Ideas for burning 100,000 Starwood points!?


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: Continue reading

I Re-qualified for SPG Gold again!

 

I received an email from Starwood Preferred Guest recently notifying me that I had re-qualified for SPG Gold status again.  I didnt’ have enough hotel stays and nights this year with Starwood so I know it wasn’t via staying at SPG properties. I did however re-qualifiy because I spent $30,000 on my Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card!

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My Gold SPG member renewal email from Starwood

What does Gold status get me you may ask?

  • Earn three Starpoints for every US dollar spent on eligible stays-a 50% bonus over a normal member
  • 4 PM late checkout subject to availability
  • An upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in
  • Choice of welcome gift upon arrival-I can choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary premium in-room internet or a beverage on Starwood

Some people may frown on only being a Starwood Gold member but it’s certainly better than no status and for people that don’t travel for work its very hard to accumulate enough stays or nights for their highest tier Platinum status.

I was primarily able to spend $30,000 due to generating spend through my Target RedCard!  In fact one month earlier this year I spent $15,000 with my RedCard(s) fee free when I didn’t have any minimum spends to complete on new cards. I love generating Starwood points and staying in high end Starwood properties!

-pointspinnacle


 

 

Trip Report: Atlanta Anniversary 2014 (part 2) W Atlanta Buckhead

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AirTran Milwaukee (MKE)-Atlanta (ATL)
W Atlanta Buckhead
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W Atlanta Buckhead

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Exterior signage outside the W Atlanta Buckhead

Atlanta has a lot of choices as far as hotels go.  We have typically stayed in either Buckhead or Dunwoody.  This time we chose Buckhead due to its MARTA stop being so close to several hotels.   The W and the Westin are right across the street and in the past we have stayed at the Mansion on Peachtree which is now the Mandarin Oriental.  The W Buckhead had a good rate and we haven’t yet stayed there so I decided to give it a try. Continue reading

Trip Report: Thailand (part 18) St. Regis Bangkok

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Introduction
United Airlines 747 First Class Chicago (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt (FRA)
Thai Airways A380 First Class Frankfurt (FRA) to Bangkok (BKK)
Thai Airways 737 Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Koh Samui (USM)
Conrad Koh Samui
Mae Koh National Park Boat trip and Chaweng Beach
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT)
Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
James Bond Island and Little Island Boat trip
Phi Phi Island Boat trip
Patong Beach and Bangla Road
Air Asia Economy Class Phuket (HKT) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
ELE (Elephant Life Experience) Elephant Camp
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK)
St. Regis Bangkok
Dinner at Vertigo at Banyan Tree Rooftop
Chatuchak Weekend Market and Wat Pho Temple
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)
American Airlines First Class Hong Kong (HKG) to Dallas (DFW)
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St. Regis Bangkok

We had a great two night stay at the St. Regis Bangkok in September! Our cab driver from the airport had no idea where the property was (which was surprising to us), when were getting close he was asking us questions but there was a major language barrier.  We said “next to Four Seasons” and he instantly knew where that was.  The St. Regis happened to be just right next door.  The St. Regis offered a Mercedes ride to the property for 3,000THB (around $65) per way but the cab was much cheaper although much less glamourous.

We were greeted warmly upon exiting the cab! Two bellhops came and grabbed our bags and showed us to the elevators.  The St. Regis was undergoing a lobby renovation during our stay.  So we walk through the renovated areas that were partitioned off. My wife and I seem to love St. Regis properties aesthetic and this was no different.  The design is a sleek contemporary but also classic style.  The top several floors are reserved for the residences which only had a penthouse left for sale I believe. The property is just a few years old and it was surprising they were doing a renovation as the condition of the property is very nice! The construction was due to be completed just a week after our stay around September 15th. Since the lobby and guest rooms are located on the 12th floor or above their would be no noise issues.

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Construction upon entrance at the St. Regis Bangkok

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St. Regis Bangkok entrance

After going up a several floors we were on the lobby level.  Straight ahead was a bar and to the right was the concierge staff. I believe the concierge area was a temporary due to construction and will be located back on ground level after our stay.  We walked over to the reception area where we checked in seated at desks for a more comfortable checkin.  We where also offered some welcome beverage/juice. Checkin went smoothly except for the fact the front desk agent was looking at my wife and explaining that due to her gold status we would be getting xyz benefits!?  I am the gold member and she has no idea what a gold member is LOL! I had booked our two nights as two separate reservations as we weren’t originally supposed to stay overnight on our last night but due to flight changes we had to pay for an additional night.  After checkin we were given room keys and directed to the elevators.  The checkin agent also noted my birthday in the reservation and wished me a happy birthday.

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St. Regis Bangkok checkin area


Deluxe Room 1828

We booked a Continue reading

Trip Report: Thailand (part 9) Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa

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Introduction
United Airlines 747 First Class Chicago (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt (FRA)
Thai Airways A380 First Class Frankfurt (FRA) to Bangkok (BKK)
Thai Airways 737 Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Koh Samui (USM)
Conrad Koh Samui
Mae Koh National Park Boat trip and Chaweng Beach
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT)
Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
James Bond Island and Little Island Boat trip
Phi Phi Island Boat trip
Patong Beach and Bangla Road
Air Asia Economy Class Phuket (HKT) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
ELE (Elephant Life Experience) Elephant Camp
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK)
St. Regis Bangkok
Dinner at Vertigo at Banyan Tree Rooftop
Chatuchak Weekend Market and Wat Pho Temple
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)
American Airlines First Class Hong Kong (HKG) to Dallas (DFW)
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Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa

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Myself in front The Naka Island entrance

