Last month, I wrote about the changes that Starwood was making to the ‘cash and points’ awards available at Sheraton, Westin, W, aloft, Luxury Collection etc hotels.
As of 5th March, these changes are now in place.
Basically, Starwood Preferred Guest gave with one hand and took away with another. They increased the cash element of ‘cash and points’ awards, but at the same time they were made available at many more hotels than previously. The previous rates were, frankly, too low to persuade a lot of properties to take part it seems.
What has happened is that a few amazing ‘cash and points’ bargains have disappeared. They have been replaced, though, by a far wider range of options.
In general, I am OK with this development. Here is an example.
We were booked (but unfortunately have now cancelled) into the Westin Athens Astir Palace resort in late May. At the time I booked, which was under the old ‘cash and points’ regime, ‘cash and points’ was not offered.
Now it is.
For the dates we had booked, the rate was Euro 305 including tax, or 12,000 Starpoints. That valued 1 Starpoint at 2.5 Eurocents. (We actually did better than this, because we used the ‘5 nights for the price of 4’ deal that Starwood runs. But let’s ignore that from the example.)
The same room is now available under ‘cash and points’ for 6,000 SPG points plus $108 including tax. Transferring to Euros, this values 1 Starpoint at 3.7 Eurocents.
‘Cash and points’ is therefore a far better deal, and also lets you book the hotel with just half the Starwood points that you would otherwise require.
These examples also show why the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card is a good deal. Once a year – usually starting in November – it is available with a 20,000 SPG points sign-up bonus. Even at 2.5 cents per point of value, that is €500 of free stays you can get from the introductory bonus. You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Starwood at a 2:1 ratio.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (May 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)