Collecting points for freebies is fun isn’t it? When I was a kid, I had a piggie bank which was filled almost religiously every week, and a little box in which I stashed coupons from the neighbourhood supermarket and fast-food chain. Reaching the required number of points and redeeming them was always cause for a little celebration – it felt like an achievement and the freebie (in most cases, candy or a burger) somehow tasted better! These days, collecting points for more travel opportunities is much like a second nature to me. With frequent traveller cards by major airline alliances and hotel chains in my wallet, I collect points whenever I can, and I love just browsing through the loyalty card websites to check the different rewards. I would then make mental notes of what I would like to do and the number of points required. As soon as I reach this number, the big excitement begins! How shall I spend these hard-earned points? On accommodation, flights or an upgrade? For me, this is the biggest kick, knowing that I have all these options from the points I earned.

What would you do with 100,000 Starpoints?

One fine day, I was approached by American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) to experience the exclusive benefits offered by The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. The email read: “What would you do with 100,000 Starpoints?” I didn’t need more persuasion to accept the challenge!

There were no restrictions – I could redeem the Starpoints for a stay at any of the over 1,100 luxurious Starwood properties (think Sheraton, W Hotels and St. Regis, amongst others) and flights on over 150 airlines. That sent my mind into a flurry of activity. I wasn’t sure what 100,000 Starpoints would be worth so I headed straight for the Starwood Preferred Guest® website to look up the possibilities. Imagine my reaction when I discovered that hotel stays started at 2,000 Starpoints a night and there were no blackout dates for both hotels and flights! It took me ages to sift through the many options – it was easy enough to redeem the Starpoints for an indulgent getaway anywhere in Europe or even a weekend in New York.

With vivid images of the past winter still lingering in my mind, my attention shifted to somewhere warmer in southern Europe. Athens, Barcelona, Rome, Sardinia, southern Portugal, Cyprus….. it was hard to choose. The properties all looked stunning, making it even harder to make a decision. One thing I decided very quickly was to take my partner with me – I figured I needed to share the joy of spending all those Starpoints with someone special. I finally settled for a five-day trip to Gran Canaria, a popular winter getaway destination for northern Europeans. We’ll stay at the beautiful Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort and Spa. Situated in the hills and surrounded by the undulating greens of one of Spain’s most exclusive golf courses, the resort offers rooms with panoramic views of the hills and the Atlantic Ocean.

sheraton salobre photo
The Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort in Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria

Located off the coast of Morocco, Gran Canaria is one of the largest Canary Islands and has Las Palmas as its capital. It is mostly volcanic with a mountainous interior and a sandy coastline. The main tourist hubs are in the south of the island, where it’s warmer and sunnier, whilst the countryside is characterised by picturesque villages, forests, rugged peaks and verdant valleys. With a bit of luck, it may be warm enough for a day at the beach – the resort has its own private beach club – or at one of the splendid pools. We’ve also hired a car during our stay so we’ll definitely be exploring the rest of the island.

Views of the Atlantic Ocean and Mt. Teida in Tenerife (in the distance) from the hills of Gran Canaria (image courtesy of azuaje).
One of the many picturesque villages in Gran Canaria (image courtesy of azuaje).

I booked four nights at the Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort and Spa for 28,000 Starpoints and two return tickets with Air Europa from Amsterdam via Madrid to Las Palmas for 70,000 Starpoints. The bookings were made in a flash – well, easy enough once I made my choice – and to top it off, there are no blackout dates and all taxes are included in the Starpoints. As you can imagine, I’m really looking forward to this luxurious winter getaway in Gran Canaria, all thanks to 100,000 fabulous Starpoints.

NOTE: This trip has taken place. Please read all about my luxurious winter getaway in Gran Canaria.

You can start collecting Starpoints with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and save for a luxurious getaway with every purchase – you earn 1 Starpoint for each £1 spent. For my UK readers, they’re currently throwing in a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Starpoints until 30th of January 2013 when you apply, are approved and spend £2,000 in the first three months of Cardmembership.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by American Express and Starwood

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Representative example: Representative 36.2% APR variable. Based on annual fee of £75 and assumed credit limit of £1200. Interest rate for purchases: 19.9% p.a. variable.

Applicants must be 18 years old or over. Approval is subject to status and terms and conditions apply. The information relating to the financial information of the Card is the responsibility of American Express Services Europe Limited and SPG accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, registered in England and Wales is an introducer appointed representative for insurance mediation activities only, of American Express Insurance Services Europe Limited. The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is offered by American Express Services Europe Limited registered office: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom registered in England and Wales, Company Number 1833139, and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (reference number 415532) for the provision of payment services. American Express Services Europe Limited is an appointed representative for insurance mediation activities only, of American Express Insurance Services Europe Limited (reference number 311684) who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services Register. American Express Services Europe Limited also subscribes to the Lending Code which is monitored and enforced by the Lending Standards Board and is licensed by the Office of Fair Trading for the provision of credit products and related services.

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