When the Starwood Tap into Luxury Game spin told me I had landed on the Westin Verasa Napa, I thought, NOT NAPA, they have already had too many objects landing on them there this week.

SPG Westin Verasa Napa game

Starwood Tap into Luxury game – Westin Verasa Napa

Through September 30, 2014, the Starwood Tap Into Luxury game gives you a chance to win an instant prize and an entry into the Grand Prize drawing for 250,000 points.

Starwood Tap to Luxury Game for 250,000 points

Instant prizes include:

  • 195 free night awards for up to category 5 hotels.
  • 390 awards for Starpoints in 500 points; 1,000 points or 5,000 points.
  • 156  iTunes cards $50.
  • 975 TicketMaster $50 cash codes.

Grand Prize is 250,000 Starpoints.

Westin Verasa Napa and I will have to wait on our meeting for luxury date.

SPG game sorry.

Good Luck.

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

SPG points to AAdvantage miles in less than 48 hours is simply a data point to let readers know that my transfer from Starwood Preferred Guest to American Airlines AAdvantage miles was initiated Sunday morning at 10:30am and the miles have posted to my AAdvantage account this morning.

The last time I transferred more than 100 Starpoints to airline frequent flyer miles was 2003 when I made a transfer of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 British Airways Executive Club for a First Class award ticket.

As a former SPG Platinum member I earned thousands of frequent flyer miles in promotions requiring airline partner transaction activity. SPG Platinum members have no minimum transfer level and there were a few times when exchanging 10 points or 100 Starpoints into frequent flyer miles earned thousands of bonus miles.

SPG Gold members are restricted to a minimum 1,500 Starpoints transfer for frequent flyer miles. SPG base members have a 2,500 Starpoints minimum transfer requirement.

There is no minimum Starpoint transfer requirement for Platinum members with most airlines. Gold members have a minimum transfer requirement of 1,500 Starpoints, and Preferred members have a minimum transfer requirement of 2,500 Starpoints.

Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Partners

This transfer to American Airlines allows me to book round trip economy class tickets from Monterey, California to Europe for the TBEX Athens travel blogger conference in October for 20,000 miles each way on AAdvantage MileSAAver awards. These discount awards for travel between USA and Europe are available October 15 through May 15, 2015. I plan to fly soon after October 15.

My thoughts are to either book flights in and out of two different Greek island airports or purchase a low cost under $100 flight between Greece and Italy and spend a few days in Rome or Venice, Italy.

United Mileage Plus charges 30,000 miles each way between USA and Europe and has a more convenient schedule from Monterey, California directly to Athens, Greece but I decided to save those miles since 30,000 miles is the same one-way award ticket price for summer travel.

AA.com awards AAnywhere, but Athens is my post from yesterday describing the difficulty of booking an online award ticket to Athens, even though there are at least eight other airports in Greece with widely available award space using AAdvantage miles.

I was reluctant to transfer Starpoints to airline miles, since 3,000 points is a free category 2 weekend night. But in a way, the 3,000 Starpoints I transferred to American Airlines saves me 30,000 United miles for a better use at a later date. It seems like a good trade-off at the moment.

Bottom line: SPG points to American Airlines transfer took less than 48 hours.

AA.com mileage balance

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

This is one of the largest selection of Starwood Hotels listed on SPG Hot Escapes this week for stays at 270 hotels August 13 to September 24, 2014. There is an extensive list of 131 hotels in the USA with a large number of them under $100 per night.

Westin Galleria Dallas $98

Sheraton Suites Market Center Dallas $75

Westin Arlington Gateway, Virginia $83

Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Durham, North Carolina $72

Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown Bricktown $87

Element Miami International Airport $75

Aloft Miami Brickell $75

Westin San Diego $102

Hotel Ivy, Luxury Collection Minneapolis $121

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Le Meriden Chicago Oakbrook Center opened this week in the affluent western suburb of Oak Brook, Chicago about 20 miles from downtown Chicago hotels. The hotel uses Oakbrook as one word. The city name Oak Brook is two words. Oak Brook is headquarters to McDonald’s and Ace Hardware.

