Every now and then I learn something cool about the miles & points hobby from my son. For example, I previously reported a way to get targeted for Amex business card offers based on my son’s experience in setting up a website domain. Now, I learned that new SPG members can get targeted for a really nice offer…
On October 2nd, I enrolled my son in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. I don’t even remember why. 20 days later, he received an email with the subject heading “A Free Night Award is Waiting.” The terms of the offer were pretty good! I’ve pasted the complete terms at the bottom of this post, but here are the key details:
- Register by the end of the year
- Complete one or two qualifying stays by January 31, 2016
- For each qualifying stay (up to 2), you’ll earn a free category 1-5 night.
- Free nights must be used by May 31, 2016.
- Free Night Awards will be credited to the member’s account within 2–4 weeks of the stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account.
Targeted members only
Of course, this deal would be more amazing if everyone could sign up. I tried to register my own account, but got this:
Unfortunately, you’re not eligible for this promotion. Don’t worry, there are still a lot of rewards to be earned. Be sure to visit spg.com to check out our global promotion going on now.
My wife, meanwhile, was instructed to “come back for more”. SPG would give her 2,000 bonus starpoints for every 2 stays:
How to (maybe) get targeted
The awesome free night promo wasn’t offered to me or to my wife, so I created a new account to see if I could register that one. After setting up a new account, I tried to register the new account for the promo, but it wasn’t eligible. However, 21 days after signing up for this new account, the new account holder received the same email that my son received! The new account was then able to sign up for this promotion!
If you, or someone in your household, hasn’t yet signed up for a Starwood Preferred Guest account, then you might want to do so now. And, by “now”, I mean today. The deadline for registration is the end of this year, so you’ll have to hurry to try to get targeted in time since it seems to take about 3 weeks to get the offer after creating an account.
Is the promo worth mattress running?
Mattress running is the hotel equivalent of airline mileage running: it is the act of booking and checking into a hotel, not because you need a hotel room, but because you want the rewards that come with it.
In this case, one stay results in one free category 1 to 5 night. Let’s assume you can find a local Starwood property that costs about $100 per night after taxes and fees. In that case, the question is whether you can get significantly more than $100 per night value from your free night. I expect that many people will find that the answer is yes.
Unlike Marriott category 5 hotels, there are many aspirational Starwood category 5 hotels. You can find a full list here.
Mattress running with this promotion makes sense, if:
- You have plans to travel to an area with a great SPG category 1 to 5 hotel by May 31, 2016, and
- Award nights are available, and
- The per-night room rate is far higher than you would pay for the mattress run.
Stays vs. Nights
The promotion awards a free night for each stay, up to two stays. A “stay” is any number of consecutive nights booked at one hotel. So, if mattress running, the key to keeping costs down is to make each stay only one night long. You can’t make two separate bookings on consecutive nights at the same hotel (because that would still count as only one stay), but you could book one hotel for one night and another hotel for the next night in order to complete two stays. Or, you can book two separate nights into the same hotel as long as you have a gap of at least one night in between.
UPDATE: A reader reminded me that SPG allows members to get night and stay credit when they book multiple rooms. So, you could book two rooms for one night and get two stay credits! See this Loyalty Traveler post for more details.
Where to go?
Here are a few examples of category 5 SPG properties with decent Trip Advisor reviews (note: there are many more options than I’ve listed here):
Sheraton Kauai Resort (Hawaii):
Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa Gold Coast (Australia):
The St. Regis Osaka (Japan):
Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa (Thailand):
Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa (Argentina):
Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado (Peru):
Le Méridien Limassol Spa & Resort (Cyprus):
Sheraton Algarve, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Albufeira (Portugal):
Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mallorca (Spain):
Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland
Promotion Terms & Conditions
Book and complete a stay through SPG® and earn one (1) Free Night Award; book and complete two stays and earn two (2) Free Night Awards.
