1000 Bonus Starpoints with any weekend SPG stay for 3Q2015

Starwood Preferred Guest just announced a promotion from now until August 31, 2015 where you can get a bonus 1000 Starpoints whenever you have a stay that includes a weekend night (defined as Fri, Sat or Sun except in the middle east where it is Thu, Fri, and Sat).SPG Weekend bonus This promotion can be a sweet deal especially if you have a low cost one night weekend stay to boost your points earnings.  To maximize it if you didn’t mind moving properties a bit, you could do three different SPG properties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and get 3000 extra Starpoints plus you get to see different properties too!

I recently used 10,000 Starpoints a night to score this room in Detroit during the Movement music festival.  Paid rates were $379 a night which gave me a value of 3.79 cents per point! This promotion will get you 10% of a free room like this every time you use it which is pretty nice!Westin Detroit

Free points are always welcome.  We will see what the other chains come up with this quarter to find the best value and let you know our thoughts!

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

Uber Users! Get Free SPG Hotel Points for Every Ride!

Starwood Preferred Guest is one of my favorite hotel chains due to the beautiful properties and especially the great value I am able to get on point redemptions. I regularly get 4 cents or more per point on my hotel redemptions which is incredible so I am always after as many SPG points as I can get.

I have been a big fan of Uber and Lyft since they entered the Miami market.  In you haven’t signed up yet, you should!  And if you use the links in the previous sentence then we will both get an extra free ride since I am referring you. 🙂 Both services are cheaper and more comfortable than risking your life in a dirty taxi (especially Uber.)

When I saw that Uber had announced a partnership with SPG I was thrilled!Uber SPG

The base level is 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on Uber, but you can get bonus points during days where you have an SPG stay (including the check in and check out dates).  The bonus amounts vary with your status level with SPG.

Uber SPG 3I love all of these partnerships that the various hotels and airlines have come up with because it means extra points which are always welcome.

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

SPG launches More For You Promotion for 4Q2014

SPG 4Q2014Starwood Preferred Guest just announced their new promotion for September 15 to December 31, 2014.  While not as good as the IHG promotion going on, it is still not too bad since any free points are free points!  After you register you get:

  • Double Starpoints on stays of two or more eligible nights
  • Triple Starpoints on eligible stays that include a Friday or Saturday night.

As always, reply with any questions and follow me on Google+FacebookTwitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss any great info!  And don’t forget to share this article with anyone who might be interested using the handy social share buttons right below this post!

10 Amazing Island Hotels. Number 3 is incredible!

Feel like getting away?  Really far away?

We have scoured the world for 10 of the most amazing island hotels!  And even better all of these you can book using points so your stay could be free.  Don’t have points yet?  Why not start with our Getting Started page?  These 10 hotels should be all the motivation you need!

10. The St. Regis Mauritius Resort – 20-25K Starpoints/night depending on season.

St Regis Mauritus 2St Regis Mauritus Continue reading “10 Amazing Island Hotels. Number 3 is incredible!”

SPG Announces Summer 2014 Earn Away, Get Away promotion

SPG has announced their Summer 2014 promotion and while it is better than nothing, it isn’t anything that would make me alter my stay pattern.SPG Earn Away

The offer is for double Starpoints on all stays, but if the stay includes a Sunday night then they offer triple Starpoints.

As is the case with most of these offers, go ahead and sign up even if you don’t have any stays planned.  That way if your plans change, you will already be set for bonus points!

Sign up for this offer here.  It should only take about 10 seconds to sign up.

TWM, Take Me Away to Bali, Indonesia for free!

This is the first in a series of articles called TWM Take Me Away! where I will pick a destination a reader wants to go to and show you how to get there for free with miles!

A reader contacted me recently:

“I am taking the time to message you right now because I want to go to Bali at the end of August for my birthday and I’m trying to figure out how much to save to have. And also around what months should l look into buying a flight ticket.”

Bali is definitely on my bucket list due to the amazing culture , beautiful scenery and friendly people.Bali


I priced out a ticket around those dates on Kayak.com and the cheapest I could find was $1401 on Delta for JFK to DPS (the airport in Bali) via LAX and TPE which seemed like a decent price since you are flying halfway around the world.  Business class was over $6,000!  But the name of this site is Traveling With Miles not Traveling with Cash, so lets see how we can get there for free.

1. Use 70,000 or 110,000 American AAdvantage Miles to book OneWorld flights.

According to the American Airlines OneWorld chart on this page, you can go from North America to 70,000 Miles round trip in economy class and 110,000 Miles Round trip in business class. I checked and there is some availability on Cathay Pacific which has a great business class product if you can be flexible on dates throughout August.

