[Updated July 2016]
I travel to New York (lower east side), Chicago (the Loop) and Atlanta (Buckhead) for work and I like to snowboard in Lake Tahoe, Park City and Vail so I need a hotel chain that has a good presence in these places AND a great rewards program. After crunching all the numbers, it was a no-brainer to commit all of my loyalty to Starwood.
I was indoctrinated into the Church of Starwood Preferred Guest ("SPG") when I was an Associate at McKinsey. We stayed in hotels 4-5 nights per week and they were always Starwoods. I never questioned it at the time and I really took the program for granted. With greater time and perspective, I've really come to appreciate just how great SPG is for both hardcore business travelers and infrequent casual vacations.
There are a few ways to earn Starpoints:
Earning Status & The Key Benefits of Status
Earning Gold and Platinum status at Starwood is easy:
The biggest benefits to me are upgraded rooms (including suites at Platinum Status) and late checkout at 4pm. There are many more benefits, here is a good summary.
There are two main ways to redeem Starpoints:
My Pro Tips
I only travel about 6 times per year for work so I would not qualify for SPG Gold Status. However, I discovered a few tricks that help me get to Gold each year.
Now that you've figured out how to accumulate rewards, click here to learn how to optimize redemption of reward points.
Questions? Comments? Tweet me @RetireOnRewards.
Retire on Rewards