Update: Offer expired!
Through 3/28 only, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is offering 35K points for spending $7K within 3 months
This limited time offer has a signup bonus that is 40% richer than the standard offer! After completing the $7K in spend you’ll have at least 42K Starpoints. That’s equal to 126K Marriott points!
Using Starpoints with Starwood:
Some examples of airline awards that you can redeem with Starpoints can be found in this post, but this post will discuss the background information about the primary methods that you can use to redeem Starpoints.
First off, some basics:
- Points from both Starwood consumer and business AMEX cards are deposited directly into your Starwood loyalty account which can be tracked on SPG.com. You do not lose your points if you cancel your card like you would with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citibank ThankYou points as they are stored with the loyalty program and not with the credit card company.
- You do need to maintain activity in your Starwood account every 18 months to keep it active, though Starwood is very good about reactivating accounts that have been closed due to inactivity. Just call and ask nicely.
- You can also keep your account alive by just transferring points to Marriott and then back again to Starwood. You can transfer 1 Starpoint into 3 Marriott points or 3 Marriott points into 1 Starpoint.
- You can transfer points to another Starwood member living in your household and that transfer will also count as activity to keep your points active.
- Award nights count towards elite status. Gold members receive 250 points back and Platinum members receive 500 points back per stay.
How can you use your points?
1. Hotel award nights with no blackouts or capacity controls.
If a standard room is for sale you can use points to book it:
2. Deluxe hotel rooms and suites.
Starwood doesn’t allow you to book premium rooms with points online. However you can call Starwood to redeem points for deluxe rooms and suites.
Deluxe rooms with better views may only cost an extra 1K Starpoints, so it’s always worth calling about them. Sometimes it can look like a hotel has no point rooms available, but you can call and pay a small premium to book an award night with an upgraded room.
Some agents don’t know how to book these, so you may need to HUCA. For example a DDF member wanted to use points at the S. Regis Bal Harbour but was told that point rooms weren’t available. I advised to call and HUCA. Eventually he was able to book a Grand Lux Ocean Front Room for a 2K point premium over the standard room.
Suites are typically twice the points of a regular room.
S. Regis Bal Harbour Grand Luxe Oceanfront Suite Dining Room:
3. 5th night free awards:
If you book 5 consecutive hotel award nights at category 3-7 hotels then the 5th night will be free:
SLS Suite Dining Room as the Category 6 SLS Hotel in Los Angeles:
- 5 nights at the category 7 blinged out S. Regis Bal Harbour is 120,000 points, still that’s not a bad value when you consider that the cheapest rooms during peak season go for more than $1,000 plus tax per night.
- 5 nights at the category 6 ultra-modern W Hong Kong with a 76th floor rooftop infinity pool, S. Regis Langkawi, the highly rated Sheraton Tel Aviv, or the Westin Venice would cost 80,000 points.
- 5 nights at the category 5 W Miami, W New York, Sheraton Kauai, or the W New Orleans French Quarter will be 48,000 points.
- 5 nights at the category 4 Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii, W Las Vegas, Sheraton Brooklyn, Sheraton Grand Rio de Janeiro, Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach, Hotel La Semilla Playa Del Carmen, W Beijing, or the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will be 40,000 points.
- 5 nights at the category 3 Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek, Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, Sheraton Mahwah near Monsey, Sheraton Anchorage, or the Wanderlust Singapore will be 28,000 points.
- The category 2 Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls, NY is just 3K points on weekends or 4K points on weekdays. Same goes for the Sheraton Cleveland Airport, Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, Sheraton Parco De’ Medici Rome, or the Sheraton Grand Panama.
- A night at the category 1 Aloft Panama, Sheraton Baku Airport, or Le Méridien N’Fis, Morocco are just 2,000 points on weekends or 3K points on weekdays.
- The W Tel Aviv-Jaffa opens in June, but a category has yet to be determined.
Click on the category links to explore other hotels that can be obtained for those rates.
Some hotels only have suites and cost more. However with Starpoints you can get even the most expensive rooms with a deal on occasion.
4. Cash and points awards:
Stretch your points when reserving a standard room, upgraded room, or suite by using cash and points:
Unlike regular rooms, these cash and points room awards are capacity controlled. Unfortunately you will need to call to book upgrades rooms and suites with cash and points, and not all reps will know how to do that.
