Starwood Preferred Guest’s website offers tools for comparing different rates and a browse dates/rates calendar to quickly locate Cash & Points reward availability. Together these website tools can make finding discount rates a much simpler task.
Standard search for Starwood Hotels in London shows the availability of Lowest Standard Rate and SPG Free Nights. SPG Member-Only Hot Escapes is third option in this default search.
Cash & Points is my real interest and I want to see AAA rates when searching USA hotels. I’ll check AAA rates for London too.
Compare More Rates is the first step to get the rates I want to see.
Typically AAA rates do not have any discount for Starwood Hotels outside the USA and Canada. In this search for London hotels, the AAA rate is lower than the Lowest Standard Rate at 3 or 8 London hotels.
Park Tower Knightsbridge is GBP 287 on AAA compared to GBP 299 for a Prepaid, nonrefundable rate. The AAA rate has day before arrival cancellation with no penalty, equivalent to Best Flexible Rate at GBP 319.
- AAA GBP 287
- BAR GBP 319
I want to see the currency in US Dollars and the SPG website allows me to switch currency using the Currency Converter.
Currency Converter is above AAA rate display.
Rates have been converted from GBP to US Dollars for Starwood’s London hotels.
The Park Lane Hotel, London is the best redemption value for a Standard Reward at $417 AAA flexible rate or 12,000 points per night. That is $34.75 per 1,000 points and buying SPG points is $35 per 1,000.
Cash & Points search with Browse Dates/Rates tool.
Each hotel listed shows a calendar icon for Browse Dates/Rates.
This is the tool to find Cash & Points availability.
The calendar reveals the SPG Cash & Points availability is limited to weekend dates over the next two months. Pushing the hotel stay to March allows three consecutive days of Cash & Points March 14-16.
Three nights at The Park Lane London with Cash & Points is $110 + 6,000 points per night.
$330 + 18,000 points for three nights at The Park Lane London. There is no tax added to the $330 rate. European rates are displayed with taxes included by law. For hotels in the USA, the $330 payment would have additional hotel tax on a Cash & Points award.
I can even check the other paid rates for March 14-17 quickly in this screen by toggling to Lowest Standard Rate or AAA rate.
Lowest Standard Rate = $278 per night.
AAA rate = $357 per night.
Below the rate the link Apply these dates to all hotels appears. Click that and the screen refreshes to show all 8 London hotels for March 14-17, 2014.
I see there is also Cash & Points availability at Park Tower Knightsbridge for March 14-17.
The Park Lane London Redemption Value
- Prepaid Rate = $834 (Nonrefundable. Tax included in rate for UK hotels)
- AAA rate = $1071 (No penalty cancellation day before arrival.)
- Standard Reward = 36,000 points for 3 nights.
- Cash & Points = $330 + 18,000 points.
Standard Reward Redemption Value = $834/36 = $23 per 1,000 points based on nonrefundable rate. $1071/36 = $29.75 per 1,000 points based on AAA rate with same cancellation policy as reward stay.
Cash & Points Reward Redemption Value = $834-$330 = $504/18 = $28 per 1,000 points. $1071 – $330 = $741/18 = $41 per 1,000 points.
SPG periodically during the year has a 20% discount on buying points which reduces the rate to buy up to 20,000 points to $28 per 1,000 points.
Cash & Points at The Park Lane London for $330 and 18,000 points is a cash savings of at least $500 and up to $741 based on the comparable paid rate to book the hotel with the ability to cancel up to day before arrival without penalty.
Starwood Hotels website offers the ability to quickly search for discount rates and Cash & Points reward nights by using the website tools like Compare New Rates, Browse Dates/Rates calendar and currency converter.
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.