Yes, SPG Cash and Points Rates Are More Available

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It looks like Lucky and I have come to the same conclusion… Starwood Cash and Points reservations are now more available than they were before the cash and points award chart was changed yesterday.  I spent a unhealthy healthy amount of time playing with cash and points reservations in the days and weeks leading up to the award chart change, so there are some properties that I am pretty familiar with in terms of availability.  I locked in all the cash and points reservations I could before the change, but there were some properties I was interested in that just didn’t have much, if any, cash and points availability.  I can’t say that has changed across the board (in the 36 hours since the award chart change), but it is much better for several of the properties that I routinely check.

Here are a few of the examples that I have been keeping an eye on that previously had no or very limited cash and points availability, but now are much improved:

Westin Whistler Resort and Spa (during ski season): 6,000 SPG points + $110 per night

Walt Disney World Swan (Westin) & Dolphin (Sheraton): 5,000 SPG points + $75

Westin Beaver Creek Resort & Spa (during ski season): 6,000 SPG points + $110 per night

The Liberty Hotel in Boston: 6,000 SPG points + $110 per night

W New York: 10,000 SPG points + $180 per night

Of course some of the properties that are now both higher in category and higher in cash and points price may not be a great deal even if they are available, but I am happy to see some tangible improvement in cash and points availability.  I am not swimming in SPG points, so cash and points reservations help me to stretch my points out further by supplementing with cash.  I am personally really eyeing the Westin Whistler resort during ski season.  Rooms are often close to $500 per night, and can go for as many as 16,000 SPG points per night during peak season, so 6,000 SPG points + $110 per night seems a lot more realistic!

If you want to get a quick overview of availability for a specific property, then check a date for cash and points availability, then select “Browse dates/rates”.  Then select “Cash and Points availability”.  This will show you a good overview of availability.

Have you found cash and points availability to be any better for the properties you are interested in?  If you are curious, there is also a thread on Flyertalk that is pointing out some properties that have increased cash and points availability.  I hate that these type of awards are more expensive than they used to be, but if they indeed continue to become more available than they were before, then it isn’t such a bad change overall.

 

 

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  1. I’m seeing the EXACT OPPOSITE as you in regards to the Westin Riverfront. I’ve been eying that property for the last few months on C&P and actually got a booking in for the 14th of Dec on the old rate. Now there’s zero availability. However, the free nights availability went up in 2014 for the Villas. The sheraton about a block away has the same availability as it has the past 2 months for anytime after March ’13.

  2. Gabriel, weird. That screen shot in the post is the availability for Westin Riverfront in Beaver Creek. As you can see, most of the months shown are yellow (available) on cash and points. I am seeing great availability there. Not every single day, but much more than I saw before the new rates took effect – especially during ski season.

  3. I agree that Westin Whistler availability is much improved; they rarely offered cash and points during ski season before the change. I’m now seeing C+P availability for some April weekends that were not open on March 4th. 6,000 points and $110 is a very good deal during ski season.

    Beware that you’ll pay extra for the mandatory ski valet, and parking is around $30/night.

    I’ve found the Westin Whistler very convenient for short family stays since it’s right in the village and only 100 yards from the Whistler gondola. Ski school is about 50 yards away, and there is a day care in the Westin. We don’t eat in the restaurant often but I remember the breakfast buffet being toddler-friendly.

    Getting the upgrade to a 1BR is a big help when traveling with a kid; the basic studio unit would be awkward. I’m 5/5 on upgrades as a Platinum but we don’t go during the busiest holiday times. Even the 1BR rooms at the Westin aren’t all that big (around 510 sqft) so for a long stay or a bigger family gathering I might look elsewhere.

  4. I booked Westin Grand Central Terminal, previously unavailable on Cash & Points, for $110 plus 6,000 Starpoints for two nights in early May. That saved me a ton. I’m happy. By the way, my redemption rate was 6.61 cents/point.

  5. Mike, I booked a few nights there during relatively peak ski season for next year, just in case the availability changes. 😉 I’ll likely try to confirm an upgrade ahead of time with some extra cash outlay. We’ll see.
    Andrew, good job!

