Win 30,000 Free Starpoints! But Then What?

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On Monday, I announced how Money Talks News, Starwood, and American Express are giving away 30,000 Starpoints in the “Stretch Your Summer” contest. To enter, all you have to do is submit a comment to the the original post (not here!).

Readers and other Money Talks News staff have asked me: “So what would you do with 30,000 Starpoints? What’s the most bang for the points?”

Well, there are two ways to look at award points.

One is that they should be closely held and spent frugally for many nights at budget properties. Another philosophy is that these are reward points – and you should use them to reward yourself with some luxury you otherwise might not be able to afford.

So here’s where I’d spend my free points…

1. St. Regis Aspen Resort, Colorado

If splurging on a luxury property is the strategy for you, check out the St. Regis, nestled among the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. This spring, I had a chance to stay at this recently renovated ultra-luxury property at the base of Aspen Mountain. Amazing. Unfortunately, just one night will set you back the entire 30,000 points.

2. Sheraton Suites Cypress Creek Fort Lauderdale, Florida

More frugal-minded family travelers might wish to try another one of my favorite Starwood properties. When I’m in South Florida, I stay at the Sheraton Suites Cypress Creek. My family and I love that all rooms are suites, with microwaves and mini-fridges. Even better: Weekend nights are only 3,000 Starpoints, with weekdays a mere 4,000. Therefore, you could do a three-day weekend for 10,000 points.

3. Aloft Chicago O’Hare, Illinois

Last year, I attended a “travel hacker” convention in Chicago – see 3 Lessons From Travel Reward Gurus. This year, I’m returning to Chicago to learn more tips and tricks, and I’ll use my Starpoints to stay in the hip new Aloft hotel near the airport. It has convenient access to the Chicago train system and, like the Sheraton Cypress Creek, award stays are only 3,000 to 4,000 points a night.

4. Four Points by Sheraton Milan Center, Italy

Perhaps just one night in the St. Regis Aspen isn’t a long enough vacation, and the Sheraton in Fort Lauderdale and the Aloft in Chicago just don’t have the exotic appeal you’re looking for. Then do what I did last year on my frugal trip to Italy – use 30,000 Starpoints for three nights at the Sheraton in Milan.

So those are my best ideas on how to get value from Starpoints. Share yours by commenting on the contest post – and receive your chance to win the 30,000 Starpoints.

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