Cathay Business
Cathay Pacific New Business Class Seats

It is a 15 hour flight from JFK to HKG so I would definitely recommend business class.  As a general rule, for any flight 5 hours or more, I try to do business class if I have the miles because it makes the experience much more pleasant.

If you wanted to get these miles, you could get 50,000 from the Citibank AA Platinum Personal MC, then wait 65 days and apply for the 50,000 Mile Citibank AA Platinum Business Mastercard.  That will give you more than enough for a coach ticket and almost enough for the business class seat.  With a some of our online shopping deals for American Miles, you should be able to make the difference up easily.

2. Use 65,000 or 120,000 United miles to book on Star Alliance

This price will change drastically on February 1 when United changes their award chart so if you happen to want to book this trip, do it now.  I just did a search and found a coach flight departing from EWR to DPS via TPE on EVA and then returning from DPS to EWR via TPE and LAX (on EVA and United on the way back).United Bali CoachThere was also business class availability for 120,000 and $25!

United Bali BusinessNote that these prices will be going up to 80,000 for coach and 160,000 for business after February 1.

To get these miles, you could start with the 40,000 miles from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you get after spending $3,000.  After 93 days (the minimum for chase to apply for multiple personal cards) you could get another 50,000 from the Chase United Explorer (will need to be logged into your MileagePlus account to see this offer).  You could also take advantage of some online shopping for miles like I did with the 1800 Miles for $75 shopping and 12-16X Miles shopping at Sears.

3. Use 80,000 or 120,000 Delta miles or 70,000 or 125,000 Korean Air to book on SkyTeam

Korean Air Prestige Seat
Korean Air Prestige Seat

I have included two options here because you may have either type of mile.  I picked up 30,000 Delta Miles when I got a Suntrust debit card, and 100,000 when I did some Skymall shopping.  I am also including Korean Air because they are a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards which might be easier to earn miles with. FYI, the Delta business prices are going up February 1, and the Korean Air prices are going up on June 1.

If you can find availability on Korean Air flights (which you could book with either type of mile) for JFK to DPS via ICN (Seoul), then you should be able to get the above pricing if you are flexible about your travel dates.

To get these miles you could get 30-50,000 Skymiles by getting the Delta Amex card at this link. But I would recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for 40,000 Ultimate Reward Points, then getting the Chase Ink Bold for 50,000 more.


Grand Hyatt Bali
Grand Hyatt Bali

For hotels, it looks like the best values are either the Grand Hyatt property or use cash and points at one of the SPG properties.1. For 12,000 Hyatt Gold Points per night you can stay at the Grand Hyatt Bali

W Bali
W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak

2. For 10,000 SPG points + $180 cash a night you can stay at the W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak.  This can be especially rewarding if you have Platinum status with SPG and could possibly get upgraded to a suite.

Le Meridien Bali
Le Meridien Bali

3. For 6000 SPG points and $110 a night you can stay at the Le Meridien Bali

Sheraton Senggigi
Sheraton Senggigi

4. And for only 3000 SPG points per night you can stay in the super secluded Sheraton Senggigi (although it is on a different island than bali so you might have to find your way there)

For the Grand Hyatt property, they are a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards so the Chase Sapphire Preferred 40,000 bonus could help you out. For the SPG properties, the 25,000 mile bonus from the SPG Amex and the SPG Business Amex could get you some free nights.

5. Another good option might be to get the Barclays Arrival card and then use the $400 sign up bonus (40,000 points you can redeem for $400 in travel expenses) just pay cash for a reasonably priced hotel or hostel or bed and breakfast you find there.

Whew!  That was a lot of information!  But I hope that this shows you how you can get to Bali for free with a little planning.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Why I’m NOT requalifying for SPG Platinum this year.

Living Room in Suite at Sheraton Lima
Living Room in Suite at Sheraton Lima

Last year at this time I was doing a series of mattress runs to take advantage of several promotions and get my last few nights to qualify for Platinum Elite Status.  I was getting 5,000 Aeroplan miles, 500 Starpoints per booking for using the iPhone app, double Starpoints on one night stays, and 250 points for checking in via foursquare. This year the Aeroplan offer returned, but the SPG offer stayed at double Starpoints, but lost the 500 points per booking and the 250 foursquare bonus.  You could get the 500 points back as long as you kept your number of bookings to multiples of 5, but there was an exclusion list that unfortunately caught some of my stays during the quarter. At the end of November, this is where my elite search ended up.

