SPG rewards....sucks?

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fittan
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SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by fittan » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:51 am

Apologize in advance as it is a bit of a rant....everyone is talking about how valuable SPG rewards are (i.e. 2.7 cent per point). But when I try to redeem my 30K points, I feel that all the planets have to align before I find a hotel that I want.

My first issue is with the "value" of the rewards. A lot of the redemption are worth less than 2 cent. For example a hotel could be listed at $200 (tax included) and requires 12K SPG points. Obviously it is a bad redemption....and I find most of the listing are like that. Once in a blue moon, I will see one listed for $350 that requires 10K points (very good value). Point is....the points rewards are all over the place and requires serious math computation and excel spreadsheets to accomplish anything.

The seconds issues is that, assuming all the stars aligned, and I found the hotel I want at a good redemption. It is only for "base" or "traditional" rooms. If you scroll down to browse for room with city view or perhaps suite, the option to pay with points is removed. In a nutshell, you can only reserve a "standard" room.

Rant complete....am I the only one facing these issues?

Dottie57
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:54 am

Help me out. What is SPG?

HornedToad
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by HornedToad » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:58 am

If you are using the points to book rooms at low tier hotels in off season then you aren't going to get the valuation people assign to it. What SPG is great at is flexibility for airline transfers, no black out dates and stay 4 nights and 5th night is free.

If you use the points in Europe you don't have to pay VAT. If you need more airline miles transfer 20k points for 25k miles. If you have alot more than 30k points then transfer at 3:1 to Marriott and buy a flights and nights package for Marriott tiers and LOTS of Airfline miles.

The points are all for the base rooms. You can generally pay to upgrade at checkin, or if platinum member try to do a suite night aware upgrade to be upgraded to a suite.

You also don't have to use the points with the Marriott merger, they will transfer 3:1 to Marrriott and that might better align with your travel preferences.

Here's the new chart after August 18th for the combined SPG/Marriott hotels: https://points-redemption.marriott.com/category-change

HornedToad
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by HornedToad » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:58 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:54 am
Help me out. What is SPG?
Starwood Preferred Guest

Broken Man 1999
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:00 pm

Is SPG Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program?

If so, seems I read somewhere the company was acquired recently, and I saw some unhappy remarks concerning the rewards program changes.

Broken Man 1999
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GAAP
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by GAAP » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:09 pm

I never got any value out of SPG -- never able to actually use those points.

Now that Marriott has acquired them and is merging the accounts, you might get some value. To my eyes, the merged programs are better for SPG people and devalue the Marriott Rewards people.

TomCat96
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by TomCat96 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:17 pm

fittan wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:51 am
Apologize in advance as it is a bit of a rant....everyone is talking about how valuable SPG rewards are (i.e. 2.7 cent per point). But when I try to redeem my 30K points, I feel that all the planets have to align before I find a hotel that I want.

My first issue is with the "value" of the rewards. A lot of the redemption are worth less than 2 cent. For example a hotel could be listed at $200 (tax included) and requires 12K SPG points. Obviously it is a bad redemption....and I find most of the listing are like that. Once in a blue moon, I will see one listed for $350 that requires 10K points (very good value). Point is....the points rewards are all over the place and requires serious math computation and excel spreadsheets to accomplish anything.

The seconds issues is that, assuming all the stars aligned, and I found the hotel I want at a good redemption. It is only for "base" or "traditional" rooms. If you scroll down to browse for room with city view or perhaps suite, the option to pay with points is removed. In a nutshell, you can only reserve a "standard" room.

Rant complete....am I the only one facing these issues?
You're absolutely right. It's not easy to extract 2 cents per point. There's always some trick that needs to be done.
In my case, I found that staying at a lower tier SPG hotel during a conference or convention was usually a way to get value.

The high demand of visitors for a convention or conference causes a spike in the price of a stay per night.
However, SPG point usage is based on tier and not necessarily demand. With the no blackout dates, you should be able to book while saving yourself the expense of paying for a hotel during a busy season.

In practice however, I have found the no blackout dates has not been as robust in allowing me to find a room as I would have liked.

