April 17, 2017

Hotel Points For Free Stays in Venice Italy

Traveling to Europe can be really expensive. Venice Italy is no exception, especially if you want to stay around the touristic area of the famous Grand Canal or the St. Mark's Square (NOT Mestre). This is when hotel points are extremely useful. In this article, I am going to just focus on hotels in the St. Mark's Square area that you can use points for free night stays. The hotel programs that you can use points for are: Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood (SPG). There used to be a Choice hotel program's property there, but that property had since then moved out of Choice program.

This is the Venice that You Want to be at (NOT Mestre)1
Hilton
There's a Hilton Molino Stucky Venice there. The points required for one free night stay starts from 50,000 Hilton Points, but it's not that easy to find an award stay that costs that many points unless you plan things super in advanced, not to mention during summer peak time. Last I checked for May was 140,000 Hilton Points. That's because the standard room's award stay was already sold out for the date that I wanted. Moreover, Hilton this year also changed how the cash and points program work and that's an unfortunate thing because the change does not do any good in this type of redemption when the rate soars at least $500 per night stay. My words of advice is, just keep checking and make sure you can score a room with the least possible points without paying a lot of money out of your pocket. In the instance of 140,000 Hilton Points for one free night stay, no thanks! The cash and points option for that redemption is even worse than paying for the room with full cash.

Marriott
There's a category 9 Marriott's Autograph Collection of Boscolo Venezia property there. One free night stay requires 45,000 Marriott Points. That is awful lot of points! But keep in mind that, due to the merger between Marriott and Starwood (SPG), 1 Starpoint can be transferred into 3 Marriott Points. What this means is that, if you have SPG Starpoints, you can transfer 15,000 Starpoints and that will get you 45,000 Marriott Points. 15,000 points for one free luxurious stay in expensive Venice, that's a great deal! If you are Gold member with Marriott, you can even get continental breakfast at Autograph Collection properties free of charge.

Starwood (SPG)
There are four SPG properties there. 3 are category 7 properties, and 1 is category 6 property.
SPG's category 7 hotels require 30,000 or 35,000 Starpoints for one free night stay. Those properties are:
  • PalazzinaG, Venice, A Member Of Design Hotels
  • The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel
  • Hotel Danieli, A Luxury Collection Hotel
The one and only category 6 property is the one that I want to focus on because it requires lesser points. For one free night stay at the The Westin Europa & Regina in Venice, you will need 20,000 or 25,000 Starpoints depending on the traveling dates. So if you can get a free room for 20,000 points, that'd be ideal. Here's how points work at the Westin Europa & Regina.
  • 20,000 Starpoints will get you a Classic Room type. If available, you can reserve the room online. 
    • Points and cash option is also available: 10,000 Starpoints plus $180 before tax. 
  • 21,500 Starpoints will get you a Deluxe Room type. You will need to call SPG to check availability and reserve the room for you. 
  • 22,500 Starpoints will get you a Premium Room type. You will need to call SPG to check availability and reserve the room for you. 
My words of advice is, don't get too picky on the room types. Just pick the least possible points required for a free night stay and if you are Gold member with Starwood, you can make a request for a room upgrade if available upon check in. If the Classic Room types are sold out on the dates that you want, it may be worth it to call up SPG and see if the next available room type is available for points redemption. I honestly think you can't go wrong with any of these room types at the Westin compared to paying for the nightly rate there that's outrageously high.

Conclusion
Venice is an expensive European city in Italy to visit when it comes to lodging. Thankfully there are three hotel points programs such as Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood (SPG) that you can use points for a free night stay there. Among all 3 programs and specially for Venice destination, Marriott is my top choice due to the merger between Marriott and Starwood. One free night at the Marriott's Boscolo Venezia, Autograph Collection requires 45,000 Marriott Points or merely 15,000 Starpoints. My next choice is Starwood's The Westin Europa & Regina, which is a category 6 property that requires 20,000 Starpoints for one free night stay or 10,000 Starpoints plus $180.

HERE ARE 4 TIPS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER:
  1. Start racking up points for those hotel programs. The best way to get those points fast is to sign up for each hotel program's credit cards. Check out the Best Credit Cards Offers section. 
  2. Starwood Credit Card will give you Gold status automatically upon approval. Then you can instantly match that status with Marriott program and become Marriott's Gold Elite member. Being Gold member will give you complimentary room upgrade at check-in and free continental breakfast at Autograph Collections properties. 
  3. Be strategic and diversify those hotel programs. Don't just stick with one program. Check availability of each hotel, and move around stays if needed. They are all well located by the Grand Canal and the St. Mark's Square area, so you can't really go wrong with any hotels that are mentioned here. 
  4. Although you can use hotel points to stay for free in Venice, there are some instances that paying with cash on a decent hotel there might make better sense for you. It all depends on your budget and priorities. The golden rule is, if paying with cash stays there is outrageously expensive, then see if you can use hotel points to help. If it's cheaper to stay at a decent hotel with cash, then save those hotel points for another exotic and luxurious properties. Starwood's Starpoints are incredibly valuable because you can transfer those points into a handful of airline miles as well for free flying. 

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