Starwood has launched its new series of culinary experiences that you can spend your points for, and if the events are the kind of thing that’s up your alley these opportunities can be a really great (non-replicable) deal.
Members will have the opportunity to participate in mouth-watering evenings of cocktails, kitchen tours & tasting menus at world-renowned restaurants, plus access to the top food & wine festivals in destinations including New York, Chicago, Tokyo, and more. These intimate evenings hosted by the stars of the global culinary stage as well as VIP access to renowned food festivals make each SPG Culinary Moment truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There’s even an SPG cooking show (I had no idea!): SPG Cravings.
You Can Use Your Points to Join Small Food & Wine Events With World’s Top Chefs
Upcoming events include:
- Atelier Morimoto XEX with Morimoto: February 11th Tokyo, Japan
Cocktail reception, sushi demonstration and teppanyaki dinner with omakase menu
- Girl & the Goat with Stephanie Izard: February 18th Chicago, Illinois
Cocktail reception, sneak preview of Duck Duck Goat, and tasting menu with wine pairing
- South Beach Wine & Food Festival: February 24th-28th Miami, FL
Events include: Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray, Fireman Derek’s Midnight Breakfast hosted by Chrissy Teigen, Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations, and Chicken Coupe with a meet & greet with event host Chef Andrew Carmellini.
- Maude with Curtis Stone: February 25th Beverly Hills, CA
Cocktail reception and tasting menu with wine pairing
- Daniel with Daniel Boulud: March 17th New York City, NY
Cocktail reception, kitchen tour, 5-course menu with wine pairing and cooking demonstration
- Le Bernardin with Eric Ripert: March 24th New York City, NY
Cocktail reception, kitchen tours, 6-course tasting menu with wine pairing and cooking demonstration
- Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival: March 31st – April 3rd Monterey, CA
Events: Opening Night Reception, Fabio Viviani Cooking Demonstration with meet & greet, Booze & Bites, Lexus Grand Tasting, and Graham Elliot’s Deliciously Whimsical Cooking Demonstration.
- BottleRock Napa Valley Festival: May 27th – 29th Napa, CA
Events: VIP & GA tickets with access to 70+ bands on four music stages plus celebrity chef and vintner performances on the culinary stage.
I have a special affection for Le Bernardin, one of the first ‘grown up meals’ I ever had in New York 18 years ago. I still remember the perfect service, waitstaff never interrupting a conversation and being there at just the right moment. And of course, the food!
These culinary events of course are in addition to VIP access auctions for culture, music, and sports events throughout the world.
This is Exactly the Sort of Non-Travel Redemption I Like to See
As I explained in The Craziest Things You Can Do With Your Miles, and Why You Don’t Want to Do Them travel redemptions are far better than getting your loyalty program to buy you ‘stuff’ because programs have to go out and buy the stuff, their costs to do it are high, and so you’ll always get a poor value for your points.
There are very few exceptions to using airline, hotel, and credit card loyalty points for something other than travel.
Most of those exceptions come under the rubric of ‘life experiences’ — the idea that you can leverage the relationships of a big company to gain access to things you probably couldn’t do on your own.
Don’t use your points for a new LCD toaster. Do consider using your points (when it won’t break the bank) for an up close performance, with just a few other folks, by a world-renowned artist if that’s the kind of thing that interests you. Or go to the Oscars, because without the contacts your bank has when in the world would you ever get to otherwise?