5. Nights and Flights allow you to combine a 5 night hotel stay and get 50,000 miles for less than the cost of booking a 5 night stay and transferring points separately:
In other words you can stay 5 nights at a category 4 hotel like the Sheraton Big Island of Hawaii or Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and get 50,000 miles transferred into the airline of your choice for just 70,000 Starpoints. When done separately that 5 night stay would cost 40,000 Starpoints and the airline transfer would cost 40,000 Starpoints, so this award saves 10K points.
Or spend 5 nights at a category 3 hotel like the Wanderlust Singapore and get 50,000 miles transferred into the airline of your choice for just 60,000 Starpoints. When done separately that 5 night stay would cost 28,000 Starpoints and the airline transfer would cost 40,000 Starpoints, so this award saves 8K points.
Unfortunately this award is only offered for category 3 and 4 hotels.
Sing the nation anthem at a ballgame, watch the game from a suite, etc. Starwood will even cater their suite with kosher food upon request with no additional charge! People have done that at the US Open, Cubs, Knicks, Rangers, and more games.
A friend invited me and several other DDF members to the SPG suite at Wrigley Field for a Cubs-Yankees game:
And I used Starpoints to throw out the first pitch before Game 7 of the World Series. It still seems surreal:
8. Transfer your Starpoints into miles with dozens of airlines at great ratios. 20,000 Starpoints becomes 25,000 miles on dozens of airlines thanks to the 25% bonus.
Airlines also often incentivize transfers, Air Canada Aeroplan, American, Alaska, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, United, and others have made offers like that.
Curious about the Starwood transfer options and ratios? Here they are!
With so may different airlines to transfer to, it’s just a matter of figuring out which one has the lowest rates to where you want to go. I’ve separated them by alliance so you can know which airlines are partners and will therefore let you book award travel on partner airlines. Of course airlines also have lots of non-alliance partners, but by definition they are partners with all airlines in the same alliance.
In parenthesis you can see if American Express Membership Rewards (MR), Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), or Citibank Thank You (TY) points transfers to the airline as well. If no other program can transfer points to that airline it will say not applicable (NA)
- American: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- British Airways Avios: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
- Iberia Avios: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
- JAL: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- LATAM: 20,000 Starpoints=37,500 kms (NA)
- Qantas: 23,333 Starpoints=17,500 miles via Marriott (TY)
- Qatar: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
- Aeroflot: 23,333 Starpoints=25,000 miles via Marriott (NA)
- AeroMexico: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
- Alitalia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- China Eastern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- China Southern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- Delta: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- Korean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (UR)
- Saudia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- ANA: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- Aegean: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- Air Canada/Aeroplan: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- Air China: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- Air New Zealand: 20,000 Starpoints=385 points (NA)
- Asiana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- Avianca LifeMiles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
- Copa 23,333 Starpoints=25,000 miles via Marriott (NA)
- Lufthansa Miles & More: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- Singapore: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
- South African: 23,333 Starpoints=17,500 miles via Marriott (NA)
- TAP: 23,333 Starpoints=17,500 miles via Marriott (NA)
- Thai: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
- Turkish: 23,333 Starpoints=17,500 miles via Marriott (TY)
- United: 18,667 Starpoints=25,000 miles via Marriott (UR)
- Alaska: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
- Emirates: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- Etihad: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY)
- Frontier: 23,333 Starpoints=17,500 miles via Marriott (NA)
- Gol/Varig Smiles: 23,333 Starpoints=25,000 miles via Marriott (NA)
- Hainan: 20,000 Starpoints==25,000 miles (NA)
- Hawaiian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
- Jet Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (TY)
- JetBlue: 23,333 Starpoints=12,500 miles via Marriott (MR, TY)
- Southwest: 23,333 Starpoints=25,000 miles via Marriott (UR)
- Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, TY, UR)
- Virgin Australia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (NA)
Points can also transfer to Amtrak at a 1:1 ratio (NA).
You can view the expiration policies for each transfer program here. Remember that points can only transfer from Starwood to an airline, they can never transfer from an airline to Starwood.
I don’t recommend using the SPG Flights or the SPG Merchandise/Gift Card programs as the value per point is way too low.
Using Starpoints with Marriott:
You can link your Starwood and Marriott account here and transfer points back and forth.
- 1 Starpoint will convert into 3 Marriott points, which means there are many great values to be had from the Marriott side as well as the Starwood side.
