Through 7/31, you can register here and get a free night at any Starwood luxury resort after three stays at any of their 1,000 hotels.
Just like last year's staying at inexpensive Hyatt Hotels and earning free nights, you can rack up stays at any of the thousand properties in the 9 Starwood brands (Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, Aloft, W Hotels, St. Regis or Element - the lowest prices will be had at Four Points, Aloft and Sheraton) and then use your free nights at any of these 200 luxury resorts (nights must be used by 12/21/11). There is plenty of natural arbitrage here, even though they've limited the redemptions somewhat.
For example, if you book three stays at the Four Points Jacksonville Baymeadows in Jacksonville, FL (one of the lowest room rates we've seen) for $79 per night, you're only spending $237 total. Then you can use your credit at The Turnberry Resort in Scotland, which is normally $408 per night.
Plus, there are no earning limits, which means you could stay 6 or 9 times and get an extra 1-2 nights to stay at any resort. Using the example above, you could stay 6 nights at an $80 property, spending $480, earning you 2 nights at a $559/night resort, saving you $579.
The more you stay, the more the savings add up. This is undeniably the highlight of this deal. You can rack up the points at lesser priced properties, but still use your free nights at luxury resorts that cost much more per night, which truly makes this deal worth it.
A great strategy to taking advantage of this deal not only involves staying at lesser priced hotels, but also using separate names on longer reservations to gain even more points. For example, a husband and wife could potentially book each night alternately under each name, making them separate stays and gaining points for each stay. Booking these separate stays can also help you achieve SPG Gold or Platinum status, which is based on number of stays per calendar year and gives you even more perks, like enhanced rooms, free internet or later checkout.
It goes without saying that you can make the deal even sweeter by paying with your Amex Starwood card for the stays, as you can earn additional Starpoints with each purchase. Starpoints can be used very attractively for airfare, as you earn up to 5 Starpoints per dollar spent at Starwood properties then redeem that at a 1:1.25 ratio with over 30 airlines. For example, spending $5,000 at Starwood nets you 20,000 Starpoints (or 25,000 if you've attained Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum) which can be redeemed at 1:1.25 for 25,000 American Airlines miles. Plus, USAirways currently offers a 25% bonus for USAirways cardholders as well as an additional 25% if you're a Dividend Miles Preferred member, when you convert your Starwood Points to USAirways miles.
If you're planning on traveling this summer, it would be worth looking into this promotion either to save some money on stays or get a free trip on top of other stays you already have planned.