Redeeming Starwood Points for Upgraded Rooms and Suites

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This is post #5 of a series regarding the Starwood Preferred Guest hotel program.

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Earlier this year Starwood made a few changes to their redemption options. While one could always use their points to upgrade to a better room or a suite on a paid stay, you can now use the cash and points option for a better enhanced room as well. While I typically wouldn’t pay extra for a better room, I know many love this option. For a luxurious vacation or when traveling with a family, this can be huge.

Upgraded Room Points & Cash Redemption:

  • Category 1 hotel: 2,000-2,250 points + $50-$60
  • Category 2 hotel: 2,500-2,750 points + $55-$65
  • Category 3 hotel: 4,000-4,250 points + $75-$85
  • Category 4 hotel: 5,500-5,750 points + $95-$105
  • Category 5 hotel: 6,750-7,250 points + $135-$150
  • Category 6 hotel: 10,750-11,250 points + $210-$230
  • Category 7 hotel: 15,750-16,250 points + $290-$315

Upgraded Room Points Redemption on a Paid Stay:

  • Category 1 hotel: 1,000-1,500 points
  • Category 2 hotel: 1,000-1,500 points
  • Category 3 hotel: 1,000-1,500 points
  • Category 4 hotel: 1,000-1,500 points
  • Category 5 hotel: 1,000-2,750 points
  • Category 6 hotel: 1,000-2,750 points
  • Category 7 hotel: 1,000-2,750 points

To determine whether you should use the Cash & Points option for a room upgrade vs. fully paying for the room and then using points to upgrade depends on the nightly rate. The big caveat is that not all rates qualify to get an upgraded room. Qualifying rates include: flexible rates, corporate rates, SET rates, and RACK rates. Wedding rates, for example, do not qualify.

From a personal example, I have a stay coming up in November. The best rate is $185/night. And an upgraded room to a Grand Deluxe would require an additional 1,000 points. The Cash & Points options for the same Grand Deluxe Room would be $95 + 5,000 points. In this scenario I’d be spending 4,000 points to save $90. This is giving SPG points a value of 2.25 cents per point. I typically like to get a minimum of 2 cents per point when redeeming.

Suite Room Points & Cash Redemption:

  • Category 1 hotel: 3,000 points + $75
  • Category 2 hotel: 4,000 points + $95
  • Category 3 hotel: 7,000 points + $125
  • Category 4 hotel: 10,000 points + $175
  • Category 5 hotel: 12,000 points + $275
  • Category 6 hotel: 20,000 points + $450
  • Category 7 hotel: 30,000 points + $625

Suite Room Points Redemption on a Paid Stay:

  • Category 1 hotel: 3,000 points
  • Category 2 hotel: 4,000 points
  • Category 3 hotel: 7,000 points
  • Category 4 hotel: 10,000 points
  • Category 5 hotel: 12,000-16,000 points
  • Category 6 hotel: 20,000-25,000 points
  • Category 7 hotel: 30,000-35,000 points

I personally find the Cash & Points option pretty expensive for a suite. It requires the same amount of hotel points as a standard room, but the cash amount you need to pay is pretty high. Also, using points on a paid stay is pretty silly as well as it is again the standard amount of points needed to redeem for a free night. I personally do not value a suite as much as two standard rooms. Although it really depends on what you are looking for and who you are traveling with. A family with two children is probably better off in a suite then two separate rooms.

It is also good to know that while you can request a suite upgrade at the time of making your reservation, this upgrade will not be confirmed until 5 days prior to your arrival at the hotel. Suite upgrades are not guaranteed and based on availability.

A few things to know:

  • Every hotel has different upgraded rooms and suites so it is best to find out the type of room you’ll receive first prior to making this type of reservation. Some hotels will just give you a slight upgrade while others will be much more generous in what they call an upgraded room
  • You must call Starwood to make upgraded and suite reservations – you cannot check availability online

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