Eligible member must register online at spg.com/newmemberexclusive by December 31, 2015, 11:59 p.m. EDT. Members can earn one (1) Free Night Award after they book and complete one (1) eligible stay through SPG and one (1) Free Night Award after they book and complete their second eligible stay through SPG. Members may earn a maximum of two (2) Free Night Awards from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016 (the “promotion period”). This promotion is not transferable. Bookings made prior to the promotion period are eligible, but only eligible stays consumed during the promotion period will earn a bonus.
For this promotion, an eligible stay is a stay with at least 1 eligible paid night at any of the over 1,200 participating Starwood hotels and resorts paying an eligible paid rate during the promotion period that was booked through SPG. An eligible rate is any rate that is eligible to earn Starpoints® in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. Free Night Awards and Cash & Points Award nights are not eligible toward promotional Starpoints earnings. A listing of SPG-participating hotels and resorts and a description of eligible stays and eligible rates can be found at spg.com under the program terms and conditions. See Section 1.4 for the complete definition of eligible rates, but note that certain prepaid rooms where the booking is made through a third party are not eligible rates and do not earn Starpoints or qualify toward promotional earnings.
Free Night Awards will be credited to the member’s account within 2–4 weeks of the stay posting to the member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account. Free Night Awards can be redeemed for any Starwood Category 1–5 hotels or resorts for a standard room for any night of the week. Free Night Awards must be redeemed for stays consumed by May 31, 2016. Members should call SPG customer service and mention Award ID TT5FN to redeem. Awards are not transferable and may not be redeemed for cash or Starpoints. Unused Awards will be forfeited. Free Night Award stay(s) and night(s) will count toward elite-earning qualification. Free Night Award(s) are combinable and may be added to existing paid or Award stays.
This promotion may be combined with other Starpoints or Free Night promotions in market during the same time; however, earnings are exclusive of each other.
All promotions are subject to the Starwood Preferred Guest® program terms and conditions, which are subject to change without notice and can be found at spg.com. Offer is applicable to individual members only and not to groups. Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors. Starwood reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time. To update your communication preferences or learn about our privacy practices, view our Privacy Statement on spg.com/privacy, or access our privacy information line by calling 1-877-782-0071 in the U.S. and Canada or +353-21-4930474 in all other countries. Void where prohibited by law.
[…] Amex partners with brands such as Delta, SPG, and Hilton. You may be able to find a better signup offer for their co-branded cards by signing up for a loyalty program. For example, this Reddit thread describes how to possibly get a better SPG card offer by signing up for a new SPG account. And, even if it doesn’t work to get a better offer, you might get a great offer for free nights, as described here: SPG: Two free nights (cat 1-5) after two stays!. […]
Got this great offer thanks to you FM–thanks for that! My question: have you ever had trouble using these award nights? Trying to book two consecutive nights in SoCal 80 days in advance (mine don’t expire until June 30). The agent told me the first date is available but the second is not. When I search the website, a standard room is available for a two night stay (using cash or free night awards) but there is no room available for a one night stay starting on the second night. The agent told me she has to book these as two reservations and cannot book for the second night. Seems disingenuous–obviously there are rooms available. And even if they don’t want book one night stays, I’m trying to book a two night stay. Have others had similar problems? Any suggestions for how to get around this? Thanks!
Nevermind. Solved by HUCA. You just have to find an agent who knows what they are doing and is willing to call the front desk and manually apply the free night.
[…] struggling with what to do with our various free night certificates. We have one free SPG night (thanks to the promo I described here) that expires in May. We have an IHG free night from my wife’s credit card that has to be […]
I signed up my wife and we got a different offer. 2,500 bonus points after the first stay, an additional 5,000 after the second stay. Not nearly as good.
I signed up my son, finally got the email, but the offer has changed to earning “5 Night Credits toward elite status” for the 1st stay and 5 more night credits for the 2nd stay. I wish it was still free nights, not credits toward elite status.
The Free Nights is still live..seems to be @ random from what I’m reading on hear from other. My gf managed to get the offer in December and of course I’m just finding out about it now but I think I found a good mattress run from where I live for Feb. (must book and stay by Feb. 29 (leap year)) and the 2 free nights will be good till June 30.
