordinate strategically, you could obtain the bonus and re-qualify as an SPG Platinum member during the promotion. If you did (25) 1-night stays, you would earn the 15,000 Bonus points plus (25) “check-in” points of 250/500 for each stay. This could yield 27,500 SPG points before adding in the SPG points earned for each dollar spent (up to 6 SPG points per dollar).

Regardless of your SPG plans, register today so that you can earn bonus points if you make a stay or two this spring.

Starwood’s 2014 Q1 Promo: No More Blackout Hotels!

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Starwood just announced its new promotion, and there is good news and bad news. First, the good news is that there are no more blackout hotels. This can be a burden when you have to check the list each time you plan to book a hotel. Under the old promotions, many times whole cities (like New York and Boston) would be non-participating properties.

Now onto the bad news… this promotion isn’t as exciting as previous promotions and it continues the downward trend in SPG promotions.

Here are the particulars:

-Runs Jan. 5, 2014 – Apr. 30, 2014

-Earn 2,500 SPG Bonus Points for every 5 Nights (up to 10,000 SPG points for 20 nights)

-If you hit 25 nights, you will get an additional bonus of 5,000 SPG points for a total of 15,000 SPG points for 25 nights.

-Registration opens in 2-4 Weeks.

 

Keep in mind that you can obtain SPG Platinum status with 25 stays. If you were to complete 25 1-night stays, you could earn Platinum and 15,000 bonus points in the first quarter alone.

 

Winter SPG Point Sale: Buy your way to a night at the St. Regis in Rome?

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From time to time, Starwood will reduce the price on SPG points. Well my friends, that time is now and you can save up to 25% off the regular price. Through December 13, 2013, the following reduced prices will be in effect:

  • Pricing Group 1: Buy 500 through 4,500 points and you shall receive…NOTHING (no discount for this group) [3.5 cents per point].
  • Pricing Group 2: Buy 5,000 through 12,500 points and you will receive a 20% discount (not too shabby) [2.8 cents per point].
  • Pricing Group 3: Buy 13,000 through 20,000 points and you will receive a 25% discount (the king of the mountain) [2.625 cents per point].

Is it worth it for you? It depends on your needs, and we will explore the options below.

 

The Discount Option Comparison

To help your buying decision, I’ve broken down the options into the following groupings:

  1. Convert to Airline Miles and get the 5,000 Mile Bonus
  2. Category 6 Redemption Option (Pure Point Redemption)
  3. Category 6 Redemption Option (Cash & Points)
  4. Category 2 Redemption Option (Pure Point Redemption)
  5. Category 2 Redemption Option (Cash & Points)

 

Option 1: Convert to Airline Miles (and get a double bonus!)

Converting SPG points to airline miles can be quite lucrative. When you transfer 20,000 points to a Starwood transfer partner, you receive a 5,000 mile bonus. In this case, your 20,000 SPG Points would convert to many carriers (like American Airlines, Alaskan Airlines) at a 1:1 ratio. Effectively you would buy 25,000 airline miles for $525.00. This is a nice rate at 2.1 cents per mile.

How does this compare with current pricing of miles ?

Program Total Cost  Cost Per Mile Notes
SPG Transfer $525.00 0.0210
Alaskan $550.00 0.0212 Currently offering bonus miles for purchase. This is actually 26,000 miles for $550.
American $577.50 0.0231 Currently offering bonus miles for purchase.
Delta $875.00 0.0350

 

As you can see, the airline transfer option beats buying miles outright. However, Alaskan’s current promotion barely misses the Starwood level. If you were thinking of transferring to Alaskan, you would be better off just buying the miles from Alaskan Air. Why use your Starwood miles for almost the same value when you are limited to a low 20,000 SPG Points per year?

 

Option 2:  St. Regis Here I Come (w/ Points)

Like all Category 6 properties, the St. Regis in Rome requires 20,000 points (off-peak). This is a great comparison category because it shows us the possible value of buying the maximum 20,000 points for $525. Right now, a room at the St. Regis will cost you $445 a night (with the same flexibility of a points redemption). Without calculating anything, you can see this is a terrible value at 2.225 cents per redeemed point.

 

Option 3:  St. Regis Here I Come (w/ Cash &  Points)

How does the St. Regis fare with Cash and Points? For a Category 6 property, you will need 10,000 points plus $180.00. If you were to buy the maximum amount, you could get 2 nights for your 20,000 points and $360.00.

In this redemption option, you will receive better value at 2.65 cents per point.

 

Option 4: Give me a Category 2 Hotel (w/ Points)

If you don’t demand the luxury of a Category 6 property, a Category 2 can offer you great value. Category 2 properties need 3,000 points per weekend night and 4,000 points per weekday night.  In this example, we will use the Le Meridien Vilnius (Lithuania) and we will use the weekend night cost of 3,000 points (as we used the off-peak pricing in our prior example).

The flexible rate at this property will cost $114.50 for the same date as the St. Regis Rome. This would net you a value of 3.082 cents per point. A nice value.

