For many years from 2003 to 2010, I was SPG Platinum and a Starwood Hotels advocate. When people complained the earn rate for SPG points was too low compared to the cost of award nights, I responded that in my case I could figure, on average, I earned around 1,000 bonus points per night through SPG hotel promotions. That meant a free weekend night at a category-2 hotel every 3 paid nights. In 2003 there were a good number of category 2 hotels in SPG. My average hotel night spend has not changed from $100 per night in the past decade.
In the past few years it seems many hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live and tend to frequent hotels opted out of SPG promotion bonuses.
SPG Bring on the Nights Jan 5-April 30, 2014. All hotels system-wide participated. Earn 2,500 bonus points every 5 nights, up to 20 nights and additional 5,000 bonus points for 25 nights.
I see that I was also negative in titling my post of the SPG Earn Away promotion. Yawn! Why Starwood 2x/3x points May 1-July 31 bores me after yesterday’s title on SPG More for You. My opinion on weak SPG More for You Double and Triple Points promotion Sep 15 to Dec 15, 2014. Not very creative titles and I should try and skip title commentary in the future on promotion posts. I realize I could locate the promotions better if I use the hotel loyalty program promotion offer.
Notice though that SPG is not very creative with their promotions. Over the past two years, it is double points or you need to stay five nights to get a bonus. I remember the SPG promotion offers were better and more creative back in 2003 to 2007 leading up to ‘great recession’ years. The lack of higher value promotions is what has kept me away from SPG for the past couple of years. Meanwhile hotels have continued to climb to higher category levels while the price of Cash & Points stays increased by over 20% too.
Why did I not know award nights combined with paid nights turn the entire stay into an SPG award stay?
I think I have only stayed at Starwood Hotels a handful of times in the past two years since 2012 when I participated in the SPG Amex Stars program. I like Starwood Hotels, but I have not been finding them to be the best value for my travels in recent years.
That is why I was shocked to see the FAQ stating
If part of my stay was reserved using a Free Night Award or SPG Cash & Points, will my stay qualify?
No, Free Night Awards and Cash & Points do not count as qualifying stays for this promotion. Even if part of the stay is reserved using an Award and part is paid, the member will not receive bonus Starpoints for any part of the stay.
Now that I have gone back and researched this issue, I see that term has been in SPG promotion FAQ since early 2013. Somehow, it never registered with me before. Probably because I did not bother with any of the promotions. I have been too busy racking up free nights with Marriott, bonus points with IHG and getting discount extended stays with Club Carlson, Hyatt and IHG.
Starwood Preferred Guest is a great program if your employer is picking up the tab for your 50 nights a year. The SPG Platinum treatment is great.
Loyalty Traveler tagline is ‘Hotel Value for Frequent Guests’. Turns out I have found plenty of hotel programs also offer great value through hotel loyalty promotions with a selection of fine hotels besides Starwood Hotels.
I still like Starwood Hotels. And I’ll keep staying in Starwood Hotels.
Still, I think this is a poor decision on the part of SPG to deny points for paid nights if they are in conjunction with award nights. Seems like irrational logic to me.