  6. Westin Grand Central now shows no Cash and Points availability except for a few single nights this month. And no other Cat 5 property in Manhattan offers it for any night in the next year. That could change, but I’m not holding my breath.

  7. When I checked yesterday both Element and Westin GC had c&p. Element went quick but I got a night at Westin so mom is getting a night in NY!

  8. Still now availability at all for Westin Bayshore Vancouver. Availability for Vancouver hotels looks the same.

  9. Thank you for finding some of the silver lining. For those traveling to WDW, the Swan/Dolphin miles & points seems like a good value during peak months or for those a little shy on points.

  10. These cash and points rates are not very good for the big city Sheratons that I am familiar with. You can usually snag these or a comparable 4 star hotel on Priceline for less than the cash portion of the cash and points. Of course, Priceline rates are totally dependent on availability, and depending on the market, you may do better on weekends than weeknights. But the Sheraton and other Starwood offerings are also seasonal and based upon availability. For pedestrian properties, I think you can do better on Hotwire or Priceline.

  11. MP- Can I please ask for your help? I had booked the WDW Swan for 10,000 pts per night for a 2 night stay (so redeeming a total of 20,000 SPG points). It is now available for Cash+Points at 5,000 pts + $75 per night. (In case it is relevant, the rack rate is $169 night). What do you think is the better point deal? (10,000 seemed rather low to me…). Would you do the Cash+Points option?

    Thank you!

  12. If the best going rate you can get is $169, then you are getting just under 2 cents per point for your SPG points at 5K points + $75 per night. That is neither great nor horrible. It all depends on what you want to spend vs save. If you want to spend cash and save points, do that, if you want to spend points and save cash, do that. If you want to split the difference then go the cash and points route. It really is a bit of a toss up in this situation. Personally, I would do the C&Ps over the 10K per night.

  13. Madrid Spain Palace went from 4800 points and $90 to 6000 points and $110 for the entry level room. No upgraded rooms available and only availability for points and cash option is weekend nights. They will give you the same room for 16,000 points on a week night but the cost for same is about $330 inclusive of taxes so it’s no real bargain. Sigh.

  14. The Westin Market Street & W San Francisco have more availability, the rate is now $110 plus 6K points. For times when the rate is north of $300 per night, I may use this.

    But in quieter periods you can get these or similar properties on Priceline for around $110 a night or even less, especially on weekends. I may be more tempted to save my points then vs the C&P old rate, which were a deal. Of course if I need a few nights for elite re-qualification, then C&P it will no doubt be.

  15. Whistler’s tons of fun! We were there last month with our toddler. If you’re able to go out for a date night, try Araxi in the village

  16. Shari & mommypoints – mommypoints & I differ a little on this, but her advice is excellent in that she notes the choice depends on you and your valuation. For me, it would depend most on immediate travel goals/plans. Typically, I would only use cash and points if it’s a ridiculously good deal (e.g. $40 + half the points for a $200 room or $75 + half the points for a $350 room) or if I knew that I needed the remaining points for something to be booked within the next few months, thereby limiting my churn/transfer options. Now, if it is BUSINESS travel for a business which you own, my advice would be the opposite (cash first, POSSIBLY cash & points), assuming the business which you own can reasonably swing the costs of the stays. Then, save the points for your leisure travel.

    For me, in terms of leisure trips, the point of the game is free travel or in the case of the WDW Swan resort & parking fees, very, very low cost travel. I can always acquire more points later, and the farther in the future I defer cash expenses, the more cash I will have (investments, kids out of the house, etc.) to pay outright should I so choose. We do occasional mattress runs and churn a few cards with fees. I pay cash occasionally for rooms, but only for a crazy deal (e.g. the occasional $40-75/night multi-room suite at a Marriott or Hilton brand hotel) or a premeditated mattress run. We also dish out the money for rental cars, Disney passes, souvenirs, etc., but other than that, travel is on points/miles.

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