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Q: I have a Starwood American Express card, and I am looking to renew my reward points on an upcoming hotel stay.
Which hotels can I use these for? Am I limited by annoying restrictions or blackout dates?
A: Many credit card companies offer the chance to save money on hotel stays by allowing consumers to use points that have been accumulated through purchases. However, when it comes time to redeem those points, the consumer may find that the choice of hotels is severely limited.
These include national and international chains such as Sheraton®, which also includes the Four Points ® by Sheraton, and Westin®, as well as others such as St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Element(SM), and Aloft(SM). With so many to choose from, users who have a particular hotel property that they prefer should have no trouble finding one that suits their needs.
Not only do Starwood American Express card users have many hotel choices, they can start redeeming points for free hotel nights after they have accumulated 1,500 Starpoints. This is a cash and points combination; however, users will see some savings.
In addition, the hotel stays that are paid for using Starpoints or cash and Starpoints are not subject to “blackout” dates. Users don’t have to worry about not being able to travel on holidays or at peak times of the year because the hotels won’t accept these rewards points.
Update: September 23, 2016
Marriott closed on its merger with Starwood on September 23, 2016. And the news for now is that there will be no change to either rewards program or rewards credit card through 2017.
Not only do you get to enjoy your current rewards program until 2018, you also get some additional perks out of the merger.
- Keep Accounts and Points: You will be able to maintain your current accounts with both Starwood and Marriott. You also will retain all your Starpoints and Marriott Rewards points.
- Link Accounts: You will be able to link your existing Starwood and Marriott loyalty accounts.
- Status Match: You will have your highest status with either program honored at all Starwood and Marriott hotels.
- Points Transfer: You can earn points in one program and then transfer them to the other. Three Marriott Rewards points will equal one SPG Starpoint, and vice versa.
- Keep Your Rewards Card: Both the Starwood Preferred Guest Card and the Marriott Rewards Premier Card will remain active.
- More Choices: You will have more choices to choose from, as you can now stay at any Marriott and Starwood properties (including Ritz-Carlton hotels).