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The other day I wrote about the SPG Exclusive Member promotion, where many Starwood members were targeted with promotions designed to entice you to stay in their hotels.  There are a variety of offers out there, but mine was for a free night at any Category 1-5 hotel after 1 stay, and ANOTHER free night after my 2nd stay

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Find out how to see if you were targeted for anything here.

Adjusting my stays

I don’t often participate in these promotions, since I don’t have a ton of business stays (where other people are paying for it) and most of my regular stays I use points (as I have more points than money).  Still, this is about as basic as it gets.

I do have one stay coming up for work, and I should be able to book that at a Starwood hotel without too much difficulty, so that’s one night.  Then I looked at the 2nd night.  I have 3 nights stay for the Family Travel for Real Life conference in Orlando coming up in a few weeks.  Currently I have one night at a Holiday Inn Express (not a Holiday Inn as I hate them!) and 2 nights at the host hotel, which is a Category 1 Hyatt.  All 3 of those I am paying for with points, and they’re all Category 1 hotels and 5000 points / night

(SEE: Panning for Gold with low level hotel redemptions)

Finding a cheap Starwood to stay in

I also have a stay I’ll need for an upcoming Brian Regan concert in Columbus.  I have a few options there.  Originally I was going to book the Sheraton Suites Columbus, but I made a boneheaded move and didn’t book it before it moved from Category 2 to Category 3, costing me 4000 Starpoints.

(SEE: Grrrr I just threw away 4000 Starpoints! )

I didn’t want to use 7000 points to book that hotel, even if I can get into the Sheraton lounge for free, and the cash cost on that hotel on that particular night was nearly $200 / night, also not an option.

There is also a Sheraton Suites and on one of my nights, it is only $90 / night, so call it a little over $100 after taxes.  I was going to move one of my Hyatt Place stays there but….

Really?  Is it worth it?While free travel is always nice, I've got a BIG problem with free hotel stays

I’ve written before about how I wonder if “free” hotel nights are a good idea, and there’s 2 reasons for that.  One, is that unless you have status with that hotel chain, you’re often getting nickel and dimed for breakfast, wifi, parking and all sorts of other fees.  The other reason is that those nights are often not FREE.  In this case, my “free” hotel night is really costing me $100, and it’s not even at ANY hotel, just at a Category 1-5.  My last “free” night did not go so well….

One question that you could ask yourself would be, “could I get more than $100 in value from a Category 1-5 SPG certificate?”  And I think we could pretty definitively answer that question “Yes”.  I’m sure that there are Category 5 SPG hotels out there that go for WAY more than $100.

But I think the better question to ask is “If I didn’t have this certificate, would I spend $100 on a comparable hotel?”  And there, I think the answer is “No”.  I’m very likely to have either enough points to book something, or else I’d stay at a cheaper hotel and probably do just fine.

So, for now at least, I think I’m going to hold off on my 2nd night.  I still have until June 30th to book another night if anything changes!

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