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SPG 5th Night Free Award

One of my favorite features of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program is the “SPG 5th Night Free”for award redemptions. This is a standard feature of their rewards program and makes a great way to increase the value of your Starpoints. In fact, if you are considering booking a 3 or 4 night stay, this could be an easy way to extending your stay at little to no additional cost in terms of points.

The free night award only applies to hotel categories 3-7. I assume that categories 1-2 are so cheap at only 2,000 – 4,000 Starpoints per award night that these hotels simply don’t want to discount their award nights even further. You see more details about the redeem four nights, get the fifth night free on Stawood’s website. The point values required for a 5-night stay are listed below.

Category Points Per Night
3 28,000 5,600
4 40,000 8,000
5 48,000-64,000 9,600-12,800
6 80,000-100,000 16,000-20,000
7 120,000-140,000 24,000-28,000

Let me give you an example of a recent redemption I made for the Sheraton Maui over the holidays. I am planning a trip to Maui over Christmas and knowing that this is peak season (or getting very close to it), I always check award availability at the Westin Ka’anapali and Sheraton Maui to see if there are any rooms available for Starpoint redemptions. Knowing full well that these hotels are likely at high occupancy, I did it just out of curiosity.

When I did a search for 5 nights from Dec 19 – 25, 2013 on Starwood’s site, they quoted me either $612/nt, or 12,000 points per night for a free award stay. The Sheraton Maui is a category 5 hotel, which in this case would cost me 12,000 x 5 nights or 60,000 Starpoints.

Starwood 5th night free

Sheraton Maui Award Search

When I click on the “Reserve” button to book with points, I get the following screen.

SPG Redeem 4 Nights

As you can see, the number of points required per night has fallen to only 10,000 points per night. Hence, I am now paying only 50,000 Starpoints instead of the 60,000 that I calculated earlier based on the hotel category.

Obviously, this is a tremendous redemption value. I normally value Starpoints at 2.5 cents/point. If you consider that the hotel is at high occupancy and the rate you would normally have to pay would be $612 (rack rate), then you are getting over 6 cents/point! That is simply amazing, and illustrates how valuable the SPG program is, even after their recent devaluation earlier this year.

Bottom Line

The SPG 5th Night Free feature is one of my favorite elements of the SPG program. This feature can greatly expand the value of your Starpoints, and should be considered whenever you are making an SPG award booking. When redeeming points for a vacation you should always be thinking about booking a 5-night stay, especially if you are already searching for 3 or 4 nights. In some cases extending your stay can be done at little to no cost.

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