Member Question: Do SPG Cash & Points Award Stays Earn Elite Status?
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Hilary Stockton

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Recently, TravelSort member Andrea asked this question:

Do SPG Cash & Points stays earn stay and night credit toward elite status?

Andrea pointed me to her reservation form, which she took a screenshot of, where under the Terms and Conditions it says (bolding mine):

"Guests will not receive Starpoints or airline miles for their reservation; therefore, a Cash & Points stay does not qualify as an eligible stay toward earning elite level or toward any promotions requiring nights or stays"

I did a double take when she quoted this, and did a mock reservation myself to confirm what she was referring to. Sure enough, here it is:

Do SPG Cash & Points Award Stays Earn Elite Status?


Now, earlier this year Starwood Preferred Guest announced new elite benefits and amenities. To recap, SPG Gold Members with 25 nights or 10 stays per calendar year, Platinum AMEX cardholders and SPG AMEX cardholders with $30,000 in annual spend receive one of three welcome amenities (250 bonus Starpoints or free in-room Internet or complimentary beverage) and ALL eligible SPG stays count, including paid stays, free night awards and cash and point awards.

I double checked the Cash & Points section of the SPG site, and it confirmed (bolding mine):

"Cash & Points Award stays and nights do not qualify toward any promotions requiring stays or nights; however, Cash & Points Award stays and nights from October 1, 2011 onward do qualify as an eligible stay or nights toward earning elite levels."

So the upshot of all this is that there's some outdated language floating around with some properties' terms and conditions, but SPG Cash & Points awards DO count toward elite status, although they aren't eligible for Starpoints.

Here's the SPG Cash & Points Award Chart:

Do SPG Cash & Points Award Stays Earn Elite Status?


Tips for SPG Cash & Points Awards:

  • Category 7 hotels, such as the St. Regis Bora Bora, Gritti Palace in Venice, W Paris-Opera, etc. do not offer Cash & Points. There are a number of St. Regis properties that are Category 6 and that do sometimes offer Cash & Points, however.
  • Cash & Points awards are often the best value option, when available. For example, I've redeemed 8000 Starpoints and $150 when an equivalent revenue rate was around $450, getting 3.7 cents per SPG point.
  • Make sure you do the math though, because sometimes they aren't good value. For example, a recent Cash & Points offer at the St. Regis Bangkok for the standard 8000 Starpoints + $150 for a Category 6 property wasn't good value, because revenue rates were only the equivalent of $180 plus tax. That would be less than half a cent per SPG point! No thanks.
Do SPG Cash & Points Award Stays Earn Elite Status?
  • Cash & Points awards, unlike free nights awards, are subject to blackout dates. So don't be surprised if during peak periods there are none available.
  • The cash component of Cash & Points awards is subject to taxes. 
  • As mentioned above, Cash & Points awards do NOT earn Starpoints (Thanks to SPG Insider and commenter Douglas N. for confirming). Because of this, you may as well forego putting the cash component on your SPG AMEX, and instead use your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold to get 2x UR points for hotel spend, in lieu of Starpoints.

Related Posts

Starwood Preferred New Elite Amenities and Benefits

Best Ways to Use Starwood Preferred Guest Points

What's Right with Starwood Preferred Guest


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User_avatar_default Douglas N. commented 19 Apr 2012
I would disagree with your last comment, "As mentioned above, Cash & Points awards themselves do NOT earn Starpoints. You can, however, earn 4 Starpoints per dollar spent on the cash component if charging it to an SPG AMEX (5 points per dollar spent if you are SPG Platinum).". I am currently in a battle with SPG over this exact issue. I just last week stayed at an Aloft and used Cash and Points for a week stay. When my points posted all I got was 50 SPG points for the food/drink I purchased in the hotel. NONE for any of the $30 per night cash portion of the award. I am day 4 of the battle with SPG over the difference in language in the terms and conditions on the reservation, the email confirmation of the rate and the terms and conditions on the SPG site as you show. So as of now I am being told over and over that you cannot receive the points for cash portion of a cash and points award, and have not received them for my last 7 night stay at the Aloft.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 19 Apr 2012
Douglas, thanks for your comment; SPG Insider just confirmed this to me as well, so I've updated the post to reflect this. It's certainly not intuitive, since as you point out, other on-property spend does get the Starpoints. Definitely needs to be taken into account when doing the math for a C&P vs. paid stay. And very sorry to hear of your experience, but thanks for sharing with us to help others figure out whether C&P will be worth it given they won't get Starpoints.
User_avatar_default Douglas N. commented 19 Apr 2012
I will let you know if I win at least part of this battle. As you say not intuitive and that one line is very well hidden in the Award Chart and nothing is said about this in the 'big' SPG terms and conditions and nothing is indicated on the 'rate details' when you make the reservation. SPG has a way with hiding these terms and conditions in my opinion and that is what I am fighting with them. I would just like to see them make it more obvious and put it in the rate details/terms so that it is a reminder before you book that award. The other thing that happened that even with the $50 food/drink spend I received 50 SPG points and only 25 additional SPG points, even though I am SPG Gold and used my SPG AMEX.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 19 Apr 2012
I'm really glad you pointed this out; I just reviewed my records and it looks like I'm missing Starpoints as well for F&B from a C&P stay at a Starwood property earlier this year. As with you, it looks like I only received the base points + 50% bonus, but not the 5x Starpoints I should have as SPG Gold using the SPG Amex. Will report back as well if I have any luck getting these missing points posted.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 19 Apr 2012
Just got off the phone with Starwood--in my case, the bonus was actually there, but broken out separately in 3 increments: the 2x points for Starwood, the 50% bonus as Gold, and then the other 2x from AMEX in a separate Starwood Consumer Spend line item. So in my case, it was in fact all there, but I hope that Starwood will take of your bonus points that seem to be missing.
Picture?type=large Wilson M. commented 11 Feb 2015
Hi Hilary, I have a Citi AAdvantage World MasterCard for 12 years and recently opened the Citibusiness AAdvantage MC for the 50k miles bonus on 12/20/2014. I am wondering if I can still take advantage of their promo and open the Citi AAdvanage world master card 50k deal given that I already have one for 12 years. If they allow a second non-business credit card for the deal, given that i just opened the business Credit credit with them, how long should I wait to apply in order to have a better chance of getting approve for the credit card? Thank you!
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