The 172-room Le Meriden Chicago Oakbrook Center enters Starwood Preferred Guest as a high category 5 hotel at 12,000 points. This category 5 award level means peak season dates may apply during the year at 16,000 points per night.

The hotel features six Executive Suites and one Presidential Suite. The Classic Room features a 46-inch TV and chaise lounge. There is a Club Lounge for the hotel. Internet is $12.95 per day if you are not elite.

Le Meridien Hotels have an art-centric hotel design focus. Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center features Chicago area imagery and photographs.

Le Meridien Chicago Oakbrook Center Room Rates

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Element Hotels are a room and hotel concept I like. A one-room apartment style space based on environmentally green concepts is a fine model for the hotel industry. The first Starwood Hotels extended stay brand Element Hotel opened in 2008. Six years later, there are only 11 Element Hotels open in North America. Element is Starwood’s smallest brand. The first Aloft opened less than a year before Element. Aloft currently has more than 80 hotels.

Element Basalt Aspen Valley opening August 2015 is in a town on Highway 82 on the way to Snowmass and Aspen, Colorado. That is fine when driving from Interstate 70. When arriving at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE), Basalt will be driving away from the ski resorts. Hopefully the distance to the ski resorts keeps the rates below $200 per night. Ha-Ha. The press release states less than 30 minutes drive to Snowmass or Aspen. Highway 82 gets some serious traffic congestion at times.

An apartment style hotel with Element Basalt Aspen Valley adds to Starwood’s growth in the Aspen ski and summer resort area. Starwood Hotels had only St. Regis Aspen until a couple years back when it was joined by Westin SnowMass Resort and more recently, a second property Wildwood Snowmass. There will be four hotels in the Aspen area with the new Element August 2015.

Element Basalt Aspen Valley will have 113 rooms. The hotel will be located within the new Willis Town Center. This will be the second Element Hotel in Colorado.

Element Basalt Aspen Valley will boast light-filled studios as well as one bedroom suites featuring a fluid design of modular furniture, swiveling flat-screen televisions, large desks with open shelving and custom-designed closets. Rooms will also offer fully equipped kitchens and the signature Heavenly(R) Bed, and spa-inspired bathrooms will feature an invigorating rain shower and dual-flush toilet. Other brand signatures will include a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness center, pool and outdoor hot tub, and 626 square-foot meeting room with modular furnishings, a flexible layout and state-of-the-art technology that can be customized to meet any business or social needs. Guests can stay on the move with Element’s complimentary bikes to borrow and enjoy fun and free extras including complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, the signature RISE breakfast, RELAX evening reception, and salon bar carts stocked with premium wines and beers, soft drinks and snacks, available after hours.

Starwood Press Release

 

Element Las Vegas in HD

I have stayed in two Element Hotels in Las Vegas and Denver. The design was almost identical for the two hotels, except Denver had an indoor pool and Las Vegas an outdoor pool.

element Las Vegas refrigerator and dishwasher

Element Hotels have kitchen cooking facilities and this Las Vegas kitchen had a full size refrigerator.

Here is my hotel review of the Element Denver Park Meadows from 2011.

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

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You must book by Friday, August 1 to take advantage of Starwood Vacation Villas 1,000 bonus points promotional AAA rate offer at 13 properties. This “AUTOP” special AAA promotion requires prepaid, nonrefundable rates for bookings by Friday, August 1 for hotel stays completed by December 18, 2014.

Starwood Villas are timeshare apartment style properties. Most resorts have a choice of rooms, up to 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom villas. These are good properties for family travelers.

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This post compares Hyatt and Starwood brands average room rates to see if there is a significant competitive advantage to Hyatt or Starwood for the frequent guest loyal to one or the other hotel chain.

Hyatt Hotels and Starwood Hotels are hotel loyalty competitors for similar types of business and leisure traveler guests who desire upscale and upper upscale hotel stays. The hotel loyalty programs allow these frequent guests to earn points for free nights. Both hotel chains offer a number of luxury hotels in their chain’s portfolio for discount hotel rates through award stays.

