Thursday, September 5, 2013

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Overview

Starwood points are some of the most valuable points out there.  Not only do they offer you very generous redemption options at SPG properties they also have the flexibility to be transferred to numerous other travel programs at good exchange rates.  In the realm of travel currency, SPG points are at or near the top.  Points are only valuable if you can use them.  Because of this, I really like programs which offer you the most liquidity or flexibility in booking options (see my posts on Chase and Amex points).  There are several options for redeeming SPG points and below I have outlined the 3 most useful redemption options.

Redeem SPG points for flights:

Flights can be booked directly off of at the following rates:
Ticket Price*Starpoints
up to $15010,000
This is probably not the best use of your points but it does give you the most flexability in redeming points for flights as there are no blackout dates and flights are not subject to award availability with airlines.

Transfer to miles:

This is especially helpfull if you see an award flight that fits your exact travel plans but you don't have enought points.  With SPG you recieve a 5000 mile bonus for every 20000 starpoints you transfer.

Use SPG points for free nights: 

This is my personal favorite use of SPG points.  There are several options to use your points for free hotel stays.  The 2 best options are using points outright and using cash and points.  The following tables show the number of points required.  Cash and points is an interesting option where you can essentially "buy" the extra starpoints you need at a reduced rate.  The best booking option will ultimately depend on how many points you have and the value of what you are using them for.

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