I’ve been invited to participate in the Starwood American Express “Stars” program for the past two years, which has given me the incredible opportunity to experience some events courtesy of the card. Possibly the coolest part of participating in the program is that with each experience I’m able to give away a prize to a reader courtesy of the Starwood American Express. For example, earlier this year I stayed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, and was able to give away 30,000 Starpoints in conjunction with the stay. Similarly, I was invited to the US Open and stayed at the Westin Grand Central, and was also able to give away 30,000 Starpoints in conjunction with the stay.

A few weeks ago the Starwood American Express sent me on a peak season holiday trip. They deposited 70,000 Starpoints into my SPG account, which I could redeem for two nights at any US property in the November through December timeframe. Given that I live in the Pacific Northwest, escaping to a warm climate in November sounded pretty awesome. So I decided to book the St. Regis Bahia Beach, which costs 30,000 Starpoints per night.

St-Regis-Bahia-Beach1

It was certainly nice to escape freezing Seattle and spend a couple of days in sunny Puerto Rico at the St. Regis! A review of the property will follow shortly.

St-Regis-Bahia-Beach2

Anyway, as part of the experience the Starwood American Express has given me 70,000 Starpoints to give away to a lucky blog reader, so they can have a similar vacation. The window to enter will only last for six hours, till 5PM ET today, Friday, December 6, 2013.

How to enter:

1. Follow me on Twitter @OneMileataTime

2. Tweet me letting me know your dream place is to visit during the holidays using the hashtag #spgamexOneMile.

An example of an eligible Tweet would be:

@OneMileataTime I’d love to spend the holidays at the St. Regis Bahia Beach #spgamexOneMile

The fine print:

It’s that simple! To be eligible you have to enter between 11AM ET and 5PM ET today (in other words, in the next six hours). You can find all the fine print of the promotion here. Some of the fine print includes:

  • You have to be at least 18 and a resident of the US to qualify
  • Only one entry is allowed per person/Twitter account
  • Winner is responsible for paying taxes on the value of the prize
  • A winner will be announced within 24 hours

Good luck and please let me know in the comments section if you have any questions!

  1. December 6th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Lantean said,

    why is it always twitter? some of us refuse to participate in the retarded twitter post orgy.

    is our blog readership and all the application referrals you receive from us not worth anything to you? why can’t we just enter by commenting here?

  2. December 6th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Jeff G said,

    @Lantean, my guess it that Ben (like other bloggers) doesn’t really set the rules w/ these types of contests. AmEx & SPG want it to be on twitter so more people see the contest.

  3. December 6th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    LarryInNYC said,

    @Lantean: I believe the Twitter requirement is because the contest is actually run by AMEX, not Ben and that’s how they roll (maybe they’re harvesting twitter account addresses; maybe someone within AMEX has to demonstrate that they’re “engaging with twitter”.
    .
    I’m also not a Twitter fan, but I set up an account just for this contest. You don’t have to install the phone client, there’s a web page that you can bring up for the rare time you want to enter a contest.

  4. December 6th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Steven L. said,

    @Lantean: LarryInNYC hit the nail on the head. AMEX’s points, AMEX’s contests, AMEX’s rules.

  5. December 6th, 2013 at 9:47 am

    entrada said,

    What is the taxable value SPG will assign to the points?

  6. December 6th, 2013 at 9:50 am

    lucky said,

    @ Lantean — Sorry, but this is out of my control. I don’t set the rules, I just run the contest. Hopefully you know I appreciate you guys reading, and when it’s a contest where I’m giving away the prize I always give an option to enter in the comments section of the blog.

  7. December 6th, 2013 at 9:50 am

    lucky said,

    @ entrada — Points are valued at 2.5 cents each.

  8. December 6th, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Harlan V. said,

    Enteredddd. Thank you for hosting this, Ben!

