A few weeks ago, Starwood and Caesars Entertainment announced a partnership that would enable Starwood members to earn and redeem points at Caesars hotels. The earn rate was announced right away (2 points per dollar spent), but at the time, no information was provided on the redemption rates. The program just went live, so today was our first opportunity to see what kind of redemption opportunities there would be. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to report that they’re laughably bad – do not waste your Starwood points on Caesars Entertainment hotel redemptions!
Unlike my predictions and unlike the Hyatt-MGM partnership, the Caesars hotels are not assigned to a specific Starwood hotel category, but instead the price in points looks to be primarily dictated by the cash price of the room. I took a look at the 9 Las Vegas hotels to see how the cash price compared to the number of Starwood points required. Here are the rates I found using the Starwood booking engine (for points), and the Total Rewards homepage (for cash):
When you plot the cash rate vs. the points rate, it looks like this:
That line of best fit has a slope of 105.19, meaning you need, on average, 105.19 Starwood points for every dollar saved. Invert that and you’ll see that you’re getting 0.95 cents for each Starwood point. Pretty miserable. I looked at this split for just weeknights or just weekends, and it really didn’t make much of a difference.
A few other things I noticed:
- The number of points required looks to operate in terms of thresholds (e.g. 7000, 9500, 12500, etc.) rather than a simple multiple of the cash price.
- Price alone doesn’t determine how many Starwood points will be required – you can see in the plot that there are cases where a room that requires say 12500 points might actually be cheaper than one requiring 15500. I don’t know what the rest of the secret formula is, but it could be driven by property-specific rules, seasonality, occupancy rates, etc.
- All of the info above is for single night stays. When you string together a multi-night stay, the pricing engine looks to price based on the total cost of the stay vs. pricing out the number of points required for each night and then just adding them up. It still operates on a threshold principle, and as a result the number of points required for a 2+ night stay sometimes differs a bit from the sum of the points required for successive single night stays. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less.
Suffice to say, I’m now viewing this partnership solely as an earn opportunity. I didn’t see any cases where the number of Starwood points required was remotely close to a desirable value vs. the cash price at that same hotel.
If you want to see for yourself, you can check out the booking engine at: http://totalrewards.spg.com/
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