The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has been good to me over the course of the last year. I’ve had over 10 stays in various SPG properties across the world. Four hotels across the US and four more hotel in Europe have helped me to feel like royalty.
S. San Francisco Four Points (Category 2: 3000-4000 Starpoints)
A quick weekend trip late last summer to San Francisco was a great way to see the city by the Bay. With a direct flight from my hometown to the Oakland airport, this was a no brainer.
My wife had never seen this unique city, so it was imperative that we explore the city. We wrote up a list of Eight Great Things to do in SF. I’d recommend them to anyone who hasn’t visited.
You also need to be sure that you take a ride on the historic cable cars because there is nothing like riding in one of them.
This hotel was really affordable on points, but not so great on location. It is located in South SF, which is far from the action. It would be fine if you had a rental car, but trying to take the local transportation ate up a lot of our time.
- Stayed 3 nights.
- Value: $450
Salt Lake Sheraton (Category 3: 7000 Starpoints)
Depressingly this hotel changed from a category 2 hotel to a category 3 early this year. Fortunately I stayed there five times before it changed. Their park and fly is the most generous in the Salt Lake City area. Their 24 hour shuttle to the airport adds more value to staying there. The outdoor pool is a bummer for winter stays, but great for hot summer days.
Max really loved the soft pillows and the king sized bed. McDonald’s is right next door for an affordable breakfast next door.
- Total Stays: 5
- Value: $550
Dallas Texas Element Hotel
Element hotels are very unique. They all have suites with kitchens, living areas, and have a very modern feel. I wish they were more abundant across the world because they’re a great place to stay. Their continental breakfast in the morning was five stars as it came with fresh fruit, waffles, and all the other normal breakfast stuff.
The shuttle picked us up from the DFW airport and dropped us back off in the morning, which made it stress free. It was located right next to a shopping mall with quite a few restaurants, so having dinner was easy.
- Total Stays: 1
- Total Value: $120
North Charleston, SC Aloft Hotel
Talk about modern feel, this place feels like the future. It could be the setting for a Back to the Future 17. Although I’d never decorate my house with these decorations, it is a fun place to stay for a night or two. After a work trip to North Carolina, we zipped down the coast to see Myrtle Beach, and Charleston.
You won’t regret the time that you spend in this romantic city. Make sure you bring along the love of your life, because the charm in this place will drive your love even deeper. Although the breakfast wasn’t included, it was pretty reasonable. The outlets are super close and will provide great shopping for the night before or the day following your stay.
- Total Stays: 2
- Value: $220
Four Points Dornbirn, Austria-Category 2 Starwood Hotel
I’ve already raved about this place in a previous post. The spa alone will be worth the night in the hotel. Located right on the border with Switzerland and Germany, Dornbirn is a great way to experience the Alpine Europe life. Take a trip to Lake Constance and enjoy the historic downtown. You’re not too far from the mountains so you can do some hiking as well.
The spa is for adults only, so if you have kids with you, tell them to hang out in the room, because they won’t let you in the spa unless you’re over 18. Enjoy this place and make sure you don’t make the mistake that I did and only stay one night. Call this place home!
- Total Stays:1
- Value: $125
Four Points Bolzano, Italy-Category 2 Starwood Hotel
Although this place is located in a bit of an industrial area, you won’t feel like it when you are swimming in their pool that is on the top floor. Spend some time in the steam room or sauna on the top floor as well.
Just down the road is a huge grocery store that is within walking distance, so it makes for a great snack stop or a cheap breakfast. On the way here you need to stop at the Reifenstein Castle to explore the best preserved medieval castle in Europe.
- Total Stays: 1
- Value: $130
Sheraton Padova, Italy-Category 3 Sheraton Hotel
This is a great springboard to Venice. I stayed here for two nights in my way to Venice. We had rented a car and it was a little tough finding the entrance to the hotel, but is right off the freeway.
Their customer service is excellent. I emailed them two times before arriving and they answered all of my questions. They also answered questions about Venice and Padova. Their shuttle to downtown Padova was really convenient.
The rooms were great but the AC was turned off and it got a little hot.
Parking was 6€ per day and there wasn’t anywhere near to eat breakfast besides the hotel. The room had a small fridge where you could put a few things.
- Total Stays: 2
- Value: $300
Four Points Milan City Center-Category 4
Staying in the downtown area is always going to burn more points than staying in the fringes of town. This was an area where it would be worth paying for a bit of my hotel. We only stayed here one night because we wanted to enjoy some time in the Lake Lugano area as well. The location of this place is great.
You’re within walking distance of the major landmarks of the city if you have the time to take a stroll. You’ll never regret visiting the Duomo or the Galleria. Just make sure you bring your credit cards (without foreign transaction fees) because this place is the mecca of fashion.
They provided us with free umbrellas on the day that it was raining, which was super convenient. Half of this place has been renovated, and the other half hasn’t. Ask for a newer room unless you need more space. You’ll want to use the cash & points option here because it isn’t worth 10,000 Starpoints.
- Total Stays: 1
- Value: $100
Use the Starwood Hotel Chain
You’ll never go back to the Super 8 or the Motel 6 again. There is nothing like living like a king. This is the only way to do it without being independently wealthy. Over the last year I’ve conservatively saved $2000 by staying in the Starwood Hotel chain. All of my points have come from the below mentioned credit card.
If you’re not ready to give up the stiff sheets at the Super 8, or the stain on the mattress at the Motel 6, just keep on paying the cheap Howard Johnson rate. When you’re ready to stay in a luxurious chain without breaking the bank, get the card below. [Disclosure: We receive a commission when you sign up for this card through our link. We would really appreciate your support so we can continue to provide you $$$ saving tips.]