The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express is one of the most versatile cards available. Cardholders earn one point per dollar spent, and each point is incredibly valuable. Points can be redeemed for free nights in hotels or transferred to miles with over thirty different airlines.
But one of the more interesting uses for these points is towards discounts on room reservations via the Starwood Preferred Guest website.
How these discounts work
In the past, Starwood offered cardholders a certificate each year for 50% off a reservation at the so called “rack rate”. The Rack Rate is an industry term that denotes the highest published rate that a hotel can charge for a room. Often, hotels are required by law to post this rate in the rooms or at the front desk.
Later, Starwood began simply offering this 50% off coupon as an award that can be redeemed for 1,000 points.
How to use this award
First, determine what the lowest available rate is for a room, and what the rack rate is. In some instances, the lowest rate may be less than 50% of the rack rate, making this award unnecessary. Next, determine if the desired hotel accepts these rates, called SPG50 as they are not available at properties in Hawaii and some other properties. In addition, awards do not apply to suites or other ancillary charges. The maximum stay is five nights with this award.
When it is time to book the reservation, contact Starwood customer service and ask for the SPG50 rate.
Fortunately, Starpoints will be earned on the amount paid, but not the entire pre-discounted rate. Furthermore, those who pay with their Starwood American Express card will earn up to five points per dollar charged at Starwood properties. Regular members earn four points per dollar while elite members earn five.
When to use this award
The key to gaining the most value from this award is using it when room rates are normally highest. For those whose travel plans include staying at premium properties during the peak season, it is possible to save hundreds of dollars per night with these 50% off awards.
By understanding how to use this valuable benefit, holders of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card can save money on their next premium hotel stay.