How to Maximize Starwood Points and Cash Awards
- By Sean Bryant
- February 20, 2015
Posted in Starwood Preferred Guest Program
One of the best ways to use Starwood points is with its Points & Cash option. Points & Cash are award nights where you can use fewer points along with some cash (but significantly less than the room rate) to cover your stay. If you are trying to get as much value out of your loyalty points, this is one of the best ways to do it. It’s also great if you are short on points and don’t have enough to cover your entire stay.
Below is a breakdown of the entire Starwood Points & Cash system for each hotel designation:
Category 1: 1,500 points + $30
Category 2: 2,000 points + $35
Category 3: 3,500 points + $55
Category 4: 5,000 points + $75
Category 5: 6,000 points + $110
Category 6: 10,000 points + $180
Category 7: 15,000 points + $275
Starwood’s Points & Cash system allows you to essentially buy points for a low price. For example, if you were to use just points to stay at a category 5 Starwood property it would cost up to 16,000 points. Using Points & Cash, however, it would cost just 6,000 points and $110, which means you would be purchasing those extra 10,000 points for just $110 or 1.1 cents each. These points easily have a value over two cents each.
Best Ways to Redeem Starwood Points & Cash
When you book a vacation with points, it’s always important to look for the best value you can possibly find. Valuing Starpoints at over two cents each, you’ll want to receive at least that much value during your stay. Here’s a look at a few exceptional redemption offers using Starwood Points & Cash.
Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica
This is a category 5 hotel and prices start at roughly $400 per night during the winter months. To get a free night, you could use 12,000 Starpoints or 6,000 Starpoints and $110. If you were to spend the full 12,000 per night you would get roughly 3.3 cents per point value, which is great in itself. However, if you use Points & Cash then you would use 6,000 Starpoints, saving you $290 and increasing the value for your points to 4.8 cents per point.
The Westin Denver Downtown
This property is a category 4 hotel and prices start around $359 per night. You could get a free night by using 10,000 Starpoints or you could use 5,000 points and $75. Spending the full 10,000 Starpoints would give you a value of 3.6 cents per Starpoint. If you were to use Points & Cash, however, it would cost you 5,000 points and you’d save $284, meaning you’d get an increased value of 5.7 cents per point.
Finally, the W Boston is a category 5 hotel and a one-night stay starts at a pricey $569 per night, 12,000 Starpoints, or 6,000 Starpoints and $110 when using Points & Cash. A free night would give you 4.7 cents worth of value, however, using Points & Cash would give you 7.7 cents per point value.
As you can see from these three examples, stays using points offer members great value. However, the best value comes when you use Points & Cash. Starwood is a top hotel brand, not just because it has amazing properties around the world, but because it also offers incredible value to its loyal members.
Another benefit when you use free nights or Points & Cash nights is that your stays also count toward Elite qualification. However, it’s important to understand that when you redeem Points & Cash award stays, you are not eligible for the Starwood promotion of one night’s stay for every four.
Points & Cash allows you to stretch your points further, increasing the value and options for its reward members. Next time you are looking to book a Starwood stay, consider its Points & Cash option.
Photo credit: Kassandra Bay Resort & SPA