One of the things I love about the Starwood Preferred Guest program is that you can earn through the “Make A Green Choice” program. While you can certainly use this program on paid stays as well, it’s especially cool that you can earn significant points back while on an award stay.
The SPG “Make A Green Choice” program is simple. For each day that you decline housekeeping (except the day of your departure) the hotel gives you a voucher. The voucher can be typically redeemed for ~$5 in food or drink, donated to UNICEF, or exchanged at check-out for Starpoints. I always choose the Starpoints. The goal of the program is to promote conservation of water and resources, and while many other hotels simply ask you to conserve (e.g. by hanging up your towels so that they don’t replace them), Starwood gives the customer an incentive.
If the hotel is a full service property, such as the Sheraton, you will receive 500 Starpoints per voucher. At the limited service brands of Four Points, Element, and Aloft, each voucher is only worth 250 Starpoints. I find the sweet spot of the benefit to be Category 1 and 2 Sheratons, where you can receive 1/8 to 1/4 of your points back each night on award stays. On paid stays, it’s simply a bonus. Note that not every SPG property participates in the “Make a Green Choice” program.
On our recent trip to Europe, my wife and I had three Starwood stays. The first was a single night at the St. Regis Rome, so we could not participate in the “Make A Green Choice” program for that stay. The second two were at Sheraton hotels. Our first stay was 6 nights, for which we declined housekeeping every day, and in exchange were given 5 vouchers. The second stay was 3 nights, and we received two vouchers, again declining housekeeping each day. Because Sheraton hotels are full-service SPG properties, we redeemed these vouchers for a total of 3,500 Starpoints. Including the SPG Gold elite welcome amenity of 250 Starpoints at each property, we earned a total of 4,000 Starpoints from our 2 stays, enough to book our final night at the Four Points Toronto Pearson for our overnight layover! Two award stays equal another award stay. Score!
I think the SPG “Make A Green Choice” program is great. I use it nearly every time I stay with Starwood. While I may be a bit cynical in believing that the actual driver behind the program is the hotels’ bottom line, rather than the environment, the program certainly does save resources, and it gives guests a real incentive to conserve. I wish more hotel chains would launch a program like this.
Header image courtesy of the Sheraton Athlone.