Read This: Thoughts on How to Pay for Starwood Stay

With a two-night stay at Le Parker Meridien in New York City coming up this summer, I did some points vs. cash analysis to figure out the best way to pay for the hotel.  I thought I'd share my analysis.

As a Category 6 SPG property, the stay will cost 40,000 SPG points (20k per night) or $715.00 after taxes using a wedding rate.  Based on this, I narrowed my payment choice to three options: Starwood Points redemption, charge to my SPG American Express, or charge to my Barclay Arrival MasterCard.  

A new notes before I get to the chart: 
  • I have enough SPG points to last me a couple years based on historical trends.  Likewise, I have enough Arrival points to cover the trip.
  • How/Why I calculated "Points per $3.95":  I basically pay for points because I can get more value from using the points vs. buying the points (4/5 of a penny or much less per point).  I do this using Bluebird and Serve accounts and it's a bit complex.  If you want to read more on this, I recommend reading some of the Frequent Miler's posts on the subject.  
  • I have SPG Gold status, which provides three points per dollar on hotel stays.  The SPG Amex earns two points per dollar on eligible Starwood hotel charges.  The Arrival card earns two points per dollar on any charge.  
  • I didn't include using Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards points because the reservation options for this hotel were screwy and I was afraid I'd be stuck with a sub-par room if I used this option.
Here's my chart (it's a little ugly because I wasn't planning on sharing it).

Chart: I'm not sure this will make sense to other people
So, which option do you think I chose...

Answer: I'm going with the Barclay Arrival option.  Here's why:
  • Lowest in Overall Cash Cost.
  • Earns both good SPG and Arrival points from the charge.
  • Finally, while it's not included in the analysis in the chart, I don't like the 1.8 cents per point value from using my SPG points.  I like to get at least 2 cents per point out of using SPG points.  
That's it.  I just though I'd share.  Does this make sense to anyone else? 

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