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UPDATE: The Starwood American Express credit card offers in this post are no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!
Starwood points are great to use for award stays at luxury hotels.
But there are some excellent mid-range hotels all over the world where you can get longer award stays for fewer points.
I’ll show you my favorites to spark your imagination!
About the AMEX Starwood Cards
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Apply before September 14, 2015, to earn an increased bonus on both AMEX Starwood cards. You’ll get:
- 30,000 Starwood points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (personal card), or
- 30,000 Starwood points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (small business card)
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels)
- 1X Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
- Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding in-flight)
- For small business cardholders, access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) for cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd party bookings are excluded).
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- $95 annual fee, waived for the 1st year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Terms & limitations apply
Note: American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on their personal cards. But you CAN get the bonus again on business cards if you haven’t held the card for at least 12 months.
Starwood Category 1 and 2 Hotels for Longer Award Stays
There’s a sweet spot on the Starwood award chart.
With the limited-time sign-up bonus of 30,000 Starwood points on the AMEX Starwood (personal and small business) cards until September 14, 2015, you can get:
- 10 award nights at Starwood Category 1 hotels during the week (Sunday to Thursday)
- 15 award nights at Starwood Category 1 hotels during the weekend (Friday and Saturday)
- 7 award nights at Starwood Category 2 hotels during the week (Sunday to Thursday)
- 10 award nights at Starwood Category 2 hotels during the weekend (Friday and Saturday)
You can stay over a weekend and into the week. In that case, you’ll pay the total price for each night.
For example, if you stay for 3 award nights (check-in Thursday and check-out Sunday) at a Starwood Category 1 hotel, you’ll pay 7,000 Starwood points (3,000 Starwood points for 1 weekday award night + 4,000 Starwood points for 2 weekend award nights).
You can easily get an entire week of award nights at Starwood Category 1 or 2 hotels with 30,000 Starwood points!
These Starwood Hotels Make Great Award Stays!
Note: Prices in these examples are based on travel in October 2015 (unless noted), and include 2 weekend nights (Friday and Saturday) and 5 days during the week (Sunday through Thursday).
1. Four Points by Sheraton Puntacana Village, Dominican Republic
You can take a free shuttle bus to world-class golf courses and 5 miles of private beach (including Playa Blanca). Or you can drive to Santo Domingo on the nearby Coral Highway.
Be sure to read about how to get deals on golf and other sports with your cards!
A week here costs 19,000 Starwood points or ~$895. So you can save a lot of money by redeeming your Starwood points!
The hotel also has its own pool, so you can relax there, too.
Temperatures are in the 80s throughout the winter in the Dominican Republic, so this hotel would make a great mid-winter getaway!
2. Aloft Cancun
Aloft Cancun is a Starwood Category 2 hotel located at the end of the Hotel Zone. So you’ll be near the action, but not right in the middle of it!
A week costs ~$648 after taxes and fees, or 26,000 Starwood points.
This hotel would make a great choice if you want to explore the local beaches and have quiet time in the evenings. And the beautiful water in Cancun can’t be beat!
3. Four Points by Sheraton Medellin, Colombia
The hotel is a ~1 minute walk from Oviedo Mall, which features ~100 shops and 3 movie theaters. There are also lots of restaurants in the area, so you can try delicious Colombian food!
A week here in October costs ~$748, or 26,000 Starwood points.
4. The Westin Zagreb, Croatia
The Westin Zagreb is located in the city center, and is easy walking distance to Central Square, markets, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and lots of cultural attractions. Zagreb is a popular tourist destination in Croatia, as well as the largest city and the capital.
Emily loved her visit to Croatia and said it was 1 of her favorite places!
A week’s stay at this Starwood Category 2 hotel costs ~$855 or 26,000 Starwood points.
5. Le Meridien Angkor, Cambodia
This 1 in particular is a bargain because Le Meridien is 1 of Starwood’s luxury hotel chains!
If you stay here, be sure to visit Ankgor Wat, an ancient temple filled with scriptures and art. There are also markets and pubs, as well as archaeological attractions in the area. So you’ll have lots to do in Siem Reap!
This is a Starwood Category 2 hotel, so a 7-day stay costs 26,000 Starwood points. If you paid, it would cost ~$814.
6. Sheraton Miyako Hotel Osaka
Another Starwood Category 2 hotel, the Sheraton Miyako Hotel Osaka is located in the Uemachi Plateau neighborhood. It’s near the Shitennoji Temple, the oldest temple in Japan, as well as shrines and other cultural monuments.
You’ll be near public transportation that can take you all around the city.
And this hotel is a great use of Starwood points. A 7-night stay in December would cost ~$1,111 if you paid cash. Or you could use 26,000 Starwood points. It’s definitely a good use of your points!
This is a popular hotel that tends to fill up, so be sure to check your dates!
7. Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna, Egypt
Egypt has lots of gorgeous resorts that make great getaways, including the Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna, on the Red Sea. It’s a Starwood Category 2 hotel, so it costs 26,000 Starwood points for a week-long award stay.
But you might not want to leave!
You’ll have a private beach, a children’s pool, and a hotel bar for drinks by the water.
In this case, you’d save ~$485 by redeeming your Starwood points.
This hotel has ~1,500 reviews on TripAdvisor and is highly recommended.
With the current sign-up bonus of 30,000 Starwood points on the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (personal and small business), it’s possible to get over a week of award nights at Starwood Category 1 and Category 2 hotels.
I haven’t personally stayed at these hotels, but they all look like terrific deals! Are there any you’d add to the list?