Whether you’re a fan of the Cleveland Indians or the Chicago cubs, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was guaranteed to be an historic event. What would a reasonable person pay for an opportunity to throw the first ceremonial pitch in that game? An impossible question to answer unless you are deal blogger Dan of dansdeals.com.
The loyalty program for Starwood Hotels (now owned by Marriott) routinely gives their members access to SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) Moments. These “moments” are exclusive events that may be concert seats in the SPG private box at the Barclay Center in New York City, the chance to play a private softball game at Wrigley Field, or in the case of last night: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw out the first pitch for the World Series.
Some loyalty programs in the past have allowed their customers to use their points through either auctions or fixed values for unique opportunities. Members of United and Delta frequent flyer programs have been able to use their points for unique airport experiences or flying full-cockpit flight simulators that pilots use to train.
How Many Hotel Points Are We Talking About?
A lot. More than most will accrue in their lifetime in fact. The ending price of the auction was… are you ready for this – 1,060,500 SPG points. How much would you have to spend at Starwood Hotels in order to earn that many points? If Dan were only earning by staying in hotels and earning points on the spend of his hotel stays, it could be as little as $265,125 or as much as $530,250!
Many loyalty programs earn points at varied rates and their redemptions are priced differently as well. For example, Starwood Hotels provides just 2 points per dollar spent for their lowest tier members and up to 4 points per dollar for their most loyal customers. A night in one of their hotels might cost as little art 2,000 points per night, which means that SPG has one of the lowest earn rates but also one of the lowest redemption rates. By contrast, IHG – owner of brands such as Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, and Crowne Plaza hotels – awards 10 points per dollar spent at most of their properties means that you will earn faster but their awards cost more to redeem. To be clear, Dan spent an absurd amount of the hardest hotel points to earn – it was a sizable investment.
How Did He Acquire All of Those Points?
While Dan published a long post here about why he bid so high and wanted to win the auction, he doesn’t mention how he acquired all of them. Given that American Express (who offers the SPG credit card) is a sponsor of his website it would be safe to assume that he has at least one of the business credit cards, and one of the personal AMEX SPG cards. We covered here why you might want to get an airline credit card, and for all of the same reasons you might also want to consider adding a hotel card to your wallet. Dan likely earned points not only on the sign-up bonus (currently 25,000 points) but also points for every dollar he spends on the card. That’s why Pen & Passport recommends you put all your spend on credit cards, and pay them off every month.
But in essence, his point accumulation was substantial, valuable, and unique.
Did He Get a Good Deal?
Using over a million SPG points correctly, one could fly a family of four in first class just about anywhere in the world, stay in five-star hotels and eat caviar breakfasts at the St. Regis for that amount of points. The minimum valuation for this redemption by points experts like Points with a Crew is $.02/point making this opportunity worth over $20,000.
Sometimes the value of points and miles can be attributed to cash amounts by using examples like the above – but points are really only worth what you can get out of them. Some would never trade that many points for any single transaction, others, like Dan wouldn’t hesitate.
For a lifetime Cleveland fan to throw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the World Series, this opportunity was truly once in a lifetime – and no matter how many points you have or how much someone else tells you they are worth, once-in-a-lifetime is always worth it.