Credit Cards Reviews

Hotel Stays in June

Our family was on the road for a bit and had a few hotel stays in June. I thought it would be good to show some of the examples that I have used my recently acquired points for.

In the beginning of the month, we headed down near Pittsburgh to see my in-laws. The hotel that worked out to be the most convenient for us was the Four Points Sheraton Pittsburgh North. The nightly rate was $175 plus tax but as a category 2, it was only going to take 4,000 points. That brought my point value to a very healthy 4.4 cents per point. This was a great use of my points, so we went ahead and purchased it with points.

Four Points Sheraton Pittsburgh North – 910 Sheraton Drive, Mars, PA – Category 2

Check-in was quick. They have a registration desk for Gold/Platinum SPG members and two registration desks for other guests. There were a couple of people in the regular line but no one in the Gold/Platinum line (I am a Gold member). The room was quite spacious and the beds were very comfortable (our kids slept until 9:30 one morning!).

A guest room at the Four Points Sheraton

The Atrium

The Pool and Hot Tub

There were a couple of things that I was not fond of. The first was the internet. They did not have wireless internet available in the rooms, just the wired option. That did not work out too well for me since I do not have an ethernet port on my Macbook Air. I don’t like having to bring different cables and adapters on a trip, but I was at least able to connect through my phone.

The second thing (which to me was a bigger concern) was the condition of the workout center. I love hotels that have a 24 hour fitness center as any runs I take when traveling with my family have to take place after they have gone to sleep.  This hotel did have a 24 hour center but you would not know that when you are trying to find it. It is near the pool area (which closes at 10PM) and that was completely dark when I arrived (I was there at 10:15). As I tried to find it, an employee walked up to inform me that the pool was closed. I told him that I wanted to use the fitness center. He did not seem that thrilled about that and turned on the lights and told me to make sure I turned them off when I left. The interior was so hot and humid that it was very uncomfortable running in there. The room is very cramped with only 2 treadmills (for a very large hotel). Definitely not my favorite hotel fitness center but it did work in a pinch!

Westin Atlanta Airport – 4736 Best Road, Atlanta, GA – Category 2

After that trip, we had to take another to Georgia. Our last day in Georgia, we had to stay in Atlanta. There are a host of hotel possibilities in Atlanta! We wanted something that would give us ease of access for going to the Georgia Aquarium while at the same time keeping us somewhat near the airport for our flight the next day. The hotel that we ended up using was the Westin Atlanta Airport. The rate was $89 + tax which is a very reasonable rate for this category 2. I have stayed there a couple of times before and found it to be very convenient and very comfortable (the Westin hotels feature the Heavenly Beds and the Heavenly Showers). I used points for that since I really did not want to pay for the room. Since we were staying on a Friday night, it only cost us 3,000 points (a Category 2 costs 4,000 points during the week and 3,000 points on the weekend). That gave our points a value of 3 cents per point. Another good value!

The hotel was very nice and well suited for our family. They put us on the 10th floor (the top floor) – the 9th and 10th floors are reserved for the Starwood Preferred members. My kids really enjoyed the glass elevator that gave us a great view of the lobby below as well as the airport in the distance. They enjoyed each trip up and down! They also REALLY liked the bed! We knew it wasn’t going to be easy for them coming back home to their beds after how nice the Westin beds were.

The fitness center at this hotel was quite spacious and very well air-conditioned. I definitely enjoyed my run here. The only drawback of this hotel is that its location is not well suited if you want to get some food outside of the hotel (it is not that preferred for our young family to eat at hotel restaurants). It takes a few miles to get to even a fast food restaurant and that can take a very long time depending on the time of day. It is however very well situated for access to the airport. All in all, a very good hotel stay and my current favorite for an Atlanta airport hotel.

A King Guest Room

The Entrance

Interior King Guest Room


Now, what was my point outlay for these rooms? It cost me 11,000 SPG points for rooms that would have cost me $439 before tax. I was very content in paying with points instead of using cash. The best part? You can get 10,000 SPG points after your first purchase with the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card! That is a really good deal! I wrote before about the benefits of the SPG program and the SPG card. With the card below, you can get enough bonus points to do what we did TWICE and still have enough leftover for one more weekend night at a Category 2! My wife has this card and I have both the personal and business versions of this. You can actually get this card and the bonus if you wait 12 months after you had the card before which makes it easy to get SPG points. Good luck with your stays and Happy Independence Day!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.