The next leg of our Thailand vacation was spent at The Naka Island which is part of Phuket. The Naka Island is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection portfolio.  We spent three nights at this property while exploring Phuket. Continue reading

Trip Report: Toronto (part 8) Four Points Toronto Airport

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Introduction
Four Points O’Hare
Niagara Falls
Ritz Carlton Toronto
CN Tower
Center Island
Rogers Cup
Four Points Toronto Airport
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Four Points Toronto Airport

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Four Points Toronto Airport

When we arrived at the airport we proceeded to the American Airlines checkin counter and decided to checkin at the automated kiosks.  When our boarding passes printed out we saw the boarding time showing for 2pm the next day!  I thought it was maybe just a mistake so we decided to go to the counter to have them printed out correctly.  Unfortunately, it was not a mistake and Continue reading

Trip Report: Toronto (part 2) Four Points O’Hare

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Introduction
Four Points O’Hare
Niagara Falls
Ritz Carlton Toronto
CN Tower
Center Island
Rogers Cup
Four Points Toronto Airport
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Four Points  O’Hare

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Four Points by Sheraton O’Hare exterior

We started our trip with a late night stop at the Four Points O’Hare simply to sleep and make it to the airport in time for our 8:30am flight.  They have a shuttle that runs to O’Hare every 20 minutes which is very convenient! There are several choices of hotels around the O’Hare area but this one was our choice since it was only Continue reading

Trip Report: Kauai 2012 (part 10) Westin Princeville

 

Intro & United economy plus Chicago to Lihue
Sheraton Kauai resort and spa
Waimea Canyon
St. Regis Princeville
Kayaking to Secret Falls
Queensbath and Hideaway Beach
Hiking Kalalau Trail
Napali coast boat ride
Grand Hyatt Kauai
Westin Princeville
Food and Drink of Kauai
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FLASHBACK TRIP REPORT!

Westin Princeville

There was a large conference taking over the Grand Hyatt thus I could not get a room there for our last night in Kauai.  That means we had to drive back up to the north side of the Island again very close to the St. Regis Princeville where we stayed just a few days prior.  On arrival there were a few parking spots left (free parking when we were there).  We checked in and the front desk agent wished me a happy birthday.  Since this trip was around my birthday and I noted that on the reservation they updated us to a full sized condo unit versus the studio we booked with points.  Our room was quite large and had a lot of amenities!! My wife approved of this room as this was the best Westin we have been too. They also placed a nice happy birthday card for me in the kitchen counter, which was a nice touch.

Our room had a washer and dryer unit, Jacuzzi tub and separate shower, fridge, microwave and pretty much everything that you find in a full kitchen.  The room also had Westin’s trademark heavenly bed and shower.  It also featured separate living a sleeping area separated by a wall.  The room is much like a residential condo unit or a suite in many hotels.

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Kitchen

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Living and dining area

Continue reading

Trip Report: Kauai 2012 (part 4) St. Regis Princeville

 

Index

Intro & United economy plus Chicago to Lihue
Sheraton Kauai resort and spa
Waimea Canyon
St. Regis Princeville
Kayaking to Secret Falls
Queensbath and Hideaway Beach
Hiking Kalalau Trail
Napali coast boat ride
Grand Hyatt Kauai
Westin Princeville
Food and Drink of Kauai
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FLASHBACK TRIP REPORT!

 St Regis Princeville

After a long day at Wiamea Canyon we drove all the way to the north side of Kauai to Princeville.  I had booked a week at the St. Regis Princeville using points.  By the time we arrived the sun had just set and the views were amazing for the latter part of the drive.  We pulled up to the entrance and were met by the nicest bunch of valets and bell staff.  There is a fee for parking and I believe it was a hefty $30 a night if I recall.  We were given lei’s and escorted inside and met with a front desk agent.  Like most other St. Regis’ you are seated at a desk or table to go over the checkin details. We were offered a king bed garden view or two standard beds and an ocean view room.  We went with the ocean view room which ended up being room 216. We were pretty messy and dirty from hiking up in Wiamea Canyon and felt kind of scrubby arriving at the hotel like that but oh well.

There was a decent amount of activity in the hotel bar and lobby area when we checked in due to people having drinks after watching the amazing sunset that the property affords.  When arriving at our room we were pleasantly surprised as they left a tasty chocolate happy birthday cake for my birthday. The room was very nice as well but it was pitch dark outside so I could not see the view at that time.  The next day when I woke up I immediately went to look outside and was blown away by the views!!!!  The view and setting of this property is unbeatable and have yet to have a property top it.  Hanalei Bay and the beach are right outside the window which opens up completely to get a nice breeze.

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On arrival in the lobby

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Bed one

Continue reading

Trip Report: Kauai 2012 (part 2) Sheraton Kauai Resort and Spa

 

Index

Intro & United economy plus Chicago to Lihue
Sheraton Kauai resort and spa
Waimea Canyon
St. Regis Princeville
Kayaking to Secret Falls
Queensbath and Hideaway Beach
Hiking Kalalau Trail
Napali coast boat ride
Grand Hyatt Kauai
Westin Princeville
Food and Drink of Kauai
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FLASHBACK TRIP REPORT!

Sheraton Kauai resort and spa

On our first day in Kauai we stayed at the Sheraton Kauai resort and spa.  I wanted to experience a few of the properties on the Island and since the airport is somewhat more south than north this was a closer drive than to heading straight to Princeville.

The property is in Poipu and the weather is amazing. The beach at the resort is very nice and  it appears to be a very family friendly property.  The room itself is your typical Sheraton which means basic or barebones but gets the job done.

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Myself outside the property entrance

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Bed
Continue reading