  9. December 6th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Anita said,

    Thanks for letting us try for a chance to say in a luxurious brand resort I would never be able to afford it myself. Just grateful for a chance! Wish I got in this points and miles thing a Long time ago instead of last year!

  10. December 6th, 2013 at 10:06 am

    chontzy said,

    Thanks for the contest Ben!

  11. December 6th, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Steve said,

    It would feel great to win this, but would it feel great to pay taxes on winning this? How much would that be? What is the prize tax on 70k at 2.5 cents ($1750)?

  12. December 6th, 2013 at 10:16 am

    JohnnyPeps said,

    While giving away the points is better than not giving away the points, twitter contests are lame.

  13. December 6th, 2013 at 10:20 am

    lucky said,

    @ Steve — Prize tax depends on your income bracket, but even in the highest income bracket you’d be paying at most a cent per Starpoint. Still an absolute steal.

  14. December 6th, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Bgriff said,

    So the points have to be used this month for max 2 nights at a US property or they disappear from the winner’s account?

  15. December 6th, 2013 at 10:38 am

    lucky said,

    @ Bgriff — You can use them for whatever you’d like, that’s just one idea. :)

  16. December 6th, 2013 at 10:40 am

    LarryInNYC said,

    @Steve: The prize would be reported to you on a 1099 and you would add it to your other income. Therfore, the tax “bite” would depend on what your tax rate is. Expect to pay one-quarter to one-third of the reported value (eg, up to about $600) in taxes.
    .
    For what it’s worth, Gary Leff had an article sometime in the last year on challenging the value of a prize like this with the IRS — if you can convince them the points are worth less then you would pay tax on the lower valuation.

  17. December 6th, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Bgriff said,

    Ah, good, thanks.

  18. December 6th, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Kalboz said,

    That’s worth around $1,500 … I am in for sure :)

  19. December 6th, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Jim M said,

    Thanks for the contest Ben. I will not be entering because of Twit. That is my decision, I did love my stay at Starwoods Hua Hin last Jan. and just cancelled it for next year. I’ll look at Mariott next door or someone else that is also my decision. Twit is one of the worse security risks out there which is my main reason for not twitting.

  20. December 6th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Kevin said,

    Tired of twit only promotions

  21. December 6th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    jon said,

    Tired of US-resident-only promotions!

  22. December 6th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Todd said,

    Canadians; the red-headed step-child of contests.

  23. December 6th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    JAG said,

    Ben, I rarely tweet – could I trouble you to see if my 11am-ish entry has shown up ok? ugh, sorry to ask :( gleasonja Thx :)

  24. December 6th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    lucky said,

    @ JAG — You nailed it. Congrats!

  25. December 6th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    JAG said,

    Thx Ben – pulled the trigger the second you launched it! lol. Thanks again.

  26. December 6th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Jennifer C. said,

    I also don’t tweet often, so hope my tweet showed up OK…

  27. December 6th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    JAG said,

    there must be some way to verify a tweet went through ok – can anybody help us novices??!! I know it’s no the right forum, but since we’re on the topic… Thanks!

  28. December 6th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    lucky said,

    @ JAG — As confirmed above, you entered correctly. :)

  29. December 6th, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Jim said,

    @ JAG – you can just go to your Twitter feed and see if the Tweet appears there. http://www.twitter.com/(your user name) If it shows up, it went through!

  30. December 6th, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    JAG said,

    well that’s simple enough – thanks Jim!

  31. December 6th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    JAG said,

    @ Ben, sorry, I did see that, but was just looking for a way to never have to ask again! Thx, Jeff.

  32. December 6th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Denis said,

    US-residents only????? Really??? What about the rest of us????

  33. December 6th, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    And The Winner Of 70,000 Starpoints Is... - One Mile at a Time - One Mile at a Time said,

    […] today I ran a giveaway for 70,000 Starpoints, sponsored by the Starwood American Express. To enter to win, I asked you guys to Tweet me letting […]

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