As I mentioned in this post, I have a soft spot for SPG. I’ve never had a bad experience in an SPG hotel, regardless of the category. And just to clarify, never having a “bad” experience to me doesn’t mean there weren’t any shortcomings, but that these shortcomings have always been promptly and generously addressed.
- The hot water is out in New Orleans for a few hours. Not the hotel’s fault, but I get 10,000 points without asking.
- A roach is found in a room in San Diego. Immediate relocation and all the points credited—without asking.
- A shuttle bus failing to pick me up in Rio. Free breakfast and lounge access till the end of my stay.
- A suite request in Lima. Granted twice (just Gold)
Please note, I am not a complaining type. I don’t complain about a burned lamp bulb (well, I will ask them to replace it, but this is where it ends). I don’t complain about noisy toilets. I never look for a reason to complain and get a freebie. I never ever blackmail hotel managers to leave bad reviews on Trip Advisor. Considering all the above, my experience with SPG is that they are proactively oriented toward problem resolutions. And, by the way, all these stays were reward stays.
This is why I treasure SPG points. And this is why it pains me that their points are so hard to get. And because their points are so hard to get, this is my personal MO when it comes to SPG reward stays. These categories comprise the bulk of my SPG stays.
- SPG Category 1 Hotels: 2,000 – 3,000 (perfect point-wise, but rarely anything good)
- SPG Category 2 Hotels: 3,000 – 4,000
- SPG Category 3 Hotels: 7,000
These are the categories I will consider under the right circumstances. For example, I stayed at the Sheraton Rio during the World Cup for 12,000 points. The cash price was around $700-900 a night.
And the following categories do not exist to me. Too expensive:
- SPG Category 5 Hotels: 16,000
- SPG Category 6 Hotels: 20,000 – 25,000
- SPG Category 7 Hotels: 30,000 – 35,000.
Now that we’ve gotten my MO out of the way, here are some Cat. 1-3 new SPG hotels added (or to be added) in 2015 I really like.
Category 2: 3,000 points weekend, 4,000 points weekday
There is ALOFT which is also a Cat. 2 hotel and very close to the beach, but the more the marrier.
Yes, there are plenty of places to stay on the cheap, but if you want a “free” stay, that’s usually gonna cost you. The cheapest point stay from what I could find is Hyatt Place, a Cat. 2 hotel that goes for 8,000 points a night. Four Points offers the cheapest “free” hotel stay, and it’s new, even if you’re staying a few blocks away from the strip.
Well, it’s Bali. And the value you can get out of it is very reasonable.
Yes, there are cheap points places if you’re going to see Taj Mahal. I’m not sure I’d rather spend 3K-4K SPG points than 9K Club Carlson points to stay at Park Plaza. Of course, in the days of 2 for 1, it would’ve been a total no brainer.
Never heard of Zhanjang? Neither have I. But it’s right across from the beach, and the description I read makes it an interesting base for exploring the coast of the South China Sea.
Category 3: 7,000 points (28,000 for 5 nights)
This is probably the most interesting low budget addition to the SPG collection. The rates start at $200+ a night in high season.
Near Dolpbin Mall. During my recent visit to Miami, I was absolutely appalled (LOL) to find how expensive Miami hotels were— and not just the beach hotels. Think I’m kidding? Nope.
Across the bay from Macau and a ferry ride to Hong Kong and Shenzhen
You can access the full list of new SPG hotels here
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