If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that one of the things I like most about the points hobby is it when it comes to redeem them for experiences that I couldn’t otherwise buy with cash – either because they are out of my price range, or they are literally not for sale.
SPG Moments falls into this category. Starwood put up for auction (or in some cases, direct purchase) tickets to music, sport and other entertainment events for which you can redeem your points, and within the few last weeks their Melbourne Grand Prix packages have come up for grabs once again – you can read about my SPG Moments experience at last year’s race here.
Last year they offered up a Starwood event in the evening with a Lewis Hamilton Q&A, but that’s not in place this year – at the most basic level, you’re redeeming your Starpoints for Grand Prix tickets and some food.
Given that I stuffed up and didn’t buy grandstand tickets early enough, I jumped on the deal. The Grand Prix is in mid-March, and Starwood have made the following packages available:
Tickets available for purchase (not auction)
- 2 x race day premium grandstand tickets and lunch (not corporate catering) – 15,000 Starpoints, 3 left available
- 2 x qualifying premium grandstand tickets and lunch – 15,000 Starpoints, 9 left available
These end March 4th, but will likely be sold out prior based on last year.
The value proposition is good (especially for the race day option) given that the ticket is for 2 grandstand tickets that would usually clock a value of around $150-$200 per ticket, giving a redemption value north of 2c per Starpoint.
VIP Packages available at auction
- Race day VIP hospitality packages for two people – see the team up close, catered lunch / box and Mercedes AMG merchandise – 2 available
- Qualifying VIP hospitality packages for two people – 2 available
- Practice day VIP hospitality packages for two people – 2 available
The auction format means the auction has an end date of March 4th, 4am EST but any bids in the last 5 minutes of the auction extend that end time for another 5 minutes. The auction then only ends when there have been no bids for a clear 5 minute period.
This means that technically auctions can continue on for some time after their scheduled close date, with prices increasing until the maximum is reached – great for Starwood, less good for bargain hunters.
This is the biggest downside – the auction format of the VIP experiences means you may not know if you have won until relatively close to the race, and probably too late for my taste to be able to make travel plans. At least with the outright purchase option I can purchase and make plans accordingly.
Earning Starwood Preferred Guest points
Starpoints are primarily available to us as a American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. You can also earn with a Diners card – that’s outside of Starwood hotel stays, of course.
I had a blast last year, and will be going again with the non-VIP package this year, so maybe I’ll see you at the race…