Posted by Ric Garrido

The teasers are over and the Starwood Preferred Guest “Nice Choice” promotion for summer travel has been announced for three months of earning bonuses. SPG members need to choose their earning period from three choices and you have until June 30, 2012 to register. My suggestion is do not register yet if you are unsure of which offer best matches your travel plans.

  • May 1 – July 31
  • June 1 – August 31
  • July 1 – September 30

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The rules indicate that your stay activity applies retroactively once you register and pick a promotion period. By June 30 you should know how you match up for May 1 – July 31 and June 1 – August 31 periods based on the hotel stays you completed and the hotel stays you plan.

My strategy is to pick the best earning choices for my travel and keep that in mind as I make Starwood stays. By June 30 I will have a good idea of which bonuses are within reach and then compare the bonus value with my Starwood stay pattern.

I just have to remember to register for SPG Nice Choice by June 30.

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The SPG Earning Choices

There are 11 different earning choices for SPG Nice Choice. You cannot change your earning option once you select a choice which is why I favor waiting until late June to register for SPG Nice Choice, if like me, you do not have your summer travel plans set at this time.

This post covers the six bonus points and free night offers. I analyze the elite credit and gift certificate offers in this follow-up post SPG Nice Choice Elite Credit, Hotel Credit and Merchandise.

1. Double Starpoints beginning with second stay. Minimum of 2 stays to earn any bonus with this choice.

SPG Terms: Members may choose to register to earn double Starpoints beginning with their second eligible paid stay. First eligible paid stay during the earning period does not earn a bonus. Eligible paid stays must be at SPG participating properties during the three-month promotion earning period as selected by the member (see “all offer terms” for a list of earning period options). Non-participating properties can be found at spg.com/t&c, section 1.2. Members who earn double Starpoints will earn an additional two Starpoints per eligible US$1 spent (for a total of four Starpoints per dollar). Elite level extra Starpoints earnings are not doubled. Only the base 2 Starpoints per dollar earnings are doubled. There is no limit to the number of bonus Starpoints that can be earned during the promotion earning period. Bonus Starpoints will be credited to the member’s account within 2–4 weeks of the stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

My Take: Double Starpoints favors high spenders. The good value here is there is no earning limit and the bonus is earned starting with the second hotel stay in your three month promotion period.

Personally I evaluate this as if I stay 10 nights and spend $1,000 at Starwood Hotels, then my bonus is only 2,000 points for $1,000 in hotel spend. Poor choice for my travel pattern.

2. Earn 3,000 Bonus Starpoints each 6 paid nights. Minimum 6 nights to earn any bonus with this choice. Maximum earning 9,000 bonus points after 18 nights.

SPG Terms: Members may choose to register to earn 3,000 bonus Starpoints after every six (6) eligible paid nights, up to a maximum of 9,000 bonus Starpoints after 18 paid nights. Eligible paid nights must be at SPG participating properties during the three-month promotion earning period as selected by the member (see “all offer terms” for a list of earning period options). Nights do not have to be consecutive and can be accumulated across multiple stays. Non-participating properties can be found at spg.com/t&c, section 1.2. Bonus Starpoints will be credited to the member’s account within 2–4 weeks of the stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account that has 6th, 12th, and 18th eligible night. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

My Take:This choice favors longer hotel stays or low-cost one-night stays. This offer will allow me to earn 500 bonus points per night if I complete 6 or 12 nights during the promotion period. That is not much of a bonus for lots of one-night stays. This is a better deal if staying 5 or 6 nights somewhere and spend is too low to make double points a better deal.

$150 per night x 6 nights = $900 and earns 3,000 bonus points. This is still relatively low value in my analysis.

3. Triple Starpoints after 15 nights. Minimum 15 nights during promotion period to earn any bonus with this choice. Maximum bonus is unlimited.

