Whilst my US readers have access to a plethora of credit cards, all of which offer huge sign-up bonuses and amazing ongoing points earning, most of us are not that fortunate. For the rest of us, if we want to use points to pay for an SPG hotel, we have to buy those points (at a discount if possible!). Even during a 35%off sale the 30,000 SPG points required for a one night stay at a top tier St Regis will cost $682.50, which is by no means cheap… at all.
From August 2019 until January 1st 2020, the price of these top tier St Regis properties will drop to the equivalent of 20,000 SPG points per night but if you’re buying those points that’s still a cost of $450.55 or €372 at today’s rate.
In fairness, picking some dates in August (when the property is actually at its cheapest – Florence is HOT in the summer) you can see that the points purchase route does offer some significant savings over the cash rate.
Still, there’s a limit on how many points you can buy in a single year and I wanted to stay here for 3 nights, ideally paying less than $450 per night ? Plus if you pay with points, breakfast isn’t included and the breakfast at this property is really rather special.
The morning chorus of “buongiorno!” from at least five different smiling faces makes for a great start to the day. Despite being a buffet, the service is so attentive that you can effectively order anything you like and have it brought to your table. The quality of the food is excellent and for those that want to start the day off with a drink, prosecco and St Regis signature bloody Marys and prosecco are available too ? #stregisflorence
This is where my favourite features of the SPG program comes into play:
Unlike Hyatt and IHG who are notorious for playing games with their best rate guarantees (i.e. thay weasel their way out of the guarantee any way they can and hope to leave you with an expensive, non-refundable reservation in the process), SPG is very fair indeed.
Make a fully flexible reservation on SPG.com. This ensures that if something goes wrong you can cancel without penalty. This reservation is just a template that the SPG team will use to create your proper reservation later on. As such, all you need to do is book the correct hotel on the correct nights. The flexibility and room type do not need to match the cheaper rate.
Fill out the best rate guarantee form on SPG.com giving details of the better rate that you’ve found. You can copy and paste the entire URL, to ensure that the agents see the exact details that you do (rather than just typing in hotels.com for example)
It is always best to be absolutely clear when filling out the forms.
If there is a discrepancy between naming conventions for rooms, spell out exactly why it’s the same room being sold on both SPG and the competing website:
“reservation for a base level room”
“reservation for a 40m2 room with two beds and ocean view”
“reservation for a suite with separate dining area”
Also, be sure to state if the competing rate you found includes taxes. This is something that the SPG team often gets wrong, discounting your rate by 25% but then adding taxes back on, thereby eroding most of your savings in the process.
Wait for the email from SPG telling you that your rate has been updated. Generally you’ll find that your reservation will remain fully flexible and refundable even if you were matching against a non-refundable rate (I imagine this is a system limitation brought about by the fact that the ‘skeleton’ of this reservation is flexible).
Enjoy your hugely discounted stay! (and earn points back at the end of it 😉 )