Starwood Birth Rate or SPG Cash & Points

One of the primary decisions to make when traveling is whether to burn cash or burn points. Earning points primarily through credit card spend may give less consideration to paid stays. Other travelers want paid stays for elite status and hotel stay promotion bonuses. I primarily earn points from hotel stays.

For my Chicago April 2014 trip planning I compared the paid rate using Starwood Hotels Birth Rate promotion to the availability and cost of SPG Cash & Points awards.

Pay Your Birth Year is a rate for the second and third night based on 19xx where xx is your year of birth. My birth year is 1960 or $60 per night for the second night and some hotels offer this rate for a third night. The first night is a fixed rate that tends to be a higher rate than might otherwise be available.

Many hotels only allow the second night at Birth Year rate. Some hotels add an extra $100 to the birth year rate. This is the case for the two W hotels in Chicago.

Starwood Birth Year

Starwood Hotels Pay your Birth Year rate for North America hotels


Travel Objective: 7 hotel nights in Chicago in April 2014 for $700 or so while earning $500 in rebate value.

My search started with Kayak.com and SPG.com to gauge rates at downtown Chicago hotels during the first week of April.

Only three Starwood hotels under $200 per night for a 7-night stay:

Aloft Chicago City Center, SPG Category 4, $174 (AAA) $170 (nonrefundable)

Four Points Magnificent Mile, SPG Category 4, $173 (nonrefundable)

The Tremont Chicago Hotel At Magnificent Mile, SPG Category 3, $110 (nonrefundable); $127 AAA.


Birth Year Discount Rates for Starwood Hotels in Chicago

SPG Birth Year-1

Aloft Chicago City Center $189 Night 1 + $60 Night 2 and $60 Night 3.

  1. $319 for three night Birth Rate stay with no penalty cancellation until day of arrival.
  2. $510 nonrefundable rate
  3. $522 AAA rate.
  4. 30,000 points for Standard Reward.

Save over $230 after tax with Birth Year rate and reduce nightly rate from $174 to $107 with Birth Year rate.

Four Points Magificent Mile $199 Night 1 + $60 Night 2 and $60 Night 3.

  1. $329 for three night Birth Year rate + tax.
  2. $519 nonrefundable rate
  3. $576 AAA rate
  4. 30,000 points Standard Award (I don’t have that many).
  5. $225 + 15,000 Cash & Points for 3 nights (I have this many)

One of the big differences is the Starwood Birth Rate is eligible for the current SPG offer for 2,500 bonus points every 5 nights. Cash & Points award stays do not count for this SPG promotion bonus points offer.

Is Starwood the best Chicago value?

These two hotels provide options to significantly cut the nightly rate for a downtown Chicago hotel to a rate closer to $100 per night rather than over $200 per night.

Availability of Starwood Birth Year rates was wide open for these two hotels.

$648 for six nights at Aloft Chicago Downtown and Four Points Chicago Magnificent Mile is only $108 per night when most hotels in similar market segment are over $140 to $175 per night. These Starwood stays earn 2,500 bonus points after 5 nights with the current SPG Bring on the Nights promotion and about 2,000 base and elite bonus Starpoints. That is about $100 to $150 in points rebate value.

The Starwood hotel rates are good, but I think I can do better with higher value promotion bonuses with Marriott, Club Carlson and IHG hotel brands while staying seven nights in Chicago in April 2014.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »


  1. Ric,

    Thought you might want to know that the Four Points has a BRG opportunity for Apr 1-8 that might knock your rate down to $92 or so, assuming you take the 10% off.

    Its on Galahotels.com

  2. Why does Sheraton display hotels on their birth year rate site that actually have no availability at all? Click on Silicon Valley and of the four hotels they offer, only the Four Points Silicon Valley (really far away) is actually available in general. One of the others does have birth year rates available but only for Thursday thru Sundays. Okay, can live with that. But two of the others don’t show any availability at all, even scrolling many months (I did 8) from now to the right on the calendar. No dates at all.

    Just wastes your time.

  3. @Glenn – In my experience the Birth Rate offer is available at fewer than 50% of hotels in most US cities I checked past several years.

    @Liam – I will look into the BRG. Best thing about Four Points Chicago is the Trader Joe’s next door for grocery shopping. One hotel would be nice, but not too lucrative on the points earning side of the equation.

    If my Starwood BRG claim is approved I will get 2,000 bonus points for one $76 night at Tremont Hotel.

  4. @Liam – Galahotels.com looks like a membership site. Since the site requires registration as a member of Galahotels to book the hotel, it will unlikely be acceptable as a valid BRG claim which excludes group member rates.

  5. Galahotels.com won’t work for Hyatt, Choice, Hilton and a few others.

    However, Marriott, Starwood and even IHG seem to accept claims for this site with no issues.

    In fact, I have an approved BPG stay at the IC Mark Hopkins in 2 days where this site was used.

    Also managed to LNF the Marriott LAX for $61 using this site.

    Last year, I even got an approved BPG for the InterContinental London Park Lane using this site.

    It just depends on the chain – some will accept this site and some won’t.

  6. @Liam – I will certainly give it a try for Starwood and I’ll be looking for IHG claims since that can mean one free night and Marriott claims for MegaBonus credits and 25% off.

    I was wondering if any hotel chains accept olotels rates? They pop up with the lowest rates onKayak.com for many hotels. Hyatt refused my claim against olotels rate last week.

  7. Marriott and Starwood will accept claims against Olotels, but not many other places will. IHG won’t.

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