I’m Making My First Mattress Run Of The Year Tonight!

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

For those of you not familiar with “mattress runs,” they’re not as dirty as they sound. A mattress run is when you stay in a hotel for the sole purpose of collecting hotel points and/or accumulating hotel status. It’s the hotel equivalent of a mileage run, whereby you fly for the sole purpose of accumulating airline miles and/or airline status.

I live in hotels full time, so I shouldn’t really have a need to do a mattress run as such. In other words, I need somewhere to stay anyway, and therefore shouldn’t be making hotel stays solely for the purpose of earning points.

Except I’m doing exactly that tonight. I booked a hotel I don’t plan on spending the night at… because it’s worth it for the points.

As many of you may be aware, Starwood has some extremely generous stackable promotions at the moment:


I’m staying at the Royal Palm South Beach tomorrow night, which is Starwood’s first Tribute Portfolio hotel. With that stay, I’ll have stayed at eight Starwood brands this year.


But with just a week left in the year I’m realizing I won’t have the opportunity to stay at a ninth Starwood brand this year. I’m leaving the country over the weekend for the rest of the year, and the place I’m going to doesn’t have any Element, Four Points, or Design Hotels properties (which are the brands I need to stay at to earn the 9,000 bonus Starpoints).

So I got a bit creative. I booked the Element Miami Airport for tonight, which was ~$136 including tax.


As luck would have it, this is also an SPG Keyless property, so for that stay I’ll earn 11,500 bonus Starpoints (9,000 bonus Starpoints for having stayed at nine brands this year, plus 2,500 bonus Starpoints for using SPG Keyless). Altogether I’ll be earning over 12,000 Starpoints, which is about one cent per Starpoint — that’s a deal.

The catch is that I can’t actually make it to Miami tonight (after all, I want to spend Christmas with my family). But thanks to SPG Keyless I can already check-in and get my room assigned, and then tomorrow when I get to Miami I can go to the hotel so I will have technically used the room.


Since I have guaranteed 4PM check-out, I can just head there in the early afternoon. No “tricks” needed, as I’ll be within all the rules of the program, so it won’t be a phantom stay (hotels don’t issue you points for phantom stays, meaning if you make a booking and don’t actually check-in you can’t earn points).

Bottom line

As much as it kills me to book a hotel room and not actually use it, I couldn’t turn down ~12,000 Starpoints for ~$136, given that I won’t be anywhere for the rest of the year which has a property that would make me eligible for the bonus.

Anyone else doing a mattress run to maximize this year’s SPG bonuses? Am I crazy for what I’m doing?

  1. I’m not making a mattess run, but I did have the opportunity to stay at that property earlier this year and I liked it. It was a modern version of a Residence Inn or Homewood Suites with a decent happy hour food set up. Keyless entry was pretty cool also!

  2. Just checked in to the Marriott by the Tampa airport for my final mattress run of the year to keep Marriott Platinum.

  3. A bit crazy, but it isn’t the most ridiculous thing you could have done.

    Did my first mattress run with some of these promo last week at a W. First time staying at one, my friends were really surprised when I told them what I was doing.

  4. For almost the exact same reason (and same promos), I stayed at a random Aloft property that was only $87 / night and used it as a place to crash after planning a party in the area for several of my friends.

    Worked out quite well!

  5. Hey, Lucky — one thing to be aware of. The terms for the SPG Keyless promo say that you have to stay and USE keyless entry — meaning, as I read it, that you need to enter your room at least once using keyless. I stayed at a W last week to take advantage of this promo. Keyless worked as it should when I arrived. However, the next morning I was out most of the morning. I came back about 30 minutes before check-out time and keyless didn’t work. I had also gotten a physical key at the desk and that worked fine. Just be aware that you may need some human intervention to get keyless working if you get there close to check out.

  6. The “Stay for more” promotion has actually expired December 20th, just tried to sign up and SPG website told me I am late to the game……

    BTW, is SPG running the “Big brand bonus” promo also in 2016?

  7. I just find this a bit distasteful, it’s possibly becase of the time of year more than anything else. With the number of less fortunate families and even people that don’t have shelter at this time of year. Booking a room with no intention of using it just doing sit well, all for points you don’t really need.

    Is there no one that could have used it any friends in the area, or even donate the monetary value of the night’s points to a shelter or other charity to benefit the homeless or less fortunate.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t do this or think you’re wrong to do it but it would be nice to balance out the karma of it being so wasteful.

    I’m a regular reader and fan of the blog even from way back when. I know i don’t have read and all that, but the comment function is here so just wanted to add my thoughts. Which I will admit are entirely driven by it being Christmas time of year.

  8. I just made a run a couple of nights ago at the Sheraton Suites Galleria – Atlanta​ at a good deal at $42 a night!

  9. Stayed there about a year and a half ago when it was still The James. Even if it’s just a mattress run, interested to hear how it is now.

  10. @jon I felt the same way when I did a mattress run, but you can’t do that. I won’t point out the many reasons of why it just can’t happen. Anyway, I need to do an spg mattress run and I am just not near one. Plus…. They are so cheap right now!!!

  11. @jon: “for points you don’t really need “–this entire hobby is about points and miles, which NONE of us “really need.” Surely you understand that,

  12. Just did the same thing last night with a twist: Booked my 9th hotel at a four points by the airport, but used a park and fly rate. Did not stay at the hotel but used the 8 day parking voucher provided since I will be traveling today for 9 days. For $110 worked as a charm.

