I Am Signing Up for the Starwood Preferred American Express – And Here is How I’ll Use the Bonus!

Based on that title, you now know that I plan on signing up for the Starwood Preferred American Express card. As I detailed previously, the current sign-up bonus is at an all-time high and in my opinion,this offer is just too good to pass up!

While some of you may have already jumped at the opportunity to sign-up, others may be unfamiliar with Starwood and Starpoints and wondering what 35,000 points can really get you…

Take the leap - ayp pic
Take the leap and apply for the Starwood Preferred American Express before the offer ends on 3/30/16!

Wonder no more! Luckily for you, I have already decided what I will do with the points if I am approved!

I use the word “decided”, but what I actually mean is that I have narrowed it down to 4 different redemption options, as follows:

  1. Redeem for a Top Luxury 1-2 Night Stay:

One of my favorite ways to use hotel points is to stay at high-end luxury properties that I otherwise could not afford. With the sign-up bonus on the Starwood Preferred American Express you can do just that!

First, let’s take a look at the Starwood Preferred Guest Award Chart:

Starwood Award Chart - AYP
We can focus on those Category 7 Properties!

One night at the St. Regis Florence (a Category 7 SPG Hotel) will cost you 30,000 Starpoints per night. Although that will take up most of your new sign-up bonus points, the nightly rate at this hotel can exceed €675 per night!

Florence - AYP
Explore Florence and all that the birthplace of the Renaissance has to offer!

For your points to stretch a bit further, stay at a luxury Category 6 SPG Hotel like the St. Regis Washington D.C., which will cost you a more reasonable 20,000 Starpoints per night. Nightly rates here can exceed $300 per night, making a two night stay using Starpoints worth at least $600!

Georgetown pic - AYP
Once you’re  finished with monuments and museums, head over to Georgetown and explore the beautiful campus!
  1. Redeem for 5 Night Stay – Using the 5th Night Free Promotion

Starwood allows you to redeem Starpoints for a Fifth Free Night Award when redeeming at Category 3-7 hotels. This means that a 5-night stay will cost you the equivalent of just 4 nights worth of points! Upon meeting the minimum spending requirements on your new Starwood Preferred American Express, you will have a grand total of 38,000 Starpoints, which is just shy of being able to utilize the 5th Night Free Promotion on a Category 3 Hotel!

The Le Meridien Vienna is a Category 3 Hotel, costing 10,000 Starpoints per night, and qualifies for the 5th Night Free Promotion. That means that the sign-up bonus and minimum spend can (just about) earn you a 5 night stay where nightly rates often exceed €239 (or about $250 as of March 2016) per night – a total value of over $1,250!

IMG_6672
A 5 Night Stay in Vienna leaves plenty of time to catch an opera…
IMG_6722
…and dine at the world renowned Steirereck Restaurant – ranked as the #15 Restaurant in the World!

 

  1. Transferring Starpoints to American Airlines – Earning the 5,000 mile Bonus

Remember, Starpoints can be transferred to over 30 airline partners – and SPG will even tack on an extra 5,000 miles when you make a transfer of 20,000 to an airline partner! This means that by transferring 20,000 Starpoints to American Airlines will net me a total of 25,000 AAdvantage miles! Those miles can be redeemed for a round-trip Economy Domestic ticket, a one-way First Class Domestic ticket, or even a one-way Economy ticket to Europe during off peak dates (like I did on my trip to Paris last February)!

AA

Even with the change coming to the American Airlines Award Chart (on March 22, 2016) I still think there is great value to be had with AAdvantage miles!

AYP - View from the Window 2
Where will you go with 25,000 AAdvantage (or other SPG airline transfer partner) miles!?

The best part is that even after the 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to AA, you will still have 15,000 Starpoints left to save or spend on a Starwood hotel stay!

 

  1. Redeeming for Cash & Points Stays

Another way to achieve luxury stays without the hefty cost is by using the Cash & Points option offered by Starwood hotels!

Take a look at the Cash & Points Rates: 

Cash & Points SPG - AYP
Use Cash & Points to stretch both your points and your savings!

For example, The Chatwal, A Luxury Collection Hotel, New York City (a Category 7 SPG Hotel) can be booked for a combination of 15,000 Starpoints + $275 per night. Since this hotel can cost $925 per night during the busy December holiday season, this is a great way to stretch your points and limit the hit to your wallet!

Similarly, Category 6 Hotels, like the W New York – Times Square, can be booked for a combination of 10,000 Starpoints + $180 per night.

IMG_3877
NYC is beautiful during the holidays… but it can also be very expensive! Use Starpoints to save that cash for more presents!

 

Final Thought

However you decide to redeem your Starpoints is ultimately up to you, but I am confident that you will not regret all the free/deeply discounted travel that you will achieve with this sign-up bonus!

As always, email me with any questions or comments regarding this card offer and redeeming Starpoints or any other questions you might have! Remember, once you earn the sign-up bonus and you need some help redeeming Starpoints, then head over to AYP Travel Consulting Services and email me at accountingyourpoints@yahoo.com

Your Free Travel is waiting…

DW


One thought on “I Am Signing Up for the Starwood Preferred American Express – And Here is How I’ll Use the Bonus!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s