SPG Terms: Members may choose to register to earn triple Starpoints on all eligible stays once they have stayed 15 eligible paid nights. Bonus is retroactive to all eligible paid stays during the earning period once the member completes 15 eligible paid nights. Nights do not have to be consecutive and can be accumulated across multiple stays. Eligible paid stays and nights must be at SPG participating properties during the three-month promotion earning period as selected by the member (see “all offer terms” for a list of earning period options). Non-participating properties can be found at spg.com/t&c, section 1.2. Members who earn triple Starpoints will earn an additional four Starpoints per eligible US$1 spent (for a total of six (6) Starpoints per dollar). Elite level extra Starpoints earnings are not tripled. Only the base 2 Starpoints per dollar earnings are tripled. There is no limit to the number of bonus Starpoints that can be earned during the promotion period. Bonus Starpoints will start being credited to the member’s account within 2–4 weeks of the stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account that comprises the 15th eligible paid night. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

My Take on Triple Points:This bonus is the most lucrative for high spenders. The bonus applies retroactively to all stays during promotion period. Assume $5,000 in hotel spend and this offer earns an extra 4 points/$1 for 20,000 bonus points.

Assume a low spend of $100 per night average and $1,500 in spend earns 6,000 bonus points. Low spenders would do better with 3,000 bonus points for every 6 nights and it will only take 12 nights to earn 6,000 bonus points.

4. 500 bonus Starpoints per night at Sheraton hotels and resorts

SPG Terms: Members may choose to register to earn 500 bonus Starpoints per eligible paid night at Sheraton Hotels and Resorts worldwide. Eligible paid nights must be at Sheraton hotels that participate in the SPG program during the three-month promotion earning period as selected by the member (see “all offer terms” for a list of earning period options) and the stays must be booked online at either spg.com, Sheraton.com, or Starwoodhotels.comwebsites. Stays booked through other channels, including the Starwood customer contact center, are not eligible for the bonus Starpoints. Bonus Starpoints will be credited to the member’s account within 2–4 weeks of the Sheraton stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

My Take on Sheraton 500 points – this is brand limiting. This will be a good deal if you plan to spend a lot of nights in Sheraton. This is an option I would definitely wait on and see how travel plans work out. The value of this option is for someone with only one or two stays and no plans to stay at least 6 nights for the #2 choice for 3,000 bonus points for 6 nights. This is the choice if you only have one or two Starwood stays planned and they will be at a Sheraton.

5. Free Weekend Night after 10 paid nights. Maximum 2 free nights after 20 paid nights.

SPG Terms: Members may choose to register to earn one (1) Free Weekend Night in a standard room at a Category 1–5 hotel or resort after ten (10) eligible paid nights, up to a maximum of two Free Weekend Nights after 20 eligible paid nights. Eligible paid stay(s) must be at SPG participating properties during the three-month promotion earning period as selected by the member (see “all offer terms” for a list of earning period options). Non-participating properties can be found at spg.com/t&c, section 1.2. Free Weekend Night(s) Awards must be redeemed and used by December 23, 2012, for any Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, and can be redeemed by calling your local SPG Customer Contact Center and mentioning Free Weekend Night Award ID NCHFN. Free Weekend Night Award stay(s) and night(s) will count toward elite earning qualification. Free Weekend Night Award(s) are combinable and may be added to existing paid or Award stays; however, the Free Weekend Night Awards are nontransferable and may not be given as gifts. Unused Awards are forfeited. Free Weekend Night Awards will post to the member’s account within 2–3 weeks of the eligible paid stays comprising the 10th and 20th nights posting to the member’s account. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

My Take on Free Weekend Night

I think this is the highest potential value choice for a low spender. The restriction to category 1-5 definitely is a promotion value drop from the last two years when category 6 hotels were in the mix. This is a return to pre-2009 when category 6 hotels were never in the mix for free night promotions.

This offer is likely a 12,000 points value after 10 nights or even 16,000 points for a SPG category 5 hotel in peak season.

Back to my example of $100 per night means this offer is pulling in the equivalent of 1,200 bonus points per night once you reach the 10 night threshold. If you are a low spender and can reach 10 nights with Starwood, then this is a good offer. I will probably take this choice, but I want to be sure I have ten nights planned first.

6. 25%-Off Starpoints Redemption Award with 20 paid nights. Maximum of two 25% off awards after 40 nights.

