Starwood Preferred Guest – How to Redeem Starwood Points Wisely

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How to Redeem Starpoints
There are countless ways to redeem your SPG points such as redeem starwood points for hotel stays, for airline miles, for room upgrades, for gift cards. Let’s find out how to redeem Starwood Points and how to do it wisely.

Redeem Starpoints for hotel stays

Book award nights

Starwood Hotels in higher categories require more points to redeem, and when you redeem points for 4 nights at a Category 3-7 property, you’ll receive the 5th consecutive night free. Hotel nights can be redeemed for as little as 2,000 Starpoints a night to 35,000 a night for the highest-quality luxury hotels. It can take 6-8 weeks for points to post to your account, so don’t count on instant redemption. Plan ahead when considering how you want to use your bonus points.

Below are the 7 Hotel Categories and the points required per night, for a standard room redemption, room upgrade, and suite upgrade:


Free Night Room Upgrade Suite Upgrade
Category 1 2,000 – 3,000 Starpoints 1,000 – 1,500 Starpoints 3,000 Starpoints
Category 2 3,000 – 4,000 Starpoints 1,000 – 1,500 Starpoints 4,000 Starpoints
Category 3 7,000 Starpoints 1,000 – 1,500 Starpoints 7,000 Starpoints
Category 4 10,000 Starpoints 1,000 – 1,500 Starpoints