Also she had to register by Jan 31, 2016.
Can someone share how long it takes to have the free night posted in your account? I got the free night offer and have planned stay coming up in a month, wonder if I should do MR.
I got targeted for this offer earlier in the year. It’s great! I was headed to Montreal for one night so I stayed at the downtown Sheraton there to earn one free night. Then I was headed to NYC for 2 nights–I stayed at the Westin Grand Central Station, burning the free night I had earned in Montreal and then paying for the second night which earned me another free night. I spent the last free night at the Kyoto Westin during my recent trip to Japan. I recommend all 3 hotels!
[…] SPG: Two free nights (cat 1-5) after two stays! […]
Nothing for me and my wife but my parents got a 7500 bonus offer. 2500 after second stay. 2500 after third stay. 2500 after fourth stay. And I also signed up my daughter. Hopefully she gets something in 21 days
Got something similar to the OP for my fiance’s account which was opened in August 2015. Nothing for mine.
Here offer states:
Earn 2,500 bonus Starpoints on your first eligible stay, plus 5,000 bonus Starpoints on your second eligible stay, for a total of 7,500 bonus Starpoints.
For stays from October 1st to December 31st.
Wish I had seen this earlier would have been great for some of recent stays. Unfortunately no plans to stay anywhere and its not quite mattress run worthy.
I signed up for the AMEX SPG back in August or early Sept. Didn’t actually register my SPG account with my email until two days ago (Nov 16). Clicked on the registration button and it worked for me!
One more thing people might want to check is the free night expiration date. The terms in the email I got after signing say: “Free Night Awards must be redeemed for stays consumed by April 30, 2016.”
I’m lost. Where exactly do you register for this? I’m not seeing anything on my SPG homepage.
purple box in the article
ahhh. FM usually pastes photos/jpegs. I saw the box, but assumed it was a screenshot of the email.
It’s targeted to new SPG members. If you’re targeted, you’ll get an email
My wife is new to SPG and I have now registered her for this promotion – unfortunately she doesn’t have any upcoming travel planned but I do. Can she use the app to book a room for me? Perhaps add me to the reservation?
It’s worth a try. Add a note to the reservation saying that you will be there first and should be allowed to check in.
Here was my offer:
Member can earn 6,000 bonus Starpoints® after sixth (6th) eligible paid stay, 6,000 bonus Starpoints after the twelfth (12th) eligible paid stay, and 6,000 bonus Starpoints after the eighteenth (18th) eligible paid stay. As part of this promotion, member may earn a maximum of 18,000 total bonus Starpoints for eighteen eligible stays from October 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015 (the “promotion period”).
I signed up for SPG a few months ago and also received this email in the last 2 weeks. I signed up and would love to earn the 2 free nights for an upcoming trip to DC in April.
So if I book 2 rooms for the same night (2 adults, 2 kids) in the cheapest SPG property near me before January 31st then I’ll earn the 2 free nights?
Absolutely. Good part about SPG is they try to game you. 2 rooms for 1 night = 2 stays (upto 3 actually).
Correction: They don’t* try to game you
That’s correct. (Note to those who read the original post: I updated the post shortly after publication to include the multi-room booking option)
I just read the fine print and my offer is only through the end of December. Plus the Free Night Awards must be redeemed for stays consumed by April 30, 2016.
I was targeted for this via email in April. I jumped on it and maxed it out, then used the nights at the grand Bretagne in Athens. Amazing value! But in the end it worked out for Starwood, because all of those stays convinced me to go for spg platinum for the first time.
Tried signing my husband up & got the message saying you’re ineligible. Tried signing myself (opened my account in May 2015) & it said sorry this promotion has come to an end. Bummer!
I got the same messages. “sorry” for me and “promotion has ended” for my husband. 🙁
I’m assuming if you sign up someone for a new account (say a child) then that person must be the one check in on both the mattress runs and the 2 free nights? Or do you just need a different email address to sign up?
This usually works: add a note in the reservation saying that the second person in the room will be there first and should be allowed to check in.