Update: This offer for the Starwood AMEX cards is no longer available but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!
Starwood’s 5th night free benefit is a great way to stretch your Starwood points for longer award stays at Starwood hotels. You can use fewer Starwood points to cover the cost of a 5 or 10-night stay, so you’ll save even more money!
The current sign-up bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express personal and small business cards is 35,000 Starwood points after completing the minimum spending requirements. It’s the highest offer for these cards I’ve ever seen!
That’s enough for a 5-night stay at Starwood Category 3 hotels! And if you want to extend your vacation even longer, you can use your Starwood points and the 5th night free perk for 10-night award stays! With no money!
Maybe you want to escape to the beach or discover a new city? You can get a 10-night stay for free with your Starwood points! I’ll show you how!
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 March 30, 2016, to earn the increased bonus on both cards. You’ll get:
- 35,000 Starwood points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (personal card), OR
- 35,000 Starwood points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (small business card)
- 2 points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Westin, and W brand hotels)
- 1 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 ALL their cards.
About the 5th Night Free Perk
Starwood’s 5th night free benefit applies to Starwood Category 3 through 7 hotels. Starwood Preferred Guest hotels include Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Westin, and W brand hotels
You must book consecutive award nights to get the 5th night free. And if you make 2 back-to-back 5-night reservations, you can ALSO stay for 10 nights and get 2 of them free!
The points cost is averaged across all nights, so for a Category 4 hotel that costs 10,000 Starwood points per night, like The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, you’ll pay 8,000 Starwood points per night for a 5-night stay. For a total of 40,000 points.
A 10-night stay would still cost 8,000 Starwood points per night, for a total of 80,000 points. That’s because you can stay for 10 nights and get 2 of them free with this benefit!
And you do NOT need elite status with Starwood to take advantage of this perk. Anyone can book their 5th and 10th night free!
How To Get Enough Starwood Points for 10 Free Nights
Remember, Starwood’s 5th night free benefit only applies to Starwood Category 3 through 7 hotels.
At a minimum, a 10-night stay will cost you 56,000 Starwood points. That’s because you’ll get the 5th and 10th night free with this benefit.
Category 3 hotels cost 7,000 Starwood points per night. But if you’re using the 5th night free perk, the cost is averaged across all nights. That brings the cost to 5,600 points per night or 56,000 points for 10 nights.
The AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest personal and small business cards now offer 35,000 Starwood points after completing the minimum spending requirements.
So, how can you earn enough points for 10 free nights if the card’s bonus is only 35,000 Starwood points?
A Few Ways to Earn More Starwood Points
1. Put More of Your Spending on the Card
One way to earn more Starwood points is to spend more using your AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card. Remember, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels and 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else.
A Trusted Family Member or Friend Can Help
Need help meeting the minimum spending requirement and/or increasing spending on the card? Get an authorized user card to give to your trusted partner. Even if she or he is NOT a miles & points hobbyist, it’s easy to explain, “Please use this purple card for everything these next few months.” 🙂
I’ve also written about 40 ways to complete minimum spending requirements. You can use these tips to help you spend more to earn more points too!
2. Sign-Up for Both Cards
Another way to earn enough Starwood points for a free 10-night stay is to sign up for BOTH AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest cards.
Remember, American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on ALL their cards. So if you’ve never had either of these cards, now could be a great time to sign-up for both of them.
I’ve heard it’s possible to get both cards on the same day too, but your 2nd application might get delayed or go to reconsideration. Also, American Express won’t usually approve more than 2 cards in 90 days.
You’ll Earn at Least 78,000 Starwood Points With Both Cards
If you’re able to apply for both cards, you’ll have at least 38,000 Starwood points from the personal card AND 40,000 Starwood points from the small business card after completing the minimum spending requirements. Because you also earn points from the minimum spending requirement.
For example, with the Starwood Preferred Guest small business card you’ll have to spend $5,000 to get the 35,000 Starwood point bonus. Because the Starwood card gives you at least 1 point per $1 you spend, you’ll earn another 5,000 Starwood points. For a total of 40,000 Starwood points to use!
With the Starwood Preferred Guest personal card you’ll only have to spend $3,000 to get the 35,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus. So you’ll earn another 3,000 Starwood points, for a total of 38,000 Starwood points.
You’ll have 78,000 Starwood points to use if you sign up for both cards! That’s enough for 10 free nights at a Category 3 hotel (56,000 Starwood points). And only 2,000 points shy of the 80,000 Starwood points you’d need for a 10-night stay at a Category 4 hotel using the 5th night free benefit!
3. Combine Starwood Points With Your Partner or Family Member
Friends and family who have been living at the same address for the last 30 days can combine their Starwood points for free!
Do you have a trip planned with someone who lives with you? That person can get her or his own Starwood card and you can combine points into 1 account.
This tip could also be useful if you have, say, 20,000 Starwood points left in your account and your partner earns 38,000 points with the new card offer. Now combine your points, and you’ll have enough for a free 10-night stay at a Category 3 hotel!
Ideas for 10-Night Award Stays With No Money!
1. The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta
A Category 3 hotel, the Westin Resort & Spa is a fantastic beachfront hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
It gets great reviews on TripAdvisor. Travelers love its beautiful grounds and excellent staff.
Rooms in July 2016 cost ~$134 per night after taxes. For a 10-night stay, you’d pay 5,600 Starwood points per night, for a total of 56,000 Starwood points.
2. Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
Another great Category 3 hotel is the Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal. This could be a great option if you’re planning a trip to Spain!
It gets almost all 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor because of its convenient location, modern rooms, and helpful staff.
Nights here in July 2016 cost ~104 euros (~$117) per night after taxes, or 5,600 Starwood points when using the 5th night free benefit.
So, you could spend $1,170 for a 10-night stay OR get 10 nights FREE with 56,000 Starwood points!
3. The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver
The hotel is just steps away from the world-famous seawall too! It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a stroll or bike ride.
Nights here cost 10,000 Starwood points, but using the 5th night free benefit brings the cost to 8,000 points per night.
So for a 10-night stay, it will cost you 80,000 Starwood points (8,000 points per night X 10 nights).
If you paid cash for the same room, it would cost ~554 Canadian dollars (~$426) per night (after taxes) in July 2016.
A 10-night stay would cost a whopping ~$4,260! Using your Starwood points here is definitely getting Big Travel with Small Money!
4. The Westin Cape Town
It can be expensive to travel to South Africa, so saving money on your hotel room is a good way to keep costs down! The Westin Cape Town is a good option for a Category 4 hotel in the city.
Nights here in July 2016 cost ~2,349 South African Rand (~$155) per night after taxes. A 10-night stay would cost over $1,500!
Using your Starwood points here would cost 80,000 points for a 10-night stay (8,000 points per night).
You can use your Starwood points to get 10 nights FREE at Starwood hotels using the 5th night free perk.
That’s because you can stay for 10 nights and get 2 of them free using this benefit when booking 2 consecutive 5-night stays back to back!
You’ll need a minimum of 56,000 Starwood points for a 10-night stay at a Category 3 hotel. And there are a couple of ways to earn enough Starwood points for your trip. Like adding spending by an authorized user to your card or signing-up for both the personal and small business card.
Starwood’s 5th night free perk is a great way to stretch your Starwood points for longer stays and more award nights!