Points on your accounts have multiple uses, but the most popular way is always to--
Redeem For Room Nights
Starwood allowed its frequent customers to make redemption with points or a combination of cash and points.
I highly suggest check on line before making redemption. Simply log in from www.spg.com, and enter the destination and date you are looking at. The popped up page will provide you every hotel in this area, available or not. The website will also suggest a “best free nights value” with a golden star at the front for your reference.
But sometimes, the best value hotel is not the one that you are looking for in the sake of the location or facility or other reasons you worried about. So you'll move on and check other hotels in the results.
In big cities, like Boston, hotels with a good location could have a very high category, which means it might take up to 12000 to 20000+ to redeem one night. How can you know if it worth the value? Here is one measurement I found works for me:
(Daily room rate+tax/fee/surcharge)*40
If the calculated result is higher than the points you have to spend, then forget about the redemption. It is your choice to accept the room rat or turn and walk away. If the result is lower than the points it takes, congratulations, you have found a real deal. Go ahead and do it.
For example, assume the hotel's lowest room rate during your stay is 200 USD plus 15%tax and fee. 200*1.15*40=9200. So roughly speaking, you could accept a 10000 points per night deal if there is no other better choice.
Not a lot of hotels will open for cash and points redemption. If you are looking at a strong market, hotels are more likely to reject it as an option.
But if the hotel you are looking at does open for cash+points, you could also calculate with a similar equation:
(Daily room rate+tax/fee/surcharge-cash you have to pay)*40
If the result is higher than the points it takes, you may want to save your points for future use. If the result is lower than the points, it would be an excellent opportunity to stay in a hotel with less money and points.
Notice: Please call a customer contact center to complete your reservation if you are going to redeem room nights for someone else. Otherwise, the hotel system will only show your name on the reservation, and your guests could be deterred at the front desk.
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