Posted by Ric Garrido

Starwood Preferred Guest has offered Cash and Points awards since 2002. SPG operates an easy to comprehend model for Cash & Points awards. Here is a Loyalty Traveler Starwood Preferred Guest Cash and Points Awards guide.

How it Works: Starwood Preferred Guest Cash and Points award rates are assigned to each SPG hotel reward category. In 2013, SPG introduced a major change to Cash & Points reward rates by increasing the points portion from 40% to 50% of the standard reward rate and increasing the cash payment in each category by about 20%. This was the most significant adjustment to the program since it launched. SPG also introduced Cash & Points for its highest hotel reward category 7 and introduced Cash & Points rates for upgraded rooms and suites.

SPG Award Types-7-11-14

Starwood Preferred Guest Standard and Cash & Points Award Types – Loyalty Traveler – July 2014

*Please note: You will need to contact the Customer Contact Center to redeem for upgraded rooms, suites and Category 7 hotels and resorts. They are not bookable online at this time.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Offer is valid at Cash & Points participating properties only and subject to availability. Fifth night free does not apply to Cash & Points.
  • Cash & Points is offered at select Category 7 hotels & resorts in select room types as noted in the following chart which is subject to change without notice:

Cash & Points is offered in standard rooms and some upgraded rooms and /or standard suites at the following hotels:

  • The St. Regis Florence
  • Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort
  • The Gritti Palace, Venice
  • The St. Regis New York
  • The St. Regis Aspen Resort
  • Hotel President Wilson, Geneva
  • The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort
  • The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel
  • The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
  • W South Beach
  • The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
  • W Paris – Opéra
  • The Chatwal, New York
  • Hotel Danieli, Venice
  • St. Regis Princeville
  • Prince de Galles, Paris
  • Santa Marina Resort & Villas, Mykonos
  • Vedema Resort, Santorini
  • Westin Ka’anapali
  • St. Regis Deer Valley

Cash & Points is only offered in upgraded rooms and/or standard suites and must be booked through an SPG Customer Contact Center at the following hotels:

  • Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda
  • Hotel Pitrizza, Costa Smeralda
  • Hotel Romazzino, Costa Smeralda
  • Le Méridien Bora Bora
  • Mystique, Santorini
  • Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai
  • The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal
  • Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas
  • The St. Regis Bali Resort

The following hotels do not participate in Cash & Points:

  • W Retreat & Spa – Maldives
  • The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
  • Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort

SPG Cash & Points Good Value Analysis

London W – Leicester Square

· Published rate $448 per night or

· Standard Reward 20,000 points per night or

· Cash & Points 10,000 points + $180.

Standard Reward redemption value is $22.40 per 1,000 points. Cash & Points redemption value is $448-$180/10 = $36.80 per 1,000 points.

Or you can view Cash & Points as similar to buying 10,000 points for $180. If you are short of SPG points, the regular purchase price is $35 per 1,000 points. Periodic sales reduce the cost by 20% to $28 per 1,000 points, but a member can only buy 20,000 points in a calendar year. Cash & Points reward nights conserve your points on this stay for future higher value reward stays.

Recommendation: If planning a reward stay and you can afford the cash portion, then Cash & Points will usually be a better alternative to the SPG Standard Reward rate. One exception is SPG Category 1 and 2 hotels on weekend nights when the Standard Reward is better value at only 500 to 1,000 points more than the Cash & Points rate.

Availability is an issue with SPG Cash & Points rewards.

Our reward availability survey examined four dates in 2014: Saturday, March 15, Thursday, May 15, Tuesday, July 15 and Monday, Sep 15, 2014 for Standard Rewards and Cash & Points Rewards. A city with 10 hotels has the potential to have 40 Standard Rewards if every hotel is available on each of the four dates checked. The availability of Cash & Points rewards compared to Standard Rewards is a useful measure. Similar surveys using these four dates were conducted for other programs examined in this article.

· New York: 33 metro hotels with 21 in city; 131 Standard Reward dates (99%) with 21 Cash & Points dates (16%) and most C&P availability not at Manhattan hotels.

· San Francisco: 23 metro hotels with 7 city hotels; 79 standard reward dates (86%); 7 C&P (8%) with only 3 in downtown city.

· London: 8 city and LHR airport hotels; 25 Standard Rewards (78%); 2 C&P Rewards (6%).

Cash & Points Reward availability in these three popular tourist and business locations is relatively low at 6% to 16% for dates checked.

Results were better for Starwood Hotels in the Middle East and Asia.

· Dubai: 10 hotels; 39 Standard Rewards (98%); 24 C&P (60%).

· Tokyo: 4 hotels, 14 standard rewards (88%); 8 C&P (50%).

· Phuket, Thailand: 4 hotels, 12 Standard Rewards (75%); 10 C&P (63%).

Availability of SPG Cash & Points mostly exceeds 50% in these business and resort cities on four sample dates in 2014.

Fast Facts for SPG Cash & Points rewards:

  • Cash & Points rewards require 50% points of Standard Reward.
  • Cash portion ranges from $30 to $275 dependent on hotel reward category 1-7.
  • Cash & Points use the lower points standard reward non-peak rate at category 5, 6 and 7 hotels and higher points standard reward weekday rate for category 1 and 2 hotels. This makes Cash & Points rewards at high category hotels during peak season dates even more valuable.
  • 5th night free does not apply to Cash & Points reward stays.
  • Cash & Points stays are reward stays and not eligible nights for earning promotion bonuses.
  • Cash & Points stays earn elite qualification nights and stays.
  • No points are earned on cash portion paid.
  • Website has Browse Dates/Rates monthly calendar for searching Cash & Points.
  • Cancellation (CX) penalty on C&P reward generally matches flexible rate CX penalty.
  • USA hotels charge tax on cash portion.
  • No additional tax on cash portion in Europe and many other countries.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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2 Responses

  1. I would like to book a C&P award at the Westin Xian China for May 2015, but there are none shown as available for any month in 2015. The calendar shows great availability for all remaining months in 2014, so I wondered if there a certain time of year when C&P awards become available for the next year.

    Comment by Richard H on July 13th, 2014 at 11:48 am
  2. @Richard H. – good question, but I do not know the answer of when C&P awards become available. I assume it is up to the hotel since these are capacity controlled award nights.

    Comment by Ric Garrido on July 14th, 2014 at 6:44 am

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