SPG GoldI was one night award from Gold and would need a massive 16 more nights to get to Platinum.

Why were my SPG nights so low for the year?

Simply put, the other hotel chains came up with much better offers than whatever SPG was offering each quarter.  Marriott with their Megabonus stay 2 get 1 offer, Hilton with their triple points offer, IHG with their Big Win promotion that gave me 20 free nights were all head and shoulders better than SPG’s double and triple points offers during the year. I enjoyed my SPG status when I used it for free upgrades to suites, and I got extra night credits from my SPG Business Amex.  But at the end of the day if there is a much better offer available, it would be silly for me not to take advantage of it regardless of status. Why take double points this quarter when I can get close to 100,000 points at one time with IHG?  SPG also changed their cash and points rates last January which made them less valuable to use.

Should I go for Gold?

Since I am only one stay away from gold, it will probably be worth making a mattress run for the final night I need before the end of the year.  Gold with SPG still gives some decent benefits.SPG Gold BenefitsThe extra Starpoints would be nice, but the late checkout and enhanced room at checkin (but no suites) really provide extra for my SPG stays.


This year it is a very different situation for me compared last year due to the competitive landscape and my stay patterns during the year.  If Starwood comes up with some better promotions during 2014, I can always try to reestablish Platinum status with them at that time.  But as long as the competitors are having better offers, I see my hotel loyalty going to other programs.  What is your hotel strategy for 2014?  Is brand loyalty dead?

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Facebook or Twitter!


Starwood Preferred Guest Announces Bring on the Nights promotion for 1Q2014

SPG Bring On The NightsSPG has announced their promotion for the first 4 months of 2014 and it is quite similar to the Take Two promotion they offered for the 4Q2013 but a bit worse.  The offer which is good from January 5, 2014-April 30, 2014 is:

  • 2500 bonus Starpoints for every 5 eligible nights booked up to a maximum of 10,000 bonus Starpoints
  • An additional 5000 Starpoint bonus if you reach 25 eligible nights

Since these are eligible nights, it means only fully paid nights will work and not cash and points reservations.

I think this offer is really lackluster and most likely won’t be taking advantage of it unless something else pops up.  It doesn’t cost anything to register so you might as well Register Now!   The Big Win promotion I wrote about this week from IHG is a much more attractive offer since I can get 78,000 points instead of 2500 for 6 stays. Even though the IHG points aren’t as valuable as SPG, the difference is too big to ignore.

An easier way would be to just get the SPG Amex or the SPG Business Amex which would give you 25,000 SPG points after only spending $5K.

Up to 9000 free Aeroplan Miles with nine Starwood nights.


Aeroplan (Air Canada’s Frequent Flyer Program) and SPG have teamed up for a promo for Sept 1-December 15, 2013 where you can get 5,000 Aeroplan miles if you stay 5 nights at SPG hotels and resorts during the period, an additional 2,000 with 2 more nights and 2,000 more with 2 more nights.  This could give you a total of 9,000 Aeroplan miles on top of whatever Starpoints you would normally get. There is no reason not to sign up for this promotion since it is basically free miles.

I have a lot of stays to get in this quarter if I want to requalify for SPG Platinum so this will be icing on the cake for me. This will combine with the SPG Take Two promo that I wrote about as well. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up so don’t wait, just do it now!

Starwood Announces 4Q2013 Take Two Promotion: Double Points and more.

Starwood Preferred Guest has announced their new “Take Two” promotion from September 1, 2013 – December 15, 2013. It isn’t a great promotion but isn’t horrible either. spgtaketwoAs you can see from the graphic above, they are giving you double the standard amount of Starpoints on eligible stays.  This means you will get 4 base Starpoints per dollar spent instead of the usual two.  Elite bonuses such as the 1 point additional for gold members or the 2 points additional for the SPG 75 nights members will not be doubled.

There is also a bonus that you can get of 2500 points per 5 stays up to a total of 10,000 points for 20 stays.  I personally am 17 stays short to requalify for platinum so this is something I will take into consideration if I want to keep my status.  I have received great value this year from my Starwood Platinum status (such as when I got a free upgrade to a huge suite in Lima)  and want to keep it if I can swing a way that doesn’t cost too much.

This promotion is free to sign up so it makes sense to sign up even if you don’t have any SPG stays planned just in case.  There is also a decent sized non participating properties list so make sure the properties you want to use aren’t on it. So here is the link for the sign up page for the promo so get to it!