Sunday, April 14, 2013

5 free nights in Seoul

We are going to visit my wife’s family in Seoul, South Korea in November.  We wanted to stay somewhere in the heart of Seoul where we would be close to the Subway and have easy access to all the tourist spots.

We’ve been saving up and slowly accumulating Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints by paying with our AMEX SPG card whenever AMEX credit cards are accepted.  Currently we have a little over 80,000 Starpoints. 

Sheraton Seoul D Cube hotel
Described as the “Soul of Seoul” and situated in the heart of D-Cube City’s hot spots, the five-star Sheraton Seoul D Cube hotel fit our hotel desires perfectly.  This Starwood Preferred Guest hotel ranks #1 out of 374 hotels in Tripadvisor reviews as the hotel with the best service.  The hotel’s lobby sits on the 41st floor (highest lobby in Korea) of the building it's in, and offers amazing views of the capital.
5th Award Night Free
An outstanding benefit of using your Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints is that when redeeming for 5 award nights, the 5th night is free.  This applies to SPG category 3,4,5,6, and 7 hotels (SPG category 1 and 2 hotels are excluded from this benefit). 
When pricing out this hotel, it came out to be 225,000 KRW (South Korean Won) a night, which today converts to around $200 USD a night. 
Spending 5 nights in this hotel paying cash would have cost us $1,000! 
If redeeming Starpoints for a room at the Sheraton Seoul D Cube, the cost would be 10,000 points a night.
With the 5th night free program, we are getting 5 nights free in Seoul for only 40,000 Starpoints.  This gives us an SPG point value of 2.5 cents per 1 Starpoint.  

As you can see, each Starpoint can have tremendous value.  Here's my order confirmation:
The best part about using Starpoints to make the booking is that there is no penalty for changes or cancellations if made 6:00pm hotel time 24 hours prior to booking.  

If you were thinking about applying for an SPG card, I would recommend waiting a few months until August 2013.  There’s a good chance that AMEX will release a 30,000 Starpoints bonus offer around that time.  This seems to be the historical trend the last few years. (Edit: they did increase the bonus!)    

The AMEX SPG card is definitely a keeper for me, and my go to card when a business accepts American Express for payment.

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