Squeezing Every Penny out of SPG’s Fall 2012 Promotions

Three SPG Promos in one!

SPG has a lot of different promotions going on concurrently right now, and you can take part in all of them at the same time. As with everything in the points world, taking a little time to think it through can really make a big difference in the points/rebates you earn, and the SPG promotions are a perfect example.

Here are the promotions:

  • Better by the Night: Double points on 1-2 night stays, Triple points on 3+ night stays
  • iPhone app booking: 500 points per night (or 250 if booked online)
  • Foursquare check-in: 250 points per stay

How else you can earn points:

  • SPG Gold/Platinum Status: 1 point per dollar spent
  • Platinum Status: 250 point bonus check-in amenity (125 points at Aloft, Element, and Four Points)
  • SPG Amex: 2 points per dollar
  • “Super” Platinums (75+ nights): extra 1 point per dollar spent
  • SPG Green Choice (decline housekeeping at select hotels): 500 points per night
  • Ultimate Rewards Mall: 2 points per dollar at Westin

Oh, and if you want to forego the Ultimate rewards mall points, are booking at non-Westin hotels, or for some reason can’t book with an iPhone, you can always book through Big Crumbs for 2.1% cash back. (That’s my referral link – I appreciate if you sign up using it!)

Holy smokes that’s a lot of ways to earn points! Let’s break it down to see what you can earn in a few real-world scenarios, starting with a one-night stay for $100 for a non-elite.

Points Earned by an SPG non-elite on a $100 Stay

Your one-night, $100 stay earns a pretty respectable 1,350 SPG points if you have no elite status with SPG. According to MileValue’s Leaderboard, SPG points are worth 2.44 cents each. Those 1,350 points are like having $32.94 back in your pocket, or a 33% rebate! I’d also like to point out that several bloggers agree that you can/should get MUCH more than 2.44 cents per SPG point (I got more than 7 cents per point before). See The Points Guy, Deals We Like, Frequent Flyer University, and Google for how-to guides.

But what if you’re a Platinum member? Well the points just keep coming!

Points earned by a Platinum member on a $100 stay

Those 1,700 points is like getting back $41.48, or a 41.5% rebate! “Super” Platinum members would get another 100 points, for a total value of $43.92 or 44% back.

What about a 3 night stay? For consistency I’ll go with a $100 nightly rate again ($300 total for 3 nights).

Points earned by a non-elite member on a 3 night stay at $100 per night

Those 4,150 points can get you a free night at a category 2 hotel (4,000 points), or a calculated value of $101.26 for 33.7% back.

Elite members do a little better. Let’s see what a Platinum elite can get back on the same stay.

Points earned by a Platinum elite on 3 night stay at $100 per night

That equates to $114.68 back, or 38.2% back, so not quite as well off as on the one-night stay. This, of course, is based on calculations. You may very well get better value with the points you earn!

Just for fun, let’s do a much more interesting scenario. SPG has a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) that gives either 2,000 points back or 10% off the lower rate. For stays that are cheap, you get more points for your money.

Let’s say a Platinum member sees a rate of $88 instead of $100, and successfully submits a BRG claim to get the points. What will he/she get back?

Points earned by a Platinum elite on a one night stay of $88, after a BRG claim.

Those 3,616 points have a calculated value of $88.23. You actually end up MAKING MONEY! This type of scenario is a pretty good mattress run. Keep in mind that those 3,616 points can potentially be worth a lot more than the $90 you spent, depending on how you use them.

If you’ve never done it before, making a successful BRG claim isn’t that hard. I’m one for one, and it was easy, completely painless, and done in 12 hours. The hard part is finding one, but sites like Kayak make it so much easier.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re booking at a Westin and booking online, it’s probably better to book through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall instead of Big Crumbs. Using an SPG Amex at the Ultimate Rewards Mall should work, but there is a risk. I personally value 2 ultimate rewards points higher than the 2.1% cash back from Big Crumbs, but to each his own.

Also, if you don’t have the SPG Amex, you can use the Chase Freedom card for 5x points or the Sapphire Card for 2.14x points.

Once again, this shows that putting a little bit of thought into your travel can allow you to get a lot more for your dollar!

If I missed any SPG promotions or if you have other tips, please let me know!

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