Starwood Upping Cash & Points Requirements

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Starwood’s Cash & Points has been very popular redemption option for many that has enabled member to redeem an award room partly using both cash and points.

spg-cash-points

Now, Starwood is tinkering with both the cash and point requirements of this award type. The number of required points is going up by 25% and the cash requirement is going up between 17% and 25%. You have until March 5, 2013, to make Cash & Points reservation under the current award chart. You can read more about these updated points and cash requirements here.

spg-cash-points-chart

Previously the cash & point option has been available for category 1 and 2 hotels in Asia Pacific, United State and Canada. Now, this award option is available worldwide as well.

Starwood is also making Cash & Points awards available for upgraded room types and suites (up to the property IF they make them available). Of course, Platinum members would be eligible for upgrades in to these room types based on the availability at check in. These awards are not bookable online. You need to call Starwood customer service.

According to Starwood, this pricing change has been done with the “intention of expanded availability”. Sounds good, right? It has always been up to the properties, however, whether they decide to offer any availability using Cash & Points.

Obviously, if hotel is expecting rather full paid occupancy, they don’t gain anything by offering availability using cash & point option. I doubt that we will see any material difference in the long run on cash & point availability.

Starwood is also “selling” the pricing change by stating that they haven’t changed the price of this award since introduction in 2002. It doesn’t take into account that Starwood has had huge category creep over the years and redeeming has become more expensive.

There is rather confusing chart about Cash & Points at category 7 properties that I will cover over the weekend. It is unclear to which room types these will book into and for how much in cash/points.

spg-cash-points-cat-7

Conclusion

The yearly category creep has taken care of the “inflationary” reasoning behind this change that some may use. This change makes Cash & Points less reasonable award options and doesn’t ensure extended availability regardless what the SPG’s “intent” might be.

Here’s the info from Starwood regarding this change:

Cash & Points Terms & Conditions:

    1. Offer is valid at Cash & Points participating properties only and is subject to availability.
    2. Cash & Points is offered at select Category 7 hotels & resorts in select room types as noted in the following chart:

Cash & Points is offered in standard rooms and some upgraded rooms and/or standard suites at the following hotels:

  • The St. Regis Florence
  • Cervo Hotel, Costa Smeralda Resort
  • The Gritti Palace, Venice
  • The St. Regis New York
  • The St. Regis Aspen Resort
  • Hotel President Wilson, Geneva
  • The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort
  • The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel
  • The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
  • W South Beach
  • The St. Regis Bali Resort
  • The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
  • W Paris – Opéra

Cash & Points is only offered in upgraded rooms and/or standard suites and must be booked through an SPG Awards Center at the following hotels:

  • Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda
  • Hotel Pitrizza, Costa Smeralda
  • Hotel Romazzino, Costa Smeralda
  • Le Méridien Bora Bora
  • Mystique, Santorini
  • Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai
  • The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal
  • Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas

The following hotels do not participate in Cash & Points:

  • W Retreat & Spa – Maldives
  • The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
  • Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort
  1. Blackout dates may apply. The Starwood Preferred Guest No Blackout Dates policy applies only to Free Night Awards in standard room types and is not applicable to this redemption option.

  2. Rooms are for single or double occupancy in a standard room; some hotels may offer Cash & Points in non-standard room types and/or suites at higher cash and Starpoints amounts; these rooms may only be booked through an SPG Customer Care Center.

  3. Charges may apply for additional guests and bedding; smoking preferences are not confirmed.

  4. Guest is responsible for all taxes and service charges affiliated with this award reservation.

  5. Local guarantee and cancellation policies apply.

  6. Guest will not receive Starpoints or airline miles for these stays. Cash & Points rates are ineligible for Starpoints earnings, even though the member does pay money directly to the hotel; however, Starpoints are still earned on eligible incidentals as usual, and all in-hotel benefits should be honored for members staying on this rate.

  7. Cash & Points Award stays and nights do not qualify toward any promotions requiring stays or nights; however, Cash & Points Award stays and nights from October 1, 2011, onward do qualify as an eligible stay or nights toward earning elite levels.

  8. Cash components of this award that are confirmed in non-USD will be adjusted, as needed, to reflect the USD equivalent of the award before being posted in local currency to the customer’s bill at time of checkout.

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