THY4373
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by THY4373 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:38 pm

GAAP wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:09 pm
To my eyes, the merged programs are better for SPG people and devalue the Marriott Rewards people.
I would argue it is way more nuanced than that. Those who principally earned their SPG points by credit card spend are taking a a huge hit (especially for airline redemptions). Marriott CC spenders are doing better going from 1x MR to 2x MR. For those who are doing butt in bed points yeah probably an improvement for SPG though many would argue Marriott folks gain access to a lot of better properties. Essentially I would say it is YMMV. Sad to sock draw my two SPG cards.
Last edited by THY4373 on Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Freefun
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by Freefun » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:02 pm

Marriott travel packages are great value IMHO and used my SPG points for them.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

GAAP
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by GAAP » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:23 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:38 pm
GAAP wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:09 pm
To my eyes, the merged programs are better for SPG people and devalue the Marriott Rewards people.
I would argue it is way more nuanced than that. Those who principally earned their SPG points by credit card spend are taking a a huge hit (especially for airline redemptions). Marriott CC spenders are doing better going from 1x MR to 2x MR. For those who are doing butt in bed points yeah probably an improvement for SPG though many would argue Marriott folks gain access to a lot of better properties. Essentially I would say it is YMMV. Sad to sock draw my two SPG cards.
Funny, I've had a lot more luck with Marriott properties -- probably depends on where you travel.

I care a lot more about "butt in bed" travelers for any loyalty program (hotel/airline/auto). I don't like any program parts that place more importance on credit card spend than actually using the properties -- it effectively puts the occasional traveler's needs above the needs of the people that have to live with it.

theplayer11
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by theplayer11 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:57 pm

stay 4 nights, 5th free for Germany and Switzerland worked out great for us the last few years.
I don't consider 12k for a $200 hotel bad value...churn em and burn em..

Jags4186
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:22 pm

Starpoints were incredibly valuable because of the flexibility they provided. Now they're Marriott points which also are very good, you just need roughly 3x of them to do similar things. Fortunately it's much easier to earn Marriott points than Starpoints.

All the hotel points systems provide roughly equal value when it comes to [total required for a good redemption] / [ease of earning points via paid stays]

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sperry8
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by sperry8 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 pm

fittan wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:51 am
Apologize in advance as it is a bit of a rant....everyone is talking about how valuable SPG rewards are (i.e. 2.7 cent per point). But when I try to redeem my 30K points, I feel that all the planets have to align before I find a hotel that I want.

My first issue is with the "value" of the rewards. A lot of the redemption are worth less than 2 cent. For example a hotel could be listed at $200 (tax included) and requires 12K SPG points. Obviously it is a bad redemption....and I find most of the listing are like that. Once in a blue moon, I will see one listed for $350 that requires 10K points (very good value). Point is....the points rewards are all over the place and requires serious math computation and excel spreadsheets to accomplish anything.

The seconds issues is that, assuming all the stars aligned, and I found the hotel I want at a good redemption. It is only for "base" or "traditional" rooms. If you scroll down to browse for room with city view or perhaps suite, the option to pay with points is removed. In a nutshell, you can only reserve a "standard" room.

Rant complete....am I the only one facing these issues?
I get at least 2.7 cents per - usually over 3 cents. You are correct that only base rooms are reservable via points, however for those with status, they are often upgraded to much better rooms, including suites. To get the optimal amount of points redemption, you would want to utilize their book 4 get the 5th night free or their Cash & points option. Note that C&P is not always available at all hotels.
Another trick is to check just "some" of the dates you are staying... perhaps paying cash for one of the cheaper nights and using points for one of the nights that are more expensive, for example. Most people search all the nights they are staying in one fell swoop and are shown a blended rate (that does not always average properly). Creating your own personal cash and points stay can help you optimize returns.

Note of course that the highest rates depend on where you stay. Sometimes the highest returns re garnered at the lowest end properties (not the highest). So check many properties in be flexible with cities. >3 cents per can generally be attained... although post Aug 18 (when the merger occurs) redemption #'s remain to be seen.
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fujiters
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by fujiters » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 am

Like Chase Ultimate Rewards, a lot of the value of these points is that they can be transferred 1:1 (or better) into other programs. For example, I've used SPG points to top off my American Airlines account so that I had enough to book a flight.

For me, I tend to use Airbnb when I travel, so using hotel points for hotels is pretty rare (occasionally I'll use them to extend a work trip, or get a hotel for an overnight layover).
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fittan
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by fittan » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:41 am

argghhhhh....i really cannot stand it any more! I just found a hotel I like with good value. For example, Sheraton Brooklyn, market rate is $370 and it cost only 10K points (awesome!) but when I click on it....it shows all the options to pay EXCEPT there is no option to pay with points.

