Earning my Starwood points
I am approaching a 100,000 Starwood point balance in my SPG account finally. I love to earn and burn Starwood points above all. They are very flexible and usable. They are valuable for both high end hotel stays and can be transferred to airline programs for high end premium cabins.
Earlier this year my wife and I both signed up again for the SPG AMEX card (business version). This is the 2nd time that we have held the card. The sign up bonus earlier this year netted us 25,000 SPG points each plus 5,000 more points each per the spending hurdle. I also earned 5,000 more Starwood points for referring a friend the card. In total we had obtained about 65,000 Starwood points from the sign up bonuses and the referral.
I also earn many points from spending with the card. Normal spend mixed with my Redbird spend quickly adds another 5,000-10,000 points a month if not more depending on my schedule.
Lastly we earned several thousand points by actually paying to stay in Starwood hotels. We have paid for stays in the past at hotels like the St. Regis Bangkok in 2014 and The Naka Island in 2014. So as we approach 100,000 points I ask my self, “how do I want to spend these points?”
Spending my Starwood points
The fun part is actually spending the points! In the past we have spent our Starwood points on great hotel stays, such as:
Our one week stay at the St. Regis Princeville in Hawaii in 2012 (80,000 points redeemed)
Our one week stay at the St. Regis Punta Mita in Mexico in 2014 (60,000 points redeemed)
Our three night stay at the St. Regis Osaka in Japan in 2015
These are just an example of some of the past properties we have redeemed points at and in actuality we have redeemed at many, many more!
We have also transferred Starwood points to some of their many airline partners (see full list of airline partners here). Mainly I have transferred points to American Airlines in 20,000 point increments on occasion. When transferring points to most of their airline partners I will receive an additional 5,000 points transfer bonus. Transferring to American Airlines allowed us to top up our accounts to redeem for awesome premium class travel on Cathay Pacific.
My Plans with 100,000 and your ideas
I am a slight different type of points traveler when it comes to taking our trips. I kind of let what points I have accumulated dictate where we should go. The theory is trying to get a lot of value from the points while saving money at the same time. I really like using the points for hotels although from a value perspective its not as valuable as transferring to airline partners for first class flights but paying for luxury hotels for a 1-2 week vacation can break the budget sometimes. We really try to prefer vacationing in luxury if available. Starwood has some great luxury hotel chains. Our favorites are St. Regis and Luxury Collection properties.
My initial thoughts with the 100,000 points is to:
- Use 80,000 on a 5-night stay at the St. Regis in Rome Italy. The St. Regis Rome dropped from a category 7 Starwood property to a category 6 property thus greatly reducing the number of points required for a redemption from 30,000 points a night to 20,000 points a night. A 5-night stay using Starwood’s 5th night free benefit on a points redemption makes it tempting pick for me. We haven’t been to Italy yet and this would be great stop for us. A 5-night stay would cost around $2500 depending on the time of year. It would be nice to keep that $2500 in our pockets.
- Use 25,000 each to transfer to Lufthansa’s Miles and More frequent flyer program to top off our accounts to fly Lufthansa First class to Europe. We have yet to fly Lufthansa first class and I would like to try to fly as many first class airline products if the opportunity is there. I would then have 50,000 Starwood points left to use for hotels, perhaps cash and points redemptions on a European vacation or just save them as a base for our next trip. The downside is I would still have to pay fuel surcharges for the award redemption.
- EDIT: This option is 120,000 points so really not applicable. Use all 100,000 for week long stays at either the St. Regis NYC or St. Regis Bal Harbour (Miami). I have always wanted to stay at these properties. I am leaning against this because it is a very pricey points redemption but the hotels look stunning and my wife has never been to South Florida either. Prices at these properties can run near $1000 a night or so depending on the time of year!
- Transfer all our points to an Airline frequent flyer program to redeem for flights. I could do this for American Airlines but I am scared they are ready to devalue their award chart and not sure what type of value I can get when that happens. We also have quite a bit of American Airlines miles alreadyl. I could transfer them to Alaska but Alaska miles are much easier to earn than Starwood points to me so I am hesitant to do that.
I think whatever option we chose or if something else comes up we will be generally happy with our redemption. Do any readers have any ideas or want to share there favorite SPG redemption strategy? Keep in mind we highly value the luxury experience!