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The ‘rogue’ Starwood resorts in Dubai finally join Starwood Preferred Guest

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On paper, Dubai should have been the ideal place to redeem Starwood Preferred Guest points for a beach holiday.  The group has four beach resorts in the Emirate:

plus another 12 non-beach properties!

For reasons never quite understood, however, many of these hotels refused to participate in Starwood Preferred Guest.  You couldn’t earn points and you couldn’t redeem points – it wasn’t quite clear why they were even carrying Starwood brands!

The last two hold-outs – the Westin (photo below) and Le Meriden at the Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina – have now joined up as full members.

Westin Dubai

Both are 20,000 SPG points per night compared with 25,000 per night at Le Royal Meridien and 12,000 per night at Sheraton Jumeirah Beach.

Whilst these redemptions are not the cheapest, they are good value at peak periods.  Starwood has ‘last room availability’ which means that if the hotel has a standard room for sale it must be offered as a reward.

On Easter Monday, Le Royal Meriden is £475 per night, so you are getting almost 2p per SPG point.  Sheraton Jumeirah is £355 so you receive almost 3p per point!  The other two are already showing as sold out but I would expect a similar result.  These prices are totally normal for beach resorts in Dubai over Easter or October half term, by the way.


Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (January 2021)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year. You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

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 Elite status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy 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.)

Comments (16)

  • Jamjaw says:

    Has anyone stayed at the Ajman Sarah in Ajamn? We are bored there for fide nights in November but considering changing for the sheraton in Dubai… All points bookings

  • Mark says:

    Anyone ever been to Dubai in February / March? Is it warm enough for the beach?

    • Rob says:

      I was on the beach in Abu Dhabi 10 minutes ago (now having lunch). 26 degrees, cloudless. This is norm for Jan / Feb IME. It drops off later so you plan on 10 to 3 on the beach and then head off. It was 21 when I arrived at 8pm last night.

      Avoid Feb half term of course!

      • Rob says:

        Update: 4.15pm and it is still very pleasant down by the pool although no risk of sunburn now.

        • czechoslovakia says:

          Pah. I was there last week and got a lot of wind, rain and hail. Plus a lot of lightning. According to the news, they`re were nearly 1000 car crashes in 8 hours, due to the rain. Make the most of it Rob, snowing here.

          • Rob says:

            Really? I have never, ever had a rainy day in the Middle East out of probably 75 nights over the years.

        • Susa says:

          Now you’re just being unkind 😉

          Seriously though, hope the sun keeps shining – I was last in Dubai 33 years ago, believe it has changed somewhat since then!

    • Think Square says:

      We went in March. It was pleasantly warm on the beach, but the sea was “bracing”. Having just come from the Maldives, it was a bit of a shock.

      • Rob says:

        Yes, I just had a quick paddle and it was chilly! By Easter the sea is pleasantly warm though.

  • Mark says:

    Great stuff, cheers Raffles – enjoy!

  • alex says:

    Weather is fine feb and especially March, just be aware that if you choose the palm in feb it could be a tad too breezy or cool to be around the pool as was the case last feb, we now go March and weather is perfect.

  • AndyGWP says:

    I’m going to be bold here, but the SPG have probably been the easiest points we have ever earned and redeemed, and in some ways for me – some of the best value! (taking into account the minimal time to accumulate them, and the ease of spending them)

    It is a shame that it’s only worthwhile (for us) collecting them when you get a bonus offer on the credit card… but when it is there it has been a quick win! 🙂

  • Kipto says:

    We are way way overdue a 20000 SPG Point bonus for new cardholders who spend £2000 in 3 months.

    • Rob says:

      I don’t see that returning, cancellation rates probably too high. They need to restructure the card first to make it worth keeping.

  • Kipto says:

    I should add SPG AMEX