Ok, Ok, I admit it. I’m a little tight with the dollar. Particularly when I know something can be had at a better price if I wait them out. The cash and points redemption from Starwood is a perfect example.
When I started planning this around the world trip, I located all the Starwood Hotels in the places I planned to stay. In Bangkok there is a hotel called the Plaza Athenee which suits our needs just fine. It is a category 3 Starwood property and my choices for payment were:
- 5,600 Thai Bahts or $161 US or
- 7,000 Starwood points or
- 2,800 Starwood points and $45 US (cash and points)
When I was assured of the dates for Bangkok, I went back to book it, there was no cash and points option? The dilemmas we face in life.
After 60 days of waiting Starwood out, the cash and miles option showed up again last night and I booked our room.
The math is as follows:
If I paid 7,000 Starwood points for the room, I would be receiving 2.3 cents of value for each Starwood point.
But, by using the cash and points option my 2,800 Starwood points redeemed were worth:
$161 minus $45 co pay left $116 divided by 2,800 or a value of 4.1 cents per Starpoint
That is not quite twice the redemption value of a straight points redemption, but well worth the wait to me.
Of our 61 nights on this Around the World adventure, 28 are booked with Starwood hotels and every redemption is with the cash and points option.
I guess I am as tight with Starpoints, as I am with cash.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49