You Can Now Redeem Starpoints for a Havana Hotel Stay
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Several airlines have been approved for service from the US to Cuba, and you can even redeem AAdvantage miles for flights to the island nation for travel dates starting in mid-September. It’s great news that you’ll be able to book award flights to the country later this year, and the opening of the first US-branded points hotel in Cuba makes this destination even more appealing to award travelers.
Back in March, Starwood signed a deal with Cuba to operate three properties in Havana, and we’re now learning that the first of those is now bookable with Starpoints. You can currently reserve a stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Havana (formerly the Hotel Quinta Avenida) using rewards earned from your Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
The Four Points by Sheraton Havana is listed as a Category 6 Starwood property, requiring 20,000-25,000 points per night for a standard room. That’s a seriously steep rate for a hotel in one of Starwood’s lower-end brands, but this is clearly due to the fact that points hotels are a novelty in Cuba. However, based on award searches for various dates, it appears the property is pricing out as a Category 5 hotel, with awards going as low as 16,000 points per night.
There’s award availability even as early as tomorrow, June 29, though with cash rates starting at $192 per night you’re probably better of paying out of pocket, since TPG values Starpoints at 2.5 cents apiece. Cash rates are currently less than $200 per night for dates in mid-September, too, so if you book early you could lock in a relatively affordable stay once airlines begin service from the US to Cuba. For travel in late December, though, nightly rates rise to $403, so there are some instances when an award stay could be worth considering.
While the Four Points by Sheraton brand isn’t exactly synonymous with luxury, this property looks like a perfectly decent option, with a location near Monte Barreto Ecological Park and 12km from Old Havana. Plus, since the hotel was previously operated as a non-Starwood property, it looks to have considerably more character than your typical Four Points hotel, including a grand staircase and statues in the atrium-style lobby and a sprawling outdoor pool.
With airlines offering award flights set to begin service from the US to Cuba, it only makes sense that hotel brands would follow suit by opening up points properties where you can redeem rewards for free nights. Now that the Four Points by Sheraton Havana is officially open and accepting reservations, Cuba is becoming a bona-fide award travel destination — not that it wasn’t worth visiting before.
H/T: One Mile at a Time