SPG Terms: Members may choose to register to earn one (1) 25%-off Starpoints redemption Award with 20 eligible paid nights during the three-month promotion earning period as selected by the member (see “all offer terms” for a list of earning period options), up to a maximum of two (2) awards after 40 eligible paid nights during the promotion earning period as selected by the member. Eligible paid nights must be at SPG participating properties. Non-participating properties can be found at spg.com/t&c, section 1.2. 25%-off Starpoints Redemption Award(s) must be redeemed and used by December 23, 2012. Offer is nontransferable. Starwood Preferred Guest members must call 1-888-625-4991 or their nearest Starwood Preferred Guest Customer Contact Center and mention Award ID NCH. Each 25%-off Redemption Award may be redeemed for one stay at a Category 1–5 hotel or resort for up to a five-night stay. This 25%-off Starpoints Redemption Award excludes Category 6 and 7 properties, 5th Night Free, and Upgrade Awards. 25%-off Starpoints Redemption Awards and “no blackout dates” apply to standard room categories only. 25%-off Starpoints Redemption Award stays will count toward elite qualification. Member forfeits percent-off redemption when modifying award reservation outside the offer dates. If a percent-off redemption award is cancelled, only the number of Starpoints used by the member to redeem the 25%-off Starpoints Redemption Award will be credited to the member’s account. Awards will post to the member’s account within one (1) week of the eligible paid stays comprising the 20th and 40th nights posting to the member’s account. Advance reservations required. See “All Offers” below for additional terms and conditions.

My Take on 25% off SPG Redemption Award

20 nights? Are you kidding me?

This would be a deal worth considering if there were not so many limitations like:

  • limited to a 5-night stay
  • 5th night free not eligible for 25% discount.
  • category 6 and 7 hotels excluded.
  • must be redeemed by December 23, 2012.

Since the 25% off does not apply for a 5th night free award stay, then you are paying 45,000 points for a 5-night stay using the 25% off redemption at a category-5 hotel rather than 48,000 points. You save 3,000 points after 20 paid nights at Starwood. You get better value with a 3 or 4-night stay where you might save 9,000 to 16,000 points at a category 5 hotel.

This choice sucks. 

You can get two free weekend nights for the same number of 20 nights with Choice #5. That is a 24,000 points value.

This is primarily the choice for the uber-Platinums who can count the discounted award stays toward elite.

I remember once (around 2003?) getting a Platinum recognition gift from SPG for 50% off SPG Redemption Award and that deal saved me 20,000 points on a 5-night stay.

I cover the SPG Nice Choice gift certificates and elite credit choices in this post:

SPG Nice Choice – Elite Credit, Hotel Credit and Merchandise.

22 Responses

  1. Excellent post! Thank you for your analysis of the 11 reward options.

  2. My analysis showed the same…I will likely be doing the free weekend nights as well. 24k points vs. 14k with triple points based on my expected travel expenses…

    Comment by spg plat on May 1st, 2012 at 10:55 am
  3. Rick,

    I love your blog, My favorite on boardingare.

    Very good analysis will help me decide which one to chosse, can’t wait for part 2

    Thnaks!

  4. lol, I like the candidness of “This choice sucks.”

  5. My choice will be to stay at Marriott and PC hotels this summer.

  6. Rick,

    If your stays are primarily at Sheraton the triple star points and 500 points a night are equal in value at $125/night. Above that price point, triple starpoints is better and below that price 500 points per night is better. About the FWN, i think there is an expiry date on that certificate, so unless you are planning to use it before that, it might be useless.

    -Ik.

    Comment by ikonos on May 1st, 2012 at 3:48 pm
  7. Wow. I think SPG just lost a 5x platinum member. These awards are horrible!

  8. Go for Marriott’s promotion. You may be selected for the stay 6 separate times = 3 Free night Certs up to and including Category 4 properties that are good for an entire year from the date of issuance.

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  11. I agree with Ik, at $100 spend the 500 pt per night is most valuable as then there is no expiration date (which I think is December 2012 for the certificates). That is the option I chose, a few more weeks to make 75 nights this year and earn the extra 9,000 points that cabn be used also in point stretchers and with no expiration.

  12. @Colin – I like Marriott’s promotion. I just wrote an analysis of summer 2012 promotions compared to summer 2009. SPG and Hyatt pale in 2012 compared to 2009. Marriott actually improved on their offer three years ago. In summer 2009 it took 3 stays and Marriott members could only earn one free night. In summer 2012 Marriott members earn one free night every two stays and can earn three free nights.

  13. I am confused…why is the 500 points per night limiting? No where does it say I have to stay at any particular brand, it just says the hotels have to be booked via spg.com, Sheraton.com, or Starwoodhotels.com which shows you all the Starwood hotels anyways.

  14. @Sandeep – From SPG Terms: Eligible paid nights must be at Sheraton hotels…

    Sheraton brand is the largest Starwood brand with about 40% of all global Starwood Hotels.

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