November 17, 2016
How to Maximize your SPG Starpoints

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Straight to the Point

Starpoints are one of the most versatile and valuable reward currencies right now. You can use them to book free hotel stays at some of the best Starwood and Marriott properties around the world, transfer the points to 36 different airlines to book free first class flights, redeem them for once in a  lifetime experiences like a cruise to Antarctica and more!


Free Hotel Stays

  • Redeem your Starpoints for free nights at over 1,200 Starwood and over 4,000 Marriott properties around the world!
  • If you redeem points for a five night stay at a category 3-7 Starwood hotel, the fifth night is free (0 points). Redeeming for hotel nights can be a tremendous value if you use your points wisely. Here’s three examples:
  • Sheraton Westpark Munich: Staying in Munich during a major event like Oktoberfest will be expensive. A three night stay from 9/27-9/30 in 2016 for a Superior room was priced at $343/night -$1,030 total. If you redeem Starpoints, you can get the same room for 10,000 starpoints a night, 30,000 points total, giving you a redemption value of 3.43 cents per point.
  • St. Regis Fifth Avenue New York: A three night stay from June 6-9 for a Superior room was priced at $1,051 a night- $3,046 total. You can redeem Starpoints at a rate of 30,000 points a night, 90,000 points total, giving you a redemption value of 3.38 cents per point.
  • Le Méridian in Santa Monica, California from June 16-19 costs $415/night for a classic room, $1,245 total. You can redeem Starpoints at an especially low rate of 12,000 points a night, bringing the total cost to 36,000 points. That’s a redemption value of 3.45 cents per point.
  • Remember that since Starwood and Marriott merged, you can transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio. This can unlock interesting deals. I would look at high-end Marriott properties like the Ritz-Carlton Tier 5 hotels. You have to redeem 70,000 Marriott Reward points/ night for those rooms. You can instead transfer 23,333 Starpoints per night to Marriott, which converts to 70,0000 Marriott points (1:3 transfer ratio), and book yourself a free night with much less points.
  • You can find my review of the Marriott & Starwood Merger here.

 

Transfer your Starpoints


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Lufthansa First Class


  • Starpoints can be transferred to 36 airline partners with the vast majority at a 1:1 ratio.
  • For every 20,000 points you transfer to an airline program, you receive a bonus of 5,000 miles, bringing the total miles transferred to 25,000. This is in effect a 25% bonus for every Starpoint you transfer.
  • Transfer partners include members from all three major airline alliances-Star Alliance, Oneworld, and SkyTeam. Some notable transfer partners include United, Lufthansa, Virgin America, Singapore Krisflyer, British Airways, Delta, Flying Blue, Emirates, and Etihad.
  • The ability to transfer your points to so many airlines gives you a huge range of options when choosing what airline to fly. Consider that if you were hoarding all your points in an airline program like Jetblue, you’d be much more limited when it comes time to redeeming those points.
  • Two sample transfers:
  1. Lufthansa: A one-way business class ticket from North America to Europe using Lufthansa’s miles and more program will cost 52,000 miles+taxes. You can transfer 40,000 points from SPG to Miles and More and receive 50,000 miles because of the 25% bonus. So you’d only have to transfer 42,000 Starpoints to book the free ticket.
  2. Singapore Airlines: Singapore Suites is one of the best ways to fly. A flight in a Suite from Los Angeles to Tokyo costs 74,375 KrisFlyer miles+taxes. Unlike many airlines, Singapore doesn’t have a US based credit card that lets you earn miles, and it doesn’t allow its alliance partners to book award flights in Suite class. However, you can transfer 60,000 Starpoints to Krisflyer and get a 15, 000 mile bonus, bringing the total to 75,000 miles. Those 60,000 Starpoints buys you 12 hours of flight time while enjoying caviar, champagne, and a double bed in the sky.

 

SPG Moments


Image Source: Starwood

Image Source: Starwood


  • SPG Moments is a way to redeem your Starpoints for once in a lifetime experiences.
  • You can redeem points for culinary experiences with celebrity chefs, Broadway shows, a cruise to Antarctica, concerts around the world with artists like Adele and Andrea Bocelli, AMA tickets, World Series tickets and more!
  • SPG Moments run on a bidding system. So every event has a base price in Starpoints that people bid on. The highest bidder wins! Check out all the current SPG Moments offers here.

Final Thoughts

I love Starpoints for two reasons-because you can transfer them to 36 different airline partners and because you receive a 25% bonus for doing so. Although they can be used to stay at some fantastic properties for free, I prefer to save my points and redeem them for first class international travel. There’s just something about having a bed for 12 hours in the air while sipping champagne that puts a smile on my face.

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