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gunn_show
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by gunn_show » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:11 pm

fittan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:41 am
argghhhhh....i really cannot stand it any more! I just found a hotel I like with good value. For example, Sheraton Brooklyn, market rate is $370 and it cost only 10K points (awesome!) but when I click on it....it shows all the options to pay EXCEPT there is no option to pay with points.
as with any hotel program, they only allow so many "free nights" per hotel per night. so I assume you are ranting about stays that are in a couple weeks or a month or two away? can you confirm that? If so.. then yeah, that sounds about normal. most of these Marriott/SPG hotels are not owned by the brand, they are owned individually or in syndicates and Marriott/SPG manages the property. so they cannot afford to have 80% of rooms booked on a holiday weekend be free on points. they only block so many for redemptions, and once gone, they're gone. get it?

FWIW I just used 80000 points to book Westin Ka'anapali ocean resort villas in Maui for late sept/early oct without a problem (booked 2 days ago, less than 2 months out, I am pretty pleased this was available)(likewise the Marriott vacation club lahaina was not allowing any more points redemption). Base room, but it is an all-suites resort and I am a platinum member and will hope to get an upgrade when I get there, and if not, no big deal, I am not going to Maui to sit in my room and stare at the wallpaper. I wanted a prime hotel, in prime location, free on points, and I got it. Gotta search to find the deals available.

the biggest issues with travel rewards and points.. has to do with end user expectations. sounds like perhaps your expectations are not realistic. good luck.

I would also call the SPG hotline and talk to a rep, sometimes if you are nice and play the game, they can find things for you..
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

HornedToad
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by HornedToad » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:19 pm

fittan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:41 am
argghhhhh....i really cannot stand it any more! I just found a hotel I like with good value. For example, Sheraton Brooklyn, market rate is $370 and it cost only 10K points (awesome!) but when I click on it....it shows all the options to pay EXCEPT there is no option to pay with points.
I think that means they are out of base rooms. SPG doesn't use blackout dates or limit number of awards for basic rooms, but if there is no base rooms left then you can't use points.

THY4373
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by THY4373 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:48 am

GAAP wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:23 pm

Funny, I've had a lot more luck with Marriott properties -- probably depends on where you travel.

I care a lot more about "butt in bed" travelers for any loyalty program (hotel/airline/auto). I don't like any program parts that place more importance on credit card spend than actually using the properties -- it effectively puts the occasional traveler's needs above the needs of the people that have to live with it.
Most of my SPG redemption were to airlines the only exception I can think of was Siem Reap, Cambodia a couple of years ago (where I got a great 5.6 cents of value per SPG point--I keep records of all my redemptions). I have never found any decent Marriott rewards (decent is something that would net me better than 2% CB on credit card spend) other than the travel packages (via SPG) and again those were largely for the airline points with the travel cert being a profitable add-on even if I couldn't use all seven nights. To me airline points are far more valuable than hotel points. I travel many places with no chain hotels and while there are generally only a few options to travel in F/J class between two points there are 100s to 1000s of places to stay, local hotels, AirBnB, real BnBs, VRBO, chain hotels, etc. And many ways to get discounts (it is pretty trivial to get 15-20% discounts on hotel.com GCs), Citi Prestige 4th night free, etc. Basically I see the lodging market as vastly more competitive than the airline market so I am more than happy to play a free agent there more or less (I get a lot of value out of Hilton so I am loyal to them when it makes sense).

I totally understand why you would prefer butt in bed get priority and I understand why Marriott did that. However for me my six figures in spend on the SPG cards will now move entirely to other programs because 2x MR is just not worth it for me nor is the Marriott elite status I would gain after 75k in spend on certain cards.

Skierajs
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by Skierajs » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:01 am

If you rack up 90k-120k SPG points you can get the best value staying 5 nights (stay 4 nights get 5th free) at very high end hotels. Look at St Regis (Starwood) or Ritz Carlton (Marriott) or Luxury Collection hotels in Europe such as the Hotel Danieli in Venice. The points transfer to Marriott at 1 SPG = 3 Marriott.

