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Because of the Amex SPG sign-up bonuses, I know many families will have 35,000 – 70,000 SPG points ready to spend in the near future. TThat is a ton of SPG points, but they go further at some properties than others. I’m going under the working assumption that your family doesn’t have a ton of additional SPG points apart from the credit card(s), so here are some hotel options that are not only family friendly in one way or another, but also relatively gentle on your points wallet.
Personal version: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Business version: Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Before I get into specific properties, I want to offer a quick reminder that when searching for award reservations with SPG, you won’t typically get any results when searching for more than two persons in the room. This does not mean you can’t make award reservations for two adults + children, it just means their search feature doesn’t work very well. Each property has their own maximum occupancy limits for each room type, but most certainly allow more than just two adults.
Also, there are lots of good redemption options out there with SPG points including getting the 5th award night free, cash and points options, getting 50k airline miles and 5 nights via Nights and Flights, etc. If you are new to SPG, be sure to read this post with all those fun options before making a redemption. Here are a few family friendly redemption options (mostly in or near the US), sorted by category. Do keep in mind that some of the lower category hotels are not overly “fancy”, but they can be a good deal for some family-centric destinations.
Category 2 (3,000 points on weekend, 4,000 points for a weekday):
This hotel is walking distance from the beach, the rooms are ocean-view, it has a salt water pool, gets good reviews for service, and offers rooms with two queen beds for points redemptions.
This hotel makes my list as it is walking distance to Texas A&M University, in a city where rooms can be quite pricey during major university events. However, if you secure a room ahead of time for just 3k or 4k points, you won’t have a problem! I know many families that have Aggie blood running through their veins, so this is a very good option when they visit Aggieland. Look for similar properties in other college towns if your plans don’t take you to College Station.
This hotel is newly built and 1.5 miles from Disneyland. There is a shuttle to Disneyland that is available (for a fee). It is a lower cost redemption than some of the other nearby SPG options.
The Four Points by Sheraton Orlando Studio City is on International Drive across from Universal Studios. It is also considered a “Universal Partner Hotel”. Their website also states that they just completed construction on their Tropical Outdoor Pool and Poolside Oasis Bar.
Category 3 (7,000 points per night):
If your family travels to Halifax, this hotel offers rooms for two adults and two children as well as a complimentary shuttle to nearby attractions.
This hotel is located in a beautiful area on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is clearly an amazing spot for adult and younger golfers, but it is also located within a few miles of different attractions for the whole family. There is even a “Bear Cub Camp” available during the summer where kids ages 7-11 spend the day playing golf, volleyball, tennis and more.
The Sheraton Anaheim hotel is walking distance to Disneyland, and they also offer a free shuttle every half hour. Reports are the inside is in need of an update, but kids may love the tower-like exterior!
Category 4 (10,000 points per night):
These villas are very close to skiing at Beaver Creek and are all 540 square feet and up with separate living space and sleep up to 4 people.
This is a beach-front resort that also has a heated outdoor pool, poolside food/drinks, and a Kid’s Club for children ages 4-12.
This hotel is in downtown San Diego within walking distance to many popular destinations such as the harbor and Little Italy, and not far from attractions like the San Diego Zoo. They also offer a complimentary shuttle to the airport.
Both of these hotels are located on Disney property and have the advantage of some (but not all) of the perks that the Disney hotels have. The hotels are walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and you can use free Disney transportation to the other parks. You can also take advantage of “Extra Magic Hours” to access the parks before/after the official opening hours on certain days. Their shared beach and pool complex is also pretty great for kids!
This hotel has an amazing location with fantastic views of Niagara Falls. Be careful when booking as there is a Sheraton on the Falls and Sheraton at the Falls and they are different hotels!
Category 5 Hotels (range from 12,000 – 16,000 points per night depending on “high season”):
Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa:
This hotel is located on an amazing beach and snorkel area at Black Rock. Most of the rooms have ocean views, so there is a fair chance you will get a view upgrade if you have SPG status. They offer rooms with two double beds.
This hotel is in the Poipu area of Kauai (aka the “sunny side”), and the beautiful island itself is enough to score it a spot in this post. The hotel completed a large renovation last year and is walking distance so restaurants, shops, and beaches in Kauai.
This resort in San Antonio has an amazing pool complex, a Kid’s Club, great holiday themed activities for families in December, and is very close to theme parks like Six Flags and SeaWorld. It just moved to a Category 5 this year, and I liked it better as a Category 4, but it is still a quality family resort.
There are many great ski properties that are Category 5 properties (Westin River Front in Beaver Creek, Westin Whistler, Sheraton Steamboat, etc), and the Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth. It is just steps from The Village Gondola at Mammoth and about 30 miles from Yosemite. At most ski properties such as this, it makes sense to use points during the expensive ski season, but not during the less expensive off-seasons.
Category 6 (20,000 – 25,000 points per night):
I am including two Category 6 properties just to give you a sense of what is out there, but I think if you have limited points, you can get a great value focusing on Category 5 and below properties.
The base “rooms” here are villas that start at over 500 square feet – perfect for families! This hotel has several pools including a children’s pool, complete a child-sized slide and a play turtle, but there is no on-site beach, so you have to walk a bit to get to a beach. If you don’t want to use points, there are also some deals out there to visit this hotel for several nights at a discounted rate with extra pluses if you go to a timeshare pitch.
This very upscale hotel is located on the Pacific Ocean, has three swimming pools (including a lagoon family pool), and a Kid’s Club. St. Regis hotels also offer “Family Traditions” and amenities that include things such as child sized robes, flavored waters by the pool, and child specific local recommendations.
I’m going to stop at Category 6 properties for the sake of this post simply because once you get to Category 7 properties the per night points prices can get crazy. Some of the 30k per night properties like St. Regis Aspen, St. Regis Princeville, and St. Regis Bahia Beach can be great for families, but if you are going on just one or two credit card sign-ups then you are looking at just one or two nights at those properties. That short of a trip may not be sufficient for some families (though I love two night trips myself!).
I know there are many other great SPG family redemptions, so I would love to hear your favorite(s)!