Top 10: Use the Starwood Sign Up Bonus for a Disney Vacation

Starwood recently increased their credit card signup bonus to an all-time high. You can earn 35,000 points, worth more than $1,000 if used strategically. Earning the bonus requires spending $5,000 in the first six months (more details at the bottom). This means you’ll end up with 40,000 points or more when you complete the sign up bonus.

We decided to rank the top 10 ways to use 40,000 Starwood points for a Disney vacation.

1) 5 Nights at the Dolphin

A four star hotel that often runs over $300 a night, the Dolphin is only 10,000 Starwood points per night. Plus when you redeem four nights on points, you get a fifth night free. This could save you $1,500 on your Disney vacation. You can read the full details on this strategy HERE.

2) 5 Nights at the Sheraton Park Anaheim

A half mile walk to the esplanade between Disneyland and DCA, the Sheraton Park Anaheim is one of our favorite hotels for a Disneyland vacation. Standard rooms average close to $250 a night when paying cash. On points, you’ll pay 10,000 points per night. Plus, like the Dolphin, you can get a fifth night free on points. So, your 40,000 points will get you five free nights worth almost $1,250.

3) Fly to Aulani from the West Coast

Starwood allows you to transfer points to about 30 different airlines, usually at a 1:1 rate. Plus, for every 20,000 points you transfer, you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus. This means 40,000 Starwood points can become 50,000 airline miles.

If you live on the West Coast, you can actually book round trip flights through British Airways for only 25,000 miles to Hawaii. You’ll end up flying partner airlines, either Alaska or American, but you’re able to book your flight using the British Airways award chart. Since round trip flights to Hawaii typically cost $500-$600, you’ll save $1,000-$1,200 on your trip to Aulani.

4) 3 Nights at the Ritz Carlton Orlando

Want to make your friends think you’re more successful than you are? Take a few selfies at the Ritz Carlton. The hotel is part of the Marriott program and costs 40,000 Marriott points per night (120,000 for three nights). You can transfer Starwood points to Marriott at a rate of 1:3, so your 40,000 Starwood points would get you exactly 120,000 Marriott points.

5) 3 Nights at Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance

This is one of the of the most popular new hotels at Disneyland. It’s right across the street from the Matterhorn and has a heated water playground. At 35,000 Marriott points, it costs 11,667 Starwood points with the 1:3 transfer rate. With 40,000 points, you’d have enough for three free nights. But, Marriott also offers a 5th Night Free on rewards stays, so if you save up a little longer you could stay five nights. You’d need 46,667 Starwood points for a five night stay.

6) Fly to Disneyland on Alaska Airlines

Unfortunately, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are not airline transfer partners with Starwood. Those two are our favorite for domestic flights on points. But, Alaska Airlines recently introduced some reduced rate reward flights for short distances. You can fly into John Wayne Airport in Orange County for 10,000 miles round trip from the Bay Area or 15,000 miles from Portland or Seattle.

Since you get a bonus on airline transfers, 40,000 Starwood points would get you 50,000 Alaska Airlines points.

7) Ride the Rails to Orlando

Take an Amtrak all the way from New York (or other East Coast cities) to Orlando in your own Amtrak Viewliner Bedroom. You’ll have two beds, a shower, and toilet in your room for this 24 hour journey. Amtrak is a 1:1 transfer partner with Starwood. Two passengers would cost about $750 from New York or around 25,000 points. It could be a fun adventure to take the train down and fly home.

8) Use Cash & Points

Save half your points per night and pay a little bit of cash. This can be a great way to save, but there are two drawbacks. First, you can’t use the fifth night free option when paying cash and points. Second, the availability of rooms in this program is extremely limited. Take advantage of this option if you can find it, but don’t count on finding availability for the dates you plan to travel.

9) SPG Moments

Starwood offers special experiences you can only get on points. Last year, one person paid over one million Starwood points to throw out the first pitch at Game 7 of the World Series. How’s that for a once in a lifetime experience?

While not technically Disney related, you could get two tickets in Starwood’s Luxury Suite for the upcoming Lakers and Cavaliers game in LA for 40,000 points. It would be pretty special to watch Lebron James take on the Lakers from box seats while on a Disneyland vacation.

10) 2 Nights at Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel

Ever thought about visiting Tokyo Disneyland? The Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel is on the resort loop. You can stay there for 20,000-24,000 points per night depending on the season. While this would be an amazing experience, the hotel averages around $200 a night, so it’s not actually a great value for your points.

Sign Up Bonus Details

When you apply for the card, you can earn an initial bonus of 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Then, you can get another 10,000 points for spending another $2,000 in the first six months. Between the total sign up bonus of 35,000 and the 5,000 or more points you’ll have earned by spending enough to attain it, you’ll have at least 40,000 Starwood points.

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  • What kind of points: Hotel and Airline
  • Sign Up Bonus: 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months; an additional 10,000 points after spending another $2,000 in the first six months
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived first year)
  • How to Earn Points: 2x at Starwood & Marriott, 1x on everything else
  • Value of a Point: 2.4 cents
  • How to Spend Points: Redeem for hotels and transfer to airlines for flights
  • Our favorite Use: Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin