Mauritius with the New SPG Amex Card

If you’ve been following me for a while then you probably know that I use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (SPG Amex) for pretty much all of my purchases. I truly believe it is the best travel rewards card out there and for me-I love my Starpoints. I have also been working with SPG Amex for years now and greatly value the working relationship with my favorite card and their great team.
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, beach, boats, mountain
To my elation, on August 11, SPG Amex eliminated foreign transaction fees on international purchases. That means that card members can spend as we do at home without having to worry about the charges we’re incurring from the exchange rate. This is a welcome change and one that really catapults SPG Amex ahead of other rewards cards in my mind-aside from the SPG Amex card having this cool, sleek and chic new look!
SPG card, SPGAmex
To illustrate and bring attention to the enhanced benefits including the advantages of no foreign transaction fees, along with complimentary Boingo and in-hotel Wi-Fi benefits; SPG Amex let me choose from any Starwood international property in the world to visit-I chose the St. Regis Mauritius! Tough job I know, but someone’s got to do it!
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, beach
This was my second trip to Mauritius and to be honest my first time on the island was not a great experience. I thought Mauritius was just an island and there wasn’t much special about it. It’s funny how a few years and a new perspective can change your outlook on a place. This is why I never shy away from going back to places I didn’t love or have the experience I wanted for whatever reason. Things change, circumstances change, the experience changes and you change.
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, beach, morning
The St. Regis Mauritius Resort is gorgeous. There’s no other way to describe it. It is a luxury tropical beach resort on a long, stunning, white sand beach with beautiful water. The pool is fantastic and the rooms are stellar. It basically looks and feels like what you’d expect from an exotic St. Regis resort. Although, I must say the overall customer service was not great and the Wi-Fi was very spotty. To the resorts credit, when I mentioned something to the manager, they rectified things immediately.
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, pool
My first time in Mauritius I stayed up in the northwest part of the island in Grand Baie and I wasn’t very impressed. It was far to get pretty much everywhere and the prices were extortionate. The St. Regis is located in the southwest on the Le Morne Peninsula; which made things much easier and cheaper to see the natural sites of the island.
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius
Since the weather was so good during my stay, it was hard to pull myself away from the beach and pool but I did take a day and hired a driver for a very reasonable price of $70.
Mauritius, lookout, view
The driver was great and he knew all the best lookouts and short cuts. That’s so important in a place like Mauritius where it would be tough to drive yourself. The reason being, there aren’t many street signs and the interior, while lush and beautiful, is extremely mountainous with a lot of blind switchback turns. It would be pretty easy to get lost. Plus Mauritians are very aggressive drivers so it’s just easier and safer to let the locals drive you.
Aldabra turtle, Mauritius
Chamarel was my favorite spot because for one entrance fee, you got to see both the absolutely perfect Chamarel Waterfall and also the Seven Colored Earths. The Seven Colored Earths actually had a farm for giant turtles as well. So that was a nice added surprise.
Chamarel Waterfall, waterfall, Mauritius
The Chamarel Waterfall falls 95 meters and there are two excellent viewpoints. There is one closer to the falls at a lower elevation that looks great but you don’t get the real feel of how impressive the falls are. Take a hike up to the upper viewpoint and see it wide angled. That’s the money shot!
Seven Colored Earths, Mauritius
About a ten-minute drive up a dirt road you’ll see the Seven Colored Earths. While it was a cool thing to see because of all the awesome colors, it won’t blow your mind or anything. However, the color contrasts and the turtles make it worthwhile to stop by for sure.
Shiva, Grand Bassin, Mauritius
The final site to see, although it’s not really my kind of thing is the Grand Bassin. This is a Hindu religious site and it’s based in a crater lake with a very cool 30 meter or 100 foot Shiva statue. There is also a temple on the grounds and some statues in the lake for people to pray. Mauritius is home to several religions and is very multi-cultural.
Grand Bassin, Crater Lake, Mauritius
So there’s a lot to do in southwestern Mauritius but realize Mauritius is a big island and from one end to the other can take a few hours so you need to plan your days accordingly. Especially if you want to get adequate beach, pool, spa and relaxation time in.
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, pool, view
The people are very nice, warm, friendly, proud of their island and are excited to show it off to foreigners. The infrastructure is very good with well-paved two-way streets around the whole island. Boats are also a great way to see some of the islands just off the coast but I didn’t get a chance this trip. Four days can fly by in a heartbeat! Also, if you want to visit Rodrigues Island it’s a 500-mile plane flight away but I do recommend that if you have some time.
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, lobby, view
Besides, if you buy your ticket in Mauritius with your SPG Amex card, now you don’t have to deal with foreign transaction fees!
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, sunset
Big thanks to my friends at SPG Amex for sending me to Mauritius and even bigger props for dropping foreign transaction fees!
St. Regis Mauritius, Mauritius, beach, huts
Disclaimer: I have a working relationship with American Express, Amex Travel and SPG Amex in separate agreements. This is my 4th year as an SPG Amex Star. I receive financial compensation for my services and SPG Amex sponsored my trip to Mauritius by providing airfare and accommodation at the St. Regis Mauritius. I paid for everything else with my business SPG Amex card. This post was written by me based on my experience and has not been influenced in any way. I have had the SPG Amex card since 2001 and this will be my 10th year as a platinum member.

Comments

  1. Amazing pictures! I would love to go there.

  2. That’s great news, I’ve has the SPG card for years too. FX fees suck so that’s great that they’re getting rid of them not that I travel all that much but when I do it always bugs me to pay even more for no reason. I wish SPG would send me to Mauritius or anywhere really LOL.

  3. Are these benefits available on UK SPG cards too? I had to give my US card when I relocated to Blighty.

    • Hey Sherry, sorry I really don’t know-I only deal with the US card. I was hoping one of the Amex people would hop in and answer this one but they’re the US team as well so not sure if they’d even know.

  4. Mauritius is at the the top if my list!

  5. Been using the SPG Amex card since 2009 and I agree it has the best value for rewards. I travel a lot for work and always stay in Starwood hotels if possible so I am a little biased. All my international travel is work related but this is great because then I don’t have to do an extra entry for all my expense reports. That is the worst.

  6. The best travel card I agree. But I just saw they brought back the 30,000 Starpoint sign up bonus for their new card and enhancements. They should give the extra points to loyal members who have paid the FX fees for years-that would set them apart in my book and show some appreciation. Sometimes programs and companies are so concerned about attracting new people they forget about retaining current customers. With your influence, I bet you they’d listen to you if you told them that.

  7. It’s about time we get some benefit post signup bonus.

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