Starwood Preferred Guest added the option for Cash & Points Awards at select Category 7 hotels for $275 and 15,000 points. Award availability and reservations at this time must be checked through SPG customer service center. Notice of this new program award was announced through FlyerTalk and MilePoint July 10, 2012 and changes are reflected on the SPG website.
SPG Hotels participating in Category 7 Cash & Points
- Cervo Hotel ,Costa Smeralda Resort
- The Chatwal, New York City
- The Gritti Palace, Venice
- Hotel President Wilson Geneva
- The St. Regis Aspen Resort
- The St. Regis Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico
- The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
- The St. Regis Bali Resort
- The St. Regis Florence
- The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort
- The St. Regis New York
- W South Beach
- W Paris – Opera
Many of the category 7 hotels do not have standard rooms and are not participating in Category 7 Cash & Points.
Category 7 Cash & Points Buck the Trend Line
The points component for the category 7 Cash & Points Award is 15,000 points. This is 50% of the points required for a category 7 standard award in low season for 30,000 points. This is a higher proportion of points compared to the SPG standard award rate for all other hotel categories.
Cash & Points Awards for all other category hotels only require 40% of the points of a standard low season award cost.
Category 6 hotel is $150 + 8,000 points or 40% of the 20,000 points for a low season Category 6 SPG Standard Award night.
Category 5 hotel is $90 + 4,800 points or 40% of the 12,000 points for a low season SPG Category 5 Standard Award night.
There is also a higher proportion of cash than expected from category 4, 5 and 6 cash component for Cash & Points Awards.
Cash Trend Line for SPG Cash & Points Awards and Standard Awards
- Category 1 = $25 + 1,200 points or 2,000/3,000 points
- Category 2 = $30 + 1,600 points or 3,000/4,000 points
- Category 3 = $45 + 2,800 points or 7,000 points
- Category 4 = $60 + 4,000 points or 10,000 points
- Category 5 = $90 + 4,800 points or 12,000/16,000 points
- Category 6 = $150 + 8,000 points or 20,000/25,000 points
- Category 7 = $275 + 15,000 points or 30,000/35,000 points
Assume $25 cash portion of Cash & Points Award is about 25% to 35% of the cash rate of a $70 to $100 room rate.
- Category 1 = $25 (likely about 25% to 35% of published room rate)
- Category 2 = $30 (20% more cash than category 1 hotel)
- Category 3 = $45 (50% more cash than category 2 hotel)
- Category 4 = $60 (33% more cash than category 3 hotel)
- Category 5 = $90 (50% more cash than category 4 hotel)
- Category 6 = $150 (67% more cash than category 5 hotel)
- Category 7 = $275 (83% more cash than category 6 hotel)
Starpoints Redemption Value
My redemption value for Starpoints over the past four years is generally at least $35 per 1,000 points and often $50 to $60 per 1,000 points using Cash & Points awards for Category 3 to 5 hotels.
Category 7 Cash & Points award night would need to get a redemption value in the range of $525 to $750 for 15,000 points to get the $35 to $50 per 1,000 points redemption value I commonly find with Category 3-5 hotel Cash & Points award nights.
Add $275 cash co-pay to the 15,000 points and the room rate would need to be $800 to $1,025 per night to get $35 to $50 redemption value from the 15,000 points in a SPG Category 7 Cash & Points award night.
No doubt there are great opportunities to save big bucks with Category 7 Cash & Points awards. Some of these hotels have published room rates in the range of $600 to $1,200 per night.
5th Night Free Award vs. Cash & Points Award for Category 7 Hotels
Remember that a 5-night stay is 120,000 points for a 5th night free award at a category 7 hotel and there is no 5th night free option with SPG Cash & Points awards.
SPG 5th night free award = 120,000 points for Category 7 low season award.
Cash & Points for 5 nights at Category 7 hotel = $1,375 and 75,000 points.
You are paying $30.55 per 1,000 points for a Category 7 Cash & Points award for those extra 45,000 points saved with a Cash & Points option.
If your account is short of 120,000 points, then you might be better off looking to buy points when SPG runs a 20% discount sale on purchased points dropping the rate from $35 to $28 per 1,000 points. SPG has run these sales on purchased Starpoints each year for past several years. Typically the SPG sale for purchased points happens for about a month in some period from October to December.
Category 7 Cash & Points awards are SPG program enhancement, especially if you have a large account balance.
I do not like the trend that the points portion of a category 7 Cash & Points award increased to 50% of a SPG Standard Award for Category 7 hotels. The cash portion also seems a bit too high for me.
$225 cash copay for a category 7 hotel would have been more in line with the current chart for Cash & Points award copays at lower category hotels.
Hopefully SPG gets Category 7 Cash & Points award availability and booking functions onto the website before too long.
Loyalty Traveler post link: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/07/11/spg-cash-points-awards-offered-at-select-category-7-hotels/
Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.