The program is changing for the worse soon though so we’re probably in the final few months of no-blackout reasonable redemptions.

fittan
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by fittan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:11 am

thanks to everyone that replied....I think I have a better understanding now. It does take some "homework" to squeeze out the best redemption value. The points required for a particular hotel doesn't change with demand/season. For example a category 5 in NY cost 14K points. If the market rate is $140/night then it is only a $0.01 redemption which is poor. But if there's a convention in NY and that same hotel costs $420 now, then it would be a $0.03 redemption which is good.

I have churn rewards points from Chase UR and Citi points in the past and they were easy to redeem with good value. My experience with SPG thus far is that it is over-rated.

In addition, the fact that you can't book anything other than a "base" room is really annoying. I would hate to check in to a room in NY and face a brick wall. I wouldn't mind to pay more SPG points to get a room with a view or a suite etc. However if using points, you are limited. Of course you can take your chance and request during check in, but as you know there's no guarantee.

alfaspider
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by alfaspider » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:59 am

Keep in mind that SPG is being merged with Mariott rewards at the end of next week, so this program is effectively dead.

THY4373
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by THY4373 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:54 am

fittan wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:11 am
thanks to everyone that replied....I think I have a better understanding now. It does take some "homework" to squeeze out the best redemption value. The points required for a particular hotel doesn't change with demand/season. For example a category 5 in NY cost 14K points. If the market rate is $140/night then it is only a $0.01 redemption which is poor. But if there's a convention in NY and that same hotel costs $420 now, then it would be a $0.03 redemption which is good.

I have churn rewards points from Chase UR and Citi points in the past and they were easy to redeem with good value. My experience with SPG thus far is that it is over-rated.

In addition, the fact that you can't book anything other than a "base" room is really annoying. I would hate to check in to a room in NY and face a brick wall. I wouldn't mind to pay more SPG points to get a room with a view or a suite etc. However if using points, you are limited. Of course you can take your chance and request during check in, but as you know there's no guarantee.
Keep in mind SPG as we know it is dead come 8/18. So much of what is discussed here won't be valid after then or after 1/1/19 when further changes are introduced. Also some other programs such as Hilton allow you to use points on higher level rooms but the rates are awful so you are generally (with very, very rare exceptions) getting a horrible value for your points. Generally if you want to buy an upgraded room you are better off booking the base room and then contacting the hotel about paying cash to upgrade. This can often be pretty reasonable. That doesn't help of course if there are no base rooms to be had in the first place though.

BeneIRA
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by BeneIRA » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:13 pm

The love affair with SPG points always baffled me, too. The actual redemptions at SPG hotels never seemed worth it and I always ended up transferring them to airline programs. I still have some that have been sitting around for a while and I will probably end up using them at a Marriott at some point. If you travel in economy lik I do, getting 2.7 cents per point just won’t happen.

THY4373
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by THY4373 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:06 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:13 pm
The love affair with SPG points always baffled me, too. The actual redemptions at SPG hotels never seemed worth it and I always ended up transferring them to airline programs. I still have some that have been sitting around for a while and I will probably end up using them at a Marriott at some point. If you travel in economy lik I do, getting 2.7 cents per point just won’t happen.
SPG was great for gaining access to airlines you couldn't otherwise easily earn miles in and which have sweet spots for redemptions. The Marriott travel packages were also a great way to gain extra value. That said if you are going to travel in economy I don't see anything other than churning signup bonuses as being worth the hassle. To really get value you need to be willing to put the time in to understand the ins and outs of a great manly programs. For most folks it isn't worth the hassle but I enjoy it.

killjoy2012
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Re: SPG rewards....sucks?

Post by killjoy2012 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:44 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:06 pm
SPG was great for gaining access to airlines you couldn't otherwise easily earn miles in and which have sweet spots for redemptions. The Marriott travel packages were also a great way to gain extra value. That said if you are going to travel in economy I don't see anything other than churning signup bonuses as being worth the hassle. To really get value you need to be willing to put the time in to understand the ins and outs of a great manly programs. For most folks it isn't worth the hassle but I enjoy it.
Agree. I valued SPG points highly since it's one of the rare point ecosystems that could be used/transferred to Delta Airlines. And it also allowed booking Westin hotels, which are often very nice and well located, esp in Europe.

That said, SPG points were much harder to earn than others. Sometimes to the point of not being worth the chase. And once it combined with Marriott, while I haven't personally had to deal with them since then, the program was devalued.

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