November 29th, 2012
-You can earn 10,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and another 15,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 within 6 months on both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN.
-Through 12/14 you can buy Starpoints for 2.8 cents each directly from SPG. That means you can buy weekday nights in this hotel for $84 and weekend nights in this hotel for $56. No tax is charged on Starpoint stays.
-Alternatively if you have a Starwood credit card you can also call AMEX to borrow Starpoints and pay them back with future spending on the card and by opening a new card.
The Le Meridien Dead Sea is one of the great bargains in the Starwood system. Rates there are often above $300 per night and yet it’s bizarrely only a Category 1 hotel. This means that weekend nights cost just 2,000 Starpoints and weekdays cost just 3,000 Starpoints. A $331 rate there comes out to $384 with tax. On a weekend night that means a whopping 19.2 cents per Starpoint value. If you could only get that same value from the 25K Starpoints that come with their credit card that would be $4,800 More realistically if you value your Starpoints at 2.2 cents each that means a weekend night will set you back the equivalent of $44 worth of points and a weekday night will set you back the equivalent of $66 worth of points.
Plus if you have Starwood Gold elite status (which comes free automatically with The Platinum Card® from American Express or by spending $30,000 on a Starwood card in a calendar year) you get a 250 Starpoint rebate and if you are Starwood Platinum elite status you get a 500 Starpoint rebate. Plus the hotel is good with giving suite upgrades to elite members. As a Platinum member if I’d stay for 1 weekend night for 1,500 points instead of $384 that would be 25.6 cents per point…anyway enough with the numbers fun.
Now the Le Meridien Dead Sea is notorious for trying to circumvent the rules of the SPG program and blocking award availability unless you call SPG and try to push your case. Additionally until recently there wasn’t even a single date open in 2013.
However I just did a check on SPG.com and there now is pretty decent availability for all of 2013 for Starpoint awards. It’s not a luxury hotel, but it sure is a Starpoint bargain!
I think that there’s a decent chance that this hotel goes up in category for 2013. Reorganization like that typically occurs in February or March but if you are booked before the reorganization you lock in the current rate for anytime you are booked, even if the rate goes up before then.
To find availability just type in Dead Sea on SPG.com, then click on “Browse Dates/Rates,” click on SPG Free Nights, and then browse the calendar to find dates. The dates that are greyed out are unavailable from SPG.com