 

Option 5: Give me a Category 2 Hotel (w/ Cash & Points)

Category 2 properties require 2,000 points and $35 per night. Basically, you are buying those 1,000 points for $35. In our example with the Le Meridien Vilnius, this would be a poor redemption option because you would be saving those same 1,000 points at a purchase price of $26.25 while “buying” them for $35.00. At the Le Meridien Vilnius, the value would be 3.975 cents per point. While at first blush this may appear to be a good value, its value is reduced when you remember that you “bought” those last 1,000 points for a much higher price.

 

Conclusion

 If you plan to convert these points to airline miles, it can be very lucrative. Before buying the miles with this plan, you need to check the pricing of each airline. Some airlines, like Alaskan Air, are offering holiday sales which offer almost the same pricing.

If you plan to stay at a Starwood property, my advice is to stay at a Category 2 or 3 rather than a Category 6 because of the better values that the lower tiered properties can offer.

 

The Fine Print

  • Points may only be purchased in 500-point increments.
  • Your SPG account needs to be activated for at least 14 days (so if you are signing up for an account, you will need to create a new account by November 29, 2013).
  • Only a maximum of 20,000 points may be purchased within a calendar year (if you anticipate purchasing miles in early 2014, it might be a good idea to buy now so you have the freedom to buy an extra 20,000 points in 2014).

The Great Maze: Use Your American Express Platinum to Get Delta Perks

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If you were one of the lucky people to grab the 100k point American Express Platinum offer, you might be missing out on some hidden Delta perks via Starwood.

As discussed earlier on this website, Delta and Starwood have united to offer perks to each others elite members. This, combined with American Express Platinum’s free SPG Gold status, can yield some nice little perks on Delta (if you don’t have the requisite Delta status or credit card).

First, what can you get on Delta if you are a SPG Gold member?

  1. Unfortunately, you will only get the extra Starpoints for your Delta flights.
  2. If you were a Starwood Platinum, you would get a free checked bag, priority boarding, and priority check-in

It never hurts to get extra Starpoints, so if you have an AMEX Platinum, follow the below listed steps:

  1. Register for an SPG account (if you don’t already have one).
  2. Call the phone number on the back of your Platinum card (1-800-525-3355).
  3. Tell them that you would like to get your Starwood account upgraded to Gold Status.
  4. At this point, they will ask for your Starwood account number and then place you on hold while they connect to Starwood.
  5. About 5-10 minutes later, you will be upgraded to complementary SPG Gold status.

 

 

Starwood Teams Up With Delta Airlines: Use Your Starwood Status for Delta Perks

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Starwood is about to announce a big partnership with Delta Airlines. With the new program, called Crossover Rewards,  you can use your Starwood Gold and Platinum status to get perks reserved for Delta elite members.
The official terms are listed below. If you travel to a Delta hub like Atlanta and Minneapolis a lot, this could be extra motivation to switch your business to Delta over a rival airline.

 

Registering for Crossover Rewards: To receive Crossover Rewards Benefits, members must be a member in good standing with both the Delta SkyMiles program and Starwood Preferred Guest to be eligible for benefits and link their accounts. If not an existing member of both programs, member must join both programs before opting-in. To opt-in to Crossover Rewards, members must register and link their Delta SkyMiles® and Starwood Preferred Guest accounts via delta.com or spg.com/crossover rewards. The first and last names on both accounts must match. Members should expect a delay of 24 hours between opt-in and qualification for benefits. Members qualify for benefits based on status at check-in, not at ticketing.

Benefits Eligibility:  Members that are both SPG Platinum and Delta Medallion will not receive first bag free, Priority Boarding, priority check-in, and Complimentary Upgrades as part of Crossover Rewards but will continue to receive these benefits as a Medallion member. SPG Platinum members that are Delta SkyMiles American Express cardholders will not receive additional checked bags or priority boarding benefits through Crossover Rewards but will continue to receive benefits as a Delta SkyMiles American Express cardholder. Starpoints on Flights and Complimentary Upgrades are eligible on paid tickets only.

Starpoints on Flights: SPG Platinum, and Gold Members will receive 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on tickets (excluding taxes and fees) on flights that are both Delta marketed and operated flights. All legs of the ticket must be both Delta marketed and operated for the ticket to qualify for Starpoints. If one leg of the ticket is flown with one of Delta’s partner airlines, the full itinerary will not be eligible for Starpoints. Special fares often referred to as unpublished fares including, but not limited to, consolidator fares, tour, groups, merchant marine and cruise packages will earn 500 Starpoints per leg rather than 1 Starpoint per dollar spent. Corporate Sales, Military, and Government fares are eligible for Starpoints but will earn either 1 Starpoint per dollar OR 500 Starpoints per leg dependent on the organization’s contract with Delta. Tickets booked with Online Travel Agencies including but not limited to Orbitz, Cheaptickets, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, Hotwire, or their subsidiaries will not be eligible for Starpoints. All tickets must be eligible for mileage accrual with the SkyMiles program based on SkyMiles program rules in order to be eligible to earn Starpoints. Starpoints will be posted to your SPG account within 4 to 6 weeks after the activity date.

