In April I started living in hotels full time, and have been primarily staying at Hyatt and Starwood properties. I also mix in a fair number of Hilton and Club Carlson properties when they’re more convenient, thanks to the benefits offered by their co-branded credit cards:
- The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers a free night when you redeem for two or more award nights, so if you stay in two night increments that’s basically buy one get one free.
- The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express offers Gold status for as long as you have the card, plus Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a year. While I don’t love Hilton properties in general, they have a massive footprint, unlike Hyatt and Starwood.
Anyway, while I had already requalified for basic top tier status with Hyatt and Starwood for the year a couple of months ago (Diamond and Platinum, respectively), I was trying to decide whether to go for any of the higher thresholds they have:
- Starwood Preferred Guest/Marriott Rewards offers additional rewards at 75 and 100 elite qualifying nights
- World of Hyatt offers Courtesy Card, which is invitation only — I doubt I’d ever spend enough to get it, though
Anyway, over the past several months most of my stays have been at Hyatt properties rather than Starwood properties. That’s partly because I do slightly prefer staying at Hyatts all else being equal, partly because the cities I’ve visited have had better Hyatt options than Starwood options, and partly because Hyatt’s fall promotion is actually quite lucrative.
While I have over 100 elite qualifying nights with Hyatt for the year, I just reached 75 nights for the year with Starwood. I only realized this because they sent me the following email today:
Here’s the content of the email I received from Starwood:
Having a busy travel schedule can be a good thing. After all, it’s helped you accumulate 75 nights with SPG® this year, and we’re happy to see you so often. So let’s celebrate! As part of our new SPG Nights Benefits, you’ll now earn four Starpoints® per eligible U.S. dollar spent through February 28, 2016. That’s a 100% bonus over Preferred members. Plus, receive access to Your24™, a new benefit that allows you to choose your check-in. For example, check in at 9 p.m. and have the flexibility of checking out at 9 p.m. on your day of departure.
Watch your Starpoints balance grow faster than ever, and find all the ways you can redeem them at spg.com/redeem — from Free Nights and Award Flights to unforgettable experiences on the SPG MomentsSM site and so much more. It’s our way of saying thanks for traveling with SPG.
Go ahead, relish your new earning power.
Earning four Starpoints per dollar
It is cool that you an earn an extra Starpoint per dollar spent for stays once you reach 75 nights. At the same time, I’ve never found Starwood to be especially rewarding points-wise for hotel spend, so if anything this only levels the playing field a bit.
I look forward to earning a 100% bonus instead of 50%
For example, if you spend $10,000 per year at Starwood properties, this means you’ll earn an extra 10,000 Starpoints. That’s nice, though it’s certainly not worth going out of your way to achieve that threshold, in my opinion.
Your24 check-in option
Through Your24 you’re able to request whichever check-in time you’d like, and then have 24 hours in the room. For example, you can request to check-in at midnight and then would have your room till midnight the following night. This can be great if you have a redeye or an oddly timed layover. On top of that, if you request check-in at 9AM or later, you’re still entitled to 4PM guaranteed late check-out. In other words you could be guaranteed a room for 31 hours, which is pretty cool.
Your24 could be a useful benefit at airport hotels, like the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
There are two catches: Your24 has to be requested at least two days in advance, and it’s up to the hotel whether they want to confirm it or not.
It’s not a guaranteed benefit, and during peak times you’ll probably find it being denied. I’m not sure how much marginal value there is, given that I’ve had good luck checking into hotels early based on availability, even without it being a published benefit.
Best I can tell neither of these benefits are game changers, though I’m grateful to have them given that I didn’t exactly go out of my way to earn the status. I look forward to giving Your24 a shot, and I’ll never turn down extra Starpoints. 😉
To those of you that are 75 night Platinum members with Starwood, how do you feel about the extra Starpoint per dollar spent and Your24?