Update Jan 16 2016: SPG confirmed via Twitter that you don’t start earning each year until you have completed one SPG stay. Their language (second image below) could have been construed as just applying to the year you register (though could also easily be read to say you need one stay each year before the meter turns on). Turns out you do need a stay before you earn each year.
This week, I am in Chicago for several days for business meetings.
Being my first business trip of the year, for a points-earning reason, I’m intentionally staying at an SPG hotel. Chicago isn’t a particularly strong SPG city for high-end travel, but in light of the points benefit, for a solo business trip, going the SPG route is worth it!
For the time being at least (until Marriott ruins the party), if you link your accounts, you can earn SPG points for each Uber ride. The accrual rate is 1 SPG point per dollar spent, with higher earning rates for rides during your SPG stay.
I’ll use Uber a few times during the stay. I’m curious if I’ll automatically get the 3x offered to Gold SPG members.
SPG has a provision, however, that says you must complete one qualifying SPG stay in a calendar year to earn these points. I don’t believe there are any catch-up credits for rides earlier in the year prior to your first stay.
So, in order to tick the qualifying stay box as early as possible this year, I’m at the W Lakeshore in Chicago this week. Owing presumably to its lakeside location and bitter cold weather (a high of 22F, or -3C is predicted during my stay), I was able to get a rate which is very low at this hotel – lower than usual.
I’ve stayed here before, but not reported on the property. From prior stays, I think of the property as pretty much a standard W. We’ll see how this stay goes. I’ll post a stay report from this visit shortly.
Looking at the SPG/Uber earnings, they do cap your earnings to the first $10k you spend on Uber. Looking back at my records, I spent a little less than $5k on Uber last year. Maybe I’ll end up higher this year. I suspect not too many exceed the $10k/year cap. Registration with SPG is required to earn SPG points for Uber rides. Register here.
For Uber, I pay with my Amex Platinum card. This gets me 2 Membership Rewards Points for each dollar spent on Uber. (This is the same earn rate for Uber as Chase Sapphire Preferred. I have a lot of travel and dining spend which goes on CSP, so it is nice to get the spend on Amex for the same rate.)
Finally, for SPG, I’m also linked to my Delta account. I’ll earn SPG points for each dollar I spend on Delta going to and returning from Chicago, as well as Delta points for each dollar spent at the SPG property (may be room rate only…not sure). As a Delta Diamond, I end up spending a fair bit on Delta tickets each year. For someone with less than five stays annually at SPG properties, the Delta Crossover points have helped me build up quite a decent SPG balance.
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The one thing I realized I missed earlier this year was the Emirates/SPG bonus. I flew home from Cape Town on Emirates (EK) and may have been able to accrue extra SPG points for my trip! I credited my EK flights to Alaska, so I’m not sure the SPG bonus would have happened even if I had registered. Register here.
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To recap, in addition to Delta points for flying Delta (11 per dollar), Delta points for using my Delta Reserve card (2.5 per dollar, including MQM bonus) and SPG points for staying at an SPG hotel (3 per dollar, with Gold bonus due to my Amex Platinum card), the various bonuses I’m capturing are:
- SPG earning on Uber rides (1x or greater)
- Amex 2x earning on Uber rides
- SPG points for spend on my Delta ticket
- Delta points for spend at the SPG hotel
That’s a lot to keep track of. Make sure all of your accounts are linked up!