First Bag Free: Benefit is limited to SPG Platinum members who are not also Delta Medallion members. Reservation must include the SPG member’s SkyMiles number. Fee waiver also available for passengers traveling in the same reservation as the SPG member. Maximum four waivers per reservation. Waiver is only for normal first checked bag fee, if any fee applies, for a bag that is not overweight and not oversize under Delta’s applicable rules as set forth in Delta’s contract of carriage. Additional checked bags will be subject to the applicable baggage fees as outlined by Delta’s rules and the purchased fare as set forth in Delta’s contract of carriage. The first checked bag fee waiver will only be applied on flight segments which originate on a Delta or Delta Connection® carrier when you  check-in with Delta for both a Delta marketed and Delta operated flight. Les vols en partage de code ne sont pas éligibles. The first bag fee waiver will be applied to the reservation at check-in when checking-in with Delta.  Please refer to delta.com/baggage for more details.  Modalités de l’offre soumises à des changements. D’autres restrictions peuvent être en vigueur.

Priority Boarding: SPG Platinum Members will receive Zone 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights. Reservation must include the SPG Member’s SkyMiles number. Priority Boarding is also available for passengers traveling in the same reservation as the SPG Member. Maximum nine passengers per reservation receive Priority Boarding. Priority Boarding will only be available on Delta and Delta Connection® carrier operated flights. Delta does not offer Priority Boarding on Delta Shuttle® flights.

Priority Check-In: SPG Platinum members should show their SPG card to gain access to designated Silver Medallion and SkyTeam elite check-in areas where Delta offers this service which currently includes Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, New York City – JFK, New York City – LGA, Salt Lake City , and Tokyo –Narita. In airports where Delta doesn’t offer designated check-in for Silver Medallion and Sky Team elite customers, the Sky Priority check-in lanes should be used.

Complimentary Upgrades: SPG VIP or Platinum members are eligible for day of departure upgrades on Delta or Delta Connection flights within the United States. Free upgrades are subject to availability and conditions may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Free upgrades are not available on flights affected by our product BusinessElite ®, with the exception of flights between New York / JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco. Upgrades are not eligible on Award or Pay with Miles tickets. Medallion members may request an SPG VIP or Platinum member as their companion upgrade which would allow clearance at the Companion level up to 24 hours prior to departure.

Starwood Powerup Promotion (Jan. 15 – Apr. 15) – Earn 18,000 Points

Today marks the kickoff of the Starwood Powerup Promotion. This is Starwood’s spring promotion, and if you play it right, you could walk away with a bonus of 900 additional points per night. While not as lucrative as previous promotions that award Free Nights, free Starpoints are free Starpoints and should never be thrown away.

Here are the Benefits:

SPU

Here are the Terms and Conditions:

SPU Terms

You’ll notice very quickly that you can maximize this deal with 18,000 bonus points if you hit the 20-night threshold. This would create a 900 pt/night bonus. This is not a bad deal for some free extra points. My recommendation is to combine this promotion with a Starwood American Express card (for 2x points per dollar spend at Starwood properties). Moreover, if you can do your Starwood Platinum Challenge (as discussed here) during this period, you can extract even more value.

In addition, it is possible to combine this promotion with the Le Méridien promotion that runs through February 28, 2013. It can be quite lucrative if you target your stays at Le Méridien properties.

The terms:

Unlock limitless earnings with Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts across North America and French Polynesia

Register now to discover your earning potential with Le Méridien in North America and French Polynesia and earn more Starpoints® the more you stay.

  • 1,000 Starpoints on 1st eligible stay
  • 2,000 Starpoints on each following stay

Register between December 3, 2012 and January 15, 2013 and stay through February 28, 2013, to earn unlimited Starpoints at Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts throughout North America and French Polynesia.

 

Hypothetical

Now that we’ve discussed the various promotions, let’s run through a hypothetical that combines the Le Méridien promotion with the Powerup promotion.

Assumptions are as follows (conservative and not maximized):

  1. You stay at a Le Méridien property for all 20 nights.
  2. These 20 nights are spread across 5 stays.

With these assumptions, we can conservatively net 27,000 Starpoints:

Stay Cumulative Nights Powerup Bonus Le Méridien Bonus Total Bonus Points Cumulative Bonus Points
1 4 2,000 1,000 3,000 3,000
2 8 2,000 2,000 4,000 7,000
3 12 2,000 2,000 4,000 11,000
4 16 2,000 2,000 4,000 15,000
5 20 10,000 2,000 12,000 27,000
27,000 27,000

 

Quick Points

-Earn 2,000 bonus Starpoints for every four eligible nights you stay (up to 8,000 bonus points over 16 nights).

-When you hit the 20th Night, you will be awarded a 10,000 Starpoint bonus.

-Note: These are accumulated per four-night period, and that each stay does not have to be four nights to earn the bonus.

-Note: You must be registered at http://www.spg.com/powerup and registration is free.

 

Don’t forget to sign up today!