The primary difference between these two hotel chains is size. Starwood Hotels listed 1,180 properties on its 2014-Q1 investor report. Hyatt lists 554 properties. Starwood lists 14 Vacation Ownership timeshare properties and Hyatt lists 25 residential and vacation properties.

Starwood Hotels 2014 Q1 Average Daily Rates

  • Starwood Hotels Systemwide ADR = $174.63
  • Sheraton $151.61 (433 hotels)
  • Westin $187.06 (198 hotels)
  • St. Regis (31 hotels) /Luxury Collection (87 hotels) $315.09
  • Le Meridien (95 hotels) $186.14
  • W Hotels (45 hotels) $293.70
  • Four Points (182 hotels) $113.93
  • Aloft (80 hotels)  $110.49
  • Element (11 hotels) no ADR data

Hyatt Hotels 2014 Q1 Average Daily Rates

  • Hyatt Hotels Systemwide ADR = $182.04
  • Park Hyatt $363.11 (28 hotels) 32
  • Andaz $270.93 (9 hotels) 11
  • Grand Hyatt $241.02 (37 hotels) 40
  • Hyatt $166.38 (28 hotels) 39
  • Hyatt Regency $174.46 (138 hotels) 150
  • Hyatt Place $111.13 (170 hotels) 197
  • Hyatt House $129.65 (54 hotels) 58
  • Hyatt All-Inclusive Ziva and Zilara (2 hotels) No ADR data.
  • Note: average daily rate is based on (hotels) and number following is the total number of hotels in the brand. ADR data presented in Hyatt Hotels financial report is limited to (hotels). Systemwide ADR is my estimate based on data.

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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.

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SPG Hot Escapes for July 9, 2014 has 239 hotels listed for some discount rates over the next six weeks. This week’s list has 110 hotels in the USA and 15 hotels in Canada for summer travel discounts. These numbers compared to 26 hotels in Europe shows where the summer travel rate discount emphasis is with Starwood Hotels.

SPG Hot Escapes are prepaid, nonrefundable rates for hotels worldwide released every Wednesday. Bookings through SPG Hot Escapes for this week’s offers must be made by Saturday, July 12.

Some Starwood discount rate deals

Westin New Orleans Canal Place is $97 tonight, Thursday, July 10. Rates are $104, $112 and $119 for most weekdays into August.

Westin Las Vegas $83 for most weeknights. There is a resort fee here.

Westin Beach Resort Fort Lauderdale $92 first two weeks in August and $99 last week of July.

Sheraton Davos Hotel Waldhuus, Switzerland $149 for most of August.

Aloft San Jose, Costa Rica $61 to $69 most weekends.

Westin Calgary, Alberta Canada $86 Sat. July 19 and $96 Sun. July 20 are lowest rates for a hotel that is over $300 per night many nights.

W Minneapolis – The Foshay $112 for several Friday dates.

Le Meridien Versailles, Montreal, Canada $120 to $135 weekends in July.

There are some good deals around this week with SPG Hot Escapes.

SPG Hot Escapes banner

SPG Hot Escapes for Starwood Hotels discount rates

*****

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.

Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

Comments are off for this article

AA and US 20% bonus miles offers from American Airlines and US Airways add 20% more miles to Starwood Preferred Guest points transfers made between July 1 and July 31, 2014.

Starwood points transfer at 1-to-1 rate into American Airlines AAdvantage miles or US Airways Dividend Miles.

5,000 Starpoints = 5,000 AA or US miles.

AA and US bonus miles with SPG points-to-miles transfers gives 20% bonus miles from American AAdvantage or US Airways Dividend Miles for an extra 1,000 miles. This applies to all SPG points-to-miles transfers into AA and US during July 2014.

Starwood AA transfer

20,000 Starwood points = 30,000 American AAdvantage Miles bonus offer for July 2014.

The best deal here is a transfer of 20,000 Starwood points with the normal 25% bonus from Starwood = 25,000 AA miles or 25,000 US miles. American or US Airways adds 20% more miles for an additional 5,000 bonus miles.

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