  13. @mbh of course I understand that, but there is a difference doing it for the points and staying in the room, over it being completly wasteful.

    @Jill I don’t know what you mean ‘you can’t do that’ theres alot in this hobby that’s on the edge of what should and shouldn’t be done, and even some darker sides which I think are completely wrong (none of those relate to this blog btw). I don’t see why you couldn’t balance out some karma about the haves and have not’s at this time of year. Or even a trusted friend(s) using the room, I’ve done that plenty on non refundable I’ve not been able to use.

    I’m not saying Ben shouldn’t do this or is evil for doing it, i’m sure ive done plenty similar. It is just a reflection on how lucky we are to collect points we don’t need and not to get wrapped up in our own bubble.

  14. @Jon, Don’t be such a grinch. I doubt that the Element room Ben booked was otherwise going to a homeless family. And why don’t you inquire whether Ben indeed does other things for those in need…this is indeed his profession, not his hobby.

    I had 8 of the 9 needed for the SPG bonus and being in Shenzhen, China, and having not stayed at a St. Regis this year, I booked a room, with my final suite upgrade request (hoping it clears) for the year. The bonus is 9K, the room is 12K points. I’ll lose 3K on the exchange, but we’ll stay there, have their great brunch New Years day, and see New Years Eve from the top of the tallest building in Shenzhen (in South China I think).

    I’ve been, until last Sunday, staying only in hotels since October 7th, doing a lot of running. I hit EXP AA by taking a jaunt from BKK to Seoul and back via Japan (100,500 EQP, not much wasted there, and flights much cheaper ex-BKK than ex-HKG). I grabbed my last stay needed with Hyatt to hit diamond at the Incheon Grand Hyatt my first night in Korea as well, though I did most of my running hotel hopping MGM’s this past summer and fall in Las Vegas (5 hotel stays in five nights, twice).

  15. Make sure you let them know you won’t be arriving until tomorrow . I did same thing at a Sheraton Suites earlier this year and had to fight for stay credit as I didn’t check in until after 8AM and the local property said they couldn’t override their computer once the accounting for the night was done. Had to escalate to SPG supervisor .

  16. Just completed 7 nights at Hyatt Bangkok for diamond and f class trip to renew senator Lufthansa fra bkk .. Going back home tomorrow..

  17. @ Good Grief jon. You might be interested to know that a new restaurant opened in Austin, Texas.
    The name is Karma. There are no menus . . . they just give you what you deserve. –Will Ferrell

  18. Does it make sense to pay $2499 for a mileage boost from Platinum to Executive Platinum on AA if I have 87k elite miles. A mileage run at this time of the year from New York is looking costly. Any ideas?

  19. @jon are you against buying points with cash?
    This is basically the same as buying points wth a discount, only there is a free room attached to the points purchase.

  20. Clarification, please: Do you get 8000 Starpoints for staying at 8 brands, and then an *additional* 9000 Starpoints for staying at the 9th brand? Or, do you get 9000 Starpoints *total* for staying at 9 brands?

    If you get 9000 Starpoints *total* for staying at 9 brands, then you only got 1000 additional Starpoints for adding a 9th brand to the 8 brands you had. So, you’d be getting 4000 points for this stay, not 12,000. (1000 Starpoints for the 9th brand, 2500 Starpoints for keyless entry, plus 500 points for the stay itself and for charging the stay to your AMEX SPG card.) $136 for 4000 points would be 3.4 cents per point — a mediocre value at best.

  21. @ J. Sarayda — The bonus only kicks in if you stay at nine brands. There’s no bonus for staying at eight brands.

  22. Sitting in the Hotel Americano in New York for my 8th brand, Element in Princeton tonight for my 9th
    @Lucky – happy holidays, I love the blog, I read it every day!

  23. I’m staying at the Palm too – got one more night to go. But if a weird property but I wouldn’t expect anything else from Miami…

    I’m just here for 12th street beach anyway so can’t complain :p

  24. I I am new to the miles game and cant wait to get started. I have read a few articles and I have the general idea. This last post im having a hard time understanding.
    You paid 136$ for a hotel stay and you received 120$ worth of points. If you would have used the room I would understand but you didnt so what am i missing.
    Thank you
    I look forward to reading more

  25. Randy, you aren’t using the correct valuation of Starpoints – in his post, he said he is basically buying ~12,000 Starpoints for $136, so each point cost just over a cent each.

    I cannot remember his exact valuation, but from memory most agree that a Starpoints is worth 1.6-1.8 cents each? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    So very conservatively, at a value of 1.5 cents a Starpoint, his $136 should be worth a minimum of $180 in the future.

  26. Thanks, Lucky, for the explanation! No bonus at all unless you stay at nine brands, huh? That’s a lot of brands!

    Yes, this is a very good deal, well worth doing a mattress run.

  27. Mattress running today at the MKE Aloft. Do you guys even touch the room or leave it as is? I doubt I’ll do anything. Might as well the housekeeping some time.

  28. Late to the party here. Sorry about that.

    Question, where are we today with say, SPG keyless, where I check in via the app (which has my credit card information) but never show up to the hotel? Would one still receive night/stay/points credit after check in or, does one need to actually unlock the door at the physical property? Is there a difference between a no show that requires front desk check in vs. keyless app check in no show that doesn’t require front desk interaction? Thoughts?

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