Updated on August 4, 2015
Starwood has now released award space for New Year’s 2016!
No, not 2015 – I am talking about 12/31/15 – 01/01/16, a full 18 months out.
Do you want to book a room at a Starwood SPG hotel using points? The closer you get to New Years Eve the harder it gets, especially if you want a Cash and Points rate which are usually the best value and first to disappear! Its hard to plan 1.5 years ahead of time, so if you have any idea where you'd like to be, you can book some speculative bookings then cancel whatever you don't need.
How about NYC propertiest to see the Times Square ball drop?
Look at the astronomical nightly rates – $2,299 and $994? I generally don’t recommend redeeming 20,000 – 25,000 SPG pts for category 6 hotels, but this is one of the rare occasions where you are better off redeeming points instead of paying the insane cash rate. $2299 + tax is about $2600 / 20,000 points = 13 cents per point!
What about Sydney? Even cash and points redemptions are available for the Westin Sydney at a mere $110 +6k SPG pts:
Hong Kong perhaps? Cash and points is available for 6,000 points + $110 or 16,000 points. If you prefer the W Hong Kong, its 25k points. Looking at the photos, it might be worth it.
W Hong Kong's rooftop pool
These locations are just examples but you get the point – think of a city you would like to be in for New Year’s 2016 and search for award space here.
It’s tough to plan 1.5 years out. However, if you are sitting on over 200,000 SPG pts like I am (hint: check out this post), it may pay off to make some speculative bookings.
Keep in mind that there are no blackout dates for SPG Free Nights which means if a standard room is available for cash bookings, it has to be available for SPG point redemption. Since it’s unlikely that a property is going to sell out of standard rooms 1.5 years in advance, there is no real urgency to make speculative bookings.
Cash and points, however, are capacity controlled, which means the hotel’s Revenue Manager releases availability as he/she sees fit. If you see cash and points available for New Year’s 2016 (such as Westin Sydney and Sheraton Towers Hong Kong), book it! There are some properties where cash and points space is automatically released 1.5 years out unless the Revenue Manager pulls it back. My guess is that the Revenue Managers for Westin Sydney and Sheraton Towers Hong Kong will pull back cash and points availability as soon as they realize the bargain being offered.
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