Hotel Programs – Starwood Part 2
Over the next several weeks I will be going over the basics of the various hotel reward programs. This week I’ll be covering the second part of my two part Starwood Preferred Guest review. SPG is the reward program for Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, W Hotels, and more. Earlier Andy had covered the best ways to earn SPG points as well as some of his favorite Starwood hotels and this week I’m going to cover how to transfer SPG points to airlines!
One of the major benefits to the Starwood Preferred Guest program is that you can transfer points into 29 different airline programs – 26 of which are at a 1:1 ratio or better! You can see which airlines have partnered with SPG here, but some of the highlights include American Airlines, US Air, Singapore Air, and Emirates! You can also transfer to United, but unfortunately it’s at a less than ideal 2:1 ratio. One reason why SPG points are value so highly – besides the obvious use of the Cash & Points redemption – is there is a 25% transfer bonus for every 20,000 points that you transfer! That means that a roundtrip domestic ticket in economy will only cost 20,000 SPG points. Or even better, a roundtrip flight to Europe in Business class during US Air’s off-peak season will only cost you 50,000 SPG points! This 25% bonus can also be combined with airline specific bonuses such as British Air’s 25% bonus on hotel transfers. If you were to take advantage of this offer, 20,000 SPG points would be become 25,000 British Air Avios points with the SPG bonus. Then those 25,000 Avios points would become 31,250 Avios points with British Air’s own 25% bonus! That’s a 56% bonus just for transferring points! Bonuses like this from the airlines don’t occur constantly, but I do try to point them out as often as possible in the Deals of the Day post every afternoon so that you all can take advantage of them.Using SPG points to transfer to airlines to some is the best feature of the program. It is just another reason why everyone loves them. They’re great for SPG redemption, but their flexibility to transfer to other programs takes it to an entirely different level. A great way to top off accounts when needed of course.
Now, I’m going to walk through how exactly you can transfer your SPG points over to airline points to take advantage of flights. First, go to the Airline Partners page where you’ll see this:
Here, you can see all the transfer partners that Starwood has. Simply click the “Transfer Now” button on the right hand side and you’ll be able to transfer points. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select the airline that you want to transfer miles to along with your account number. Here, I’ve selected US Airways:
After you select the airline, you’ll be asked how many points you’d like to transfer. Here again, Starwood will remind you that they offer a 25% bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer!
And that’s pretty much it! Now you’ll be able to use any excess SPG points that you might have on airline tickets to anywhere in the world! Finally, just as a warning to some of you out there: don’t get this option confused with SPG’s “Redeem for Flights” redemption. You’ll likely get terrible redemption values compared with what you would have gotten had you simply transferred the points into an airline program.I value SPG points at over 2 CPP and using “Redeem for Flights” will at best get you 1.5 CPP with a diminishing return as ticket prices go up. That said, you’d earn airline points / miles here … so there might be a case for a flight to use SPG points if it works for you.