Starwood Cash & Point award option is a very popular one. Instead of paying entirely in cash or points, you mix them both. The number of points and cash required is fixed by the category and does not fluctuate. The properties, however, can decide whether to offer this rate plan or not. For them this is intelligent way of discounting, when the bookings/occupancy is on the soft side.
You can find the Starwood Cash & Points table below:
Now, Starwood has introduced this award option for select category 7 hotels as well. The number of points required using this option is 15000 in addition to $275 in cash. This award for category 7 hotels cannot be booked or checked for availability online on SPG.com, but you rather have to call in to find, if the availability exists or not.
People tend to value Starpoints between 2 and 3 cents. If we value them at 2 cents, the price of the hotel would be between $575 per night and valued at 3 cents $725 using this option. Thing to remember is that you do NOT earn Starpoints for the cash portion of the Cash & Points.
As always, I decided to crunch the numbers, if this award option makes sense. I chose November 14, 2012 for the date. I checked the lowest available rate on SPG.com, the SPG50 rate (this is sometimes good at expensive properties), and if the Cash & Point is available. I used the SPG CHAT option to check both the SPG50 and Cash & Point availability. Here are the results:
The Gritti Palace in Venice is currently closed for renovations. Of the 12 hotels that are part of the program, 7 had Cash & Points availability for the day in question (Nov 14, 2012). All the properties had award availability on that date. Note that for W Paris this is supposedly high season and that St Regis Bali doesn’t have any normal availability due to its being an all-suite hotel.
The SPG50 award costs 1000 Starpoints and I have added $20 to the cash portion that is inside the () brackets.
There are only two hotels, where using Cash & Points might have made sense on that day had the hotels made the rate plan available. Neither of these two did; The Chatwal and The St Regis New York.
It is a good development that Starwood has made Cash & Points also available for category 7 hotels. If you value your Starpoints at 2 to 3 cents each, it probably rarely makes sense to use this award, however. This could be a viable option, if the rates at the hotel are very expensive and the hotel has forgotten to close this rate plan.
You can also think this award that you are paying $275 for Starwood for not having to pay 30K Starpoints but rather 15K. If you are booking expensive Starwood hotels, it always pays to check the SPG50 availability as well. It can save you quite a bit at times, as the table above illustrates.