I have written quite a bit about SPG Moments and how valuable they can be. I have also bid on a few auction items (some I lost) that I found to have genuine value. Recently, I did win one that my wife and daughter were able to take advantage of – and they loved it! But, it is not like your normal online auction so I thought it would be good to explain a bit on how they work and what to look for.
SPG Moments Auctions
What Are They?
SPG Moments Auctions are items that involve some kind of experience and often include transportation and/or lodging for the duration of the event. It is a one-price-for-all structure where you pay with SPG Starpoints and there is no cash involved. The auctions run for a certain length of time and then, if you win, you will receive the details of your SPG Moments package.
It is important to know that in addition to the auctions, there are also SPG Moments packages that are available for outright redemptions. These are things like event tickets.
How SPG Moments Auctions Work
To bid on SPG Moments auctions, you will use your Starpoints balance. This means that whatever you have in your account, you will be able to bid with. The system will not let you bid on an item if it requires more Starpoints than you have (even though there is some language saying if you do not have the Starpoints after the auction to make the purchase, the item will go to someone else).So, make sure that you do not have other plans with the points if the auction does not end for a while and you make a bid!
Some SPG Moments packages will have more than one package available. If that is the case, you can choose which package to bid on (even though they all are the same thing). This can be handy if the bidding gets higher on one package than another. This happened with me where our winning bid was 4,000 Starpoints fewer than one of the package winning bids.
When the Bidding Ends
Here is an annoying thing – while there is an end time for bidding, if there is a bid made within 5 minutes of the auction ending, it is extended for another 5 minutes. Since many of us are used to swooping in auctions in the final minutes to make a winning bid and snag it away, this practice can be annoying. But, remember that it is SPG that makes the rules and that they want people to redeem as many Starpoints as possible so it is setup in their favor. In our winning auction, the auction actually ended a full 55 minutes after it was supposed to end! So, be prepared to be at the computer for a while if it is an item you really want.
If there is more than one package available, the clock gets reset anytime any of the packages receives a bid so it can stretch out even if you are the winning bidder on one of the packages.
Check the Dates
SPG Moments are for specific dates and locations. If you cannot make the date work for you, do not bid as you cannot move it around! SPG Moments packages can be redeemed for anyone you choose, but you will need to contact SPG Moments to make that transfer so they know that it is not being traded or sold.
What To Look For
I look at a lot of SPG Moments auctions to try and find the gems and there are some things that I have found to look for.
Look Past the Title
I have said this before – even if you have no interest in the headline event for the package (maybe you do not care for a painting class), click on it to see what is offered! If it is a multi-day event, it will almost certainly come with lodging (at a Starwood property, of course). This is where you can realize some tremendous value! I have seen Category 6 hotels (20,000 – 25,000 points per night) that had a two night stay included go for only 20,000 points!
Check the Event Date and End Date
There are a lot of auctions that end just a couple/few days before the actual event! If it is a package that is in Europe, that can mean that you may be able to get it at a good rate since not that many people are going to plan for a trip around an auction win – with a day’s notice. I have seen many European and Asian packages go for a tremendous value in points likely due to the fact that the end date was just a couple of days before the event. If you are flexible, this could be a big help!
Check the Room
Many SPG Moments packages come with upgraded rooms at the SPG hotels. There was one that I was really wanting to win that put the winner in one of two Bentley Suites in the entire world. This suite went for over $5,000 per night! I have seen many packages include deluxe or upgraded room/suites with the SPG Moments packages so always check that out, especially if it is a city that you were planning on visiting as the upgraded room may make room for more people than what you could redeem points for.
Know Your Limit and Value
If you have ever bid on anything, you know that the adrenline rush can be something to fear towards the end of the auction! 🙂 If that happens to you, make sure you put the value down for everything at retail cost before you start bidding. If the entire package is worth $1,600 and you value your Starpoints at 2.5 cents each, you should not go over 65,000 Starpoints (which I feel is quite high to bid for $1,600 anyway). Remember, do not include the things that you do not have an interest in (if it comes with concert tickets and you hate music, do not include those tickets’ value in the cost). Also keep in mind what the hotel goes for a on daily basis anyway in points and use that as a good baseline not to go above as well. Since this is restricted to a single day, I would probably only pay 80% of the retail point cost for the hotel if I was only marginally interested in the package offerings.
Remember that some of the experiences that you may bid on may be something you could not buy at retail anyway. While there are ways you could get some of these things, events like red carpet opportunities or singing the National Anthem at a MLB game are some things that you might not be able to do with any other currency. These things are events that you really need to want and are ready to pay for – but they can provide a lot of value in memories!
SPG Moments Auctions can be a tremendous way to get great value on your Starpoints – and even get access to some events that you would otherwise not be able to. Use this post to figure out a few things about how they work and what to look for to get the best value from SPG Moments auctions.
What are some of the great SPG Moments auctions you have won?