Paying for hotels is always something that has been difficult for me. I hate the idea of paying big dollars to stay somewhere for about 9 hours. Therefore as a result of my cheapness I’ve stayed in some pretty gnarly hotels. On my recent trip to North Carolina I stayed in a Howard Johnson Express hotel. The $50 pricetag was the first attraction, but I should have run and hid upon arrival.
The hotel had a “Night Check-in area.” This was comprised of a very small room that had a window to the night attendant at the hotel. The window between the attendant and I was doubtlessly bulletproof. I paid the $50 with a credit card because they also offered a continental breakfast (not all of these are created equally). The room had nice new carpet, nice granite counter tops in the sink, but the blanket on the bed was nonetheless 30+ years old. I was also terrified by the sight of the shower because it looked like I saw a few oysters growing on the wall of the shower. (I wore sandals)
When I crawled into bed I definitely wore socks, shorts and a shirt to bed. Falling asleep was rather difficult as well. It was at this moment that I realized that I needed the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. The breakfast topped it off in the morning. When I arrived I expected the normal continental breakfast found at most hotels, but it was not what I expected. The danishes had been there for at least a week and the cereal had not been replaced in at least a year. The only two options for cereal were Corn Flakes and Cocoa Puffs. I opted for a bowl of packaged oatmeal as I knew it should be fine.
The Starwood Preferred Guest card offers 10,000 Starpoints for the first purchase. If you then spend an additional $15,000 on the card you will receive an additional 15,000 Starpoints as a bonus. This will leave you with 40,000 Starpoints in total. These points can be transferred to many airlines in 20,000 blocks which also include a 5,000 bonus. So let’s assume that you get the card, meet the 40,000 Starpoints, that could equal 50,000 miles on an airline.
The hotels that pertain to the Starwood program aren’t going to have Oysters growing on the shower or bedspreads that are 30+ years old. I recommend the card as it is a great start to your frequent flying adventures. You can use the card for hotels or for airlines which makes its flexibility unmatched. You can see their hotels at their website.
Don’t forget that they waive the annual fee for the first year and you can call and cancel before the second year comes around. You can also call and ask for a retention bonus or tell them that you will cancel. Find out where you would like to wanderlust by checking their hotels that fall in each of the categories.