Starwood Hotels is the group that boasts members such as the Sheraton, Four Points, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridian, Loft, W, Westin and Element. The Preferred Guest program consistently ranks among the highest by business travelers around the country. In fact, Starwood Preferred Guest has been selected as the “Program of the Year” for awards travel. With this particular loyalty program, you earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar spent at member hotels which can be redeemed at 825 hotels and resorts in 95 countries around the globe. As for the hotels, I’m a big fan of the Starbucks coffee and Tazo tea offered at the Westin. The Sheraton generally has a hoppin’ hotel bar, if that’s your scene.
For more information, read about how to earn Starwood points
Starwood Preferred Guest lets you earn 2 points for every dollar spent at participating hotels. In addition, you can earn points by using the SPG credit card, you can purchase points or you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards and Diner’s Club.
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Starwood claims “No Blackouts or Availability Restrictions on Free Night Awards.” I’ve not tried to book a rewards night with them, so I’m not sure how true that particular statement is. If you looking for some relaxing, Starwood claim more resort properties with whom you can book your rewards stay than any other program. That’s certainly something to think about.
You can redeem points for rooms, merchandise, transfer to airline points, bid for unique experiences at SPG Moments, give to charity, transfer for train trips or turn them in for instant awards like massages or dinner.
Those lucky customers who reach gold status can earn 3 Starpoints for every dollar spent. In addition, you will receive automatic room upgrades at check-in (when available). Gold members will have a “lower minimum transfer threshold” when swapping Starpoints to frequent flyer miles with the minimum exchange level set at 1,500 Starpoints (versus 2,500 for standard members). What else? You’ll receive “little extras,” like a morning newspaper, available 4:00 p.m. check out, check cashing and a special reservations and information line.
If you stay with Starwood 50 nights a year, you can achieve Platinum status. That will earn you an upgrade to the best available guest room at check in. The Platinum Concierge will offer you personalized service for reservations, upgrades, points redemptions, opera tickets and baby sitters. You will receive complimentary access to the gym and Executive and Club Level floors at Westin and Sheraton. A welcome gift will be waiting for you upon arrival. Four o’clock late check out is an option for you. Finally, you will receive guaranteed room availability with 72 hours notice of arrival.
In the past I had some trouble getting my Starpoints converted into airline miles. When I joined the program, I entered my airline information as my preferred program partner and thought it was a done deal. During my first stay at the Sheraton after joining, I reiterated to the hotel staff that I wanted airline miles rather than hotel points. The miles still were not credited to my Northwest account. I promptly contacted the Starwood customer service center, who informed me that unless you choose your airline partner as your preferred earning method (which I did), you can only convert points to miles once you’ve accumulated 20,000 points. I’m not a frequent customer of these properties, so it would take me ages to get to that level. They did credit the miles to my Northwest account, on a one mile per dollar ratio. Basically, I got hosed on that deal so be careful if you’re in the same situation.
aloft Quadruple Points Promotion (through December 31, 2008)