FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Round The World With Starwood Platinum

Dec 1, 2011
2011 / December 2011

This past year I set a goal-visit 25 countries. To date, my travels have taken me to such exciting places as Tasmania and the Antarctic. I’ve ridden the Orient Express from Venice to London, and e-chatted with friends back home from an Internet café in India. Throughout it all, the one thing I’ve found most beneficial is my Starwood Platinum Card. As a platinum veteran of four years, I am still amazed at the benefits of the card. We spend so much time battling for airline upgrades, many of us forget that we actually spend more time in our hotel rooms than in the air.

The Starwood program features more than 700 unique hotels worldwide divided among six individual brands-Westin, Sheraton, Four Points, St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W Hotels. Twenty-five stays or 50 nights per calendar year is the requirement for earning platinum status. That gets you a late checkout at 4 p.m., but the key benefit is the spaceavailable upgrade to a suite. In many cases, the hotels book the upgrade prior to your arrival. That little perk has allowed me the pleasure of experiencing some truly glorious suites in hotels around the world, including the Westin Excelsior in Rome, Sheraton Imperial in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria, and San Cristobal Tower in Santiago, Chile.

Still, I was happily surprised when I arrived in Sydney, Australia, for the Rugby World Finals. I had redeemed Starwood points to book a four-night stay at the Four Points Sheraton Darling Harbour (formerly the Nikko Hotel). Booking online took less than two minutes and required a relatively low point value for such a grand hotel. I knew the city was completely booked for the rugby finals, so I assumed I’d be assigned the standard twin room I had reserved. Much to my surprise, I was upgraded to a beautiful suite with a terrace overlooking bustling Darling Harbour. Most airlines would never consider offering an upgrade on reward travel.

Although I enjoy flying first- or business-class much as anyone, my stays in first-class accommodations have been highlights of the destinations I’ve visited. Starwood has consistently extended this benefit to me, regardless of the hotel rate I’ve booked. In addition, many Starwood properties I’ve visited have made an effort to have much-appreciated welcome amenities
waiting for platinum members on arrival.

Membership in the Starwood Preferred Guest program is free. For information, visit www.spg.com.

I’ll check in with you next time after my winter ski trip to Davos, Switzerland. Until then, happy trails.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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