Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is one of the most loved programs in the miles and point community. Properties in the family are diverse from simple to the most extreme in fancy while point redemption options give you options from a simple hotel booking, to mixing with cash and points, to flight bookings, and fee free transfers to airline partners.
In this series we’ll look at how to gain SPG points, otherwise known as Starpoints and why we should do so. After this we’ll showcase redemptions at hotels across the world within the Starwood portfolio. First of all, dealing with “how to” before the “why”…
This chain actually has the least diverse methods of collecting loyalty points, but that should not stop doing so. Of course you will accrue points by staying at any hotel within the wide range of brands which include (in order of star rating/quality):
- Four Points by Sheraton
- Le Meridien
- W Hotels
- The Luxury Collection
- St Regis
Four Points is basically a posh motel with little trimmings, and the St. Regis boasts former palaces and opulent grandeur. The standard earn rate is 2 points per dollar and 3 for elite members (after only 10 stays in a year); not the best in the industry but a very useful program nonetheless. Remember all points are not created equal and the value associated with each point differs.
A fast way to get thousands of Starpoints is of course the mighty Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with the current offer 10,000 after the first purchase and 15,000 after $5,000 spend in 6 months. Another perk of the card is it adds 2 stays and 5 nights to your SPG stay history, and thus helps on the fast track to elite status. Another great feature of the program is that even free (award) nights add to your stay history, further accelerating your elite quest.
A tip to leverage earned points is to register the card on americanexpress.com under card management, and in the search box on the top right enter “refer a friend”. Then recommend the card to your spouse or partner for the same offer through the appropriate link. All you need is their name and email; they have to apply through the link that is emailed to them. Assuming approval you will be given 5,000 extra Starpoints for your trouble. This is done automatically, right into your account.
Ok now, there is the same offer for a Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN, for the same amount of points and the same boost can be obtained by referring your spouse. You do not need to have a business Tax ID to apply for this, you can use your name as the business and SSN. There are many ways that you may have a business and not even know it!
If you’re successful on this mission, you would now have 130,000 SPG Starpoints.
Another way of gaining points is always have your SPG account number handy when you are out and about. Ever had a drink at a W hotel in your home town? You should have received points for it; just tell the bartender. Ever had dinner in a restaurant in a restaurant in a Westin or Luxury Collection hotel perhaps? Same deal, my friends. Oh, by the way if you charge your Amex and have made it to gold status you will get 4 points per dollar; one extra for using it at Starwood property, and one extra for being elite.
What can we do with all these points? A lot is the answer. I won’t go into every aspect but will point out some highlights. Well for a start we can turn these into 170,000 Airline points or mix and match into many airlines at 1:1 with a 25% bonus if done in 20,000 point chunks.
We can use them for free nights of course, or the best value redemption which are “cash and points for mid-range hotels; more on that later. For me I like the huge flexibility of transferring to various airlines when I need them, but also have redeemed free nights in truly memorable locations.
Next up is a series on cool Starwood properties both domestically in the US and around the globe! I can’t wait