- Transferring Marriott points to Starpoints counts as activity to extend the life of your points by 18 months. However transferring points from Starwood to Marriott doesn’t extend their life, so it’s always worth keeping your points as Starpoints.
- You can match SPG Gold status to/from Marriott Gold and SPG Platinum status to/from Marriott Platinum.
- If you have United Gold status or higher you can get Marriott Gold which will also get you Starwood Gold.
- If you have Starwood Platinum Status you can match to Marriott Platinum which will also get you United Silver status.
- Marriott has 9 categories of hotels that range from 7,500 to 45,000 points per night or 6,000 to 40,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.
- Marriott also has 5 tiers of Ritz Carlton hotels that range from 30,000 to 70,000 points per night or 20,000 to 60,000 points per night when they’re on PointSavers.
Chart 1: Using points for hotel nights. View how many Starpoints or Marriott Rewards are needed for Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG hotels, along with a few sample hotels from each level.
The top number is the points required for a 1 night stay. The bottom number is the points required per night if you stay for 5 nights:
Chart 2: Using points for a Marriott miles+nights travel package. View how many Starpoints or Marriott Rewards are needed for a air+hotel package at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels.
With these packages you will get miles and a 7 night hotel certificate that is valid at Marriott (but not Starwood) hotels.
The best value is the largest mileage option, though there are smaller mileage options as well.
- You must call Marriott at 800-321-7396 if you want to book a miles+nights package. They can’t be booked online.
- Read more about these packages in this post.
- For example with 90K Starpoints or 270K Marriott Rewards points you will get a 7 night hotel stay at Marriott category 1-5 properties and 132K miles if you choose to transfer the miles to United. In Q4 2016 and 2017 United even sweetened that offer with a 25% transfer bonus and it’s likely that we’ll see that return in the future.
- If you transfer 90K Starpoints or 270K Marriott Rewards points you can also get a 7 night hotel stay at Marriott category 1-5 properties and 120K miles with Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, or Virgin Atlantic. Currently, British Airways is offering a 35% transfer bonus, so 90K Starpoints will transfer into a week in a Marriott hotel plus 162K Avios!
- The miles will post within a few days of the transfer, regardless of when or if you use the 7 night certificate.
- The 7 night electronic hotel certificate expires in 1 year, though Marriott currently will extend them for 1 additional year if you contact them.
- You don’t need to choose the hotel at the time of a nights+miles redemption.
- The certificate must be used at one property for 7 consecutive nights.
- You can have the certificate issued in anyone’s name.
- You can upgrade your hotel certificate by paying the difference in points later on. For example if you wanted 7 nights at the category 7 Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel you would need 330K Marriott or 110K Starpoints for that stay and you would get 157K miles. If you wanted 7 nights at the tier 3 Ritz-Carlton Herzliya you would need 420K Marriott or 140K Starpoints for that stay and you would get 157K miles.
- If you book a 7 night stay and cancel it, many agents will refund 45K Marriott points (15K Starpoints) for returning the 7 night stay certificate, but not all agents will do that, so you may need to HUCA.
- It’s worth noting that there is also a 5 night hotel plus points package, but it’s officially intended for timeshare owners. Most Marriott reps won’t sell it to regular members, but some might if you play enough HUCA by calling them at 800-321-7396.
|Hotel Category||Starpoints required for 7 nights and 132K United miles or 120K miles with other airlines||Marriott Rewards required for 7 nights and 132K United miles or 120K miles with other airlines|
|Marriott Category 1||90,000||270,000|
|Marriott Category 2||90,000||270,000|
|Marriott Category 3||90,000||270,000|
|Marriott Category 4||90,000||270,000|
|Marriott Category 5||90,000||270,000|
|Marriott Category 6||100,000||300,000|
|Marriott Category 7||110,000||330,000|
|Marriott Category 8||120,000||360,000|
|Marriott Category 9||130,000||390,000|
|Ritz Tier 1||140,000||420,000|
|Ritz Tier 2||140,000||420,000|
|Ritz Tier 3||140,000||420,000|
|Ritz Tier 4||180,000||540,000|
|Ritz Tier 5||180,000||540,000|
You can also earn Starpoints on the Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card. Click Here to get more details on this card and compare to other hotel cards!
Where have you made your favorite Starwood/Marriott redemption? What’s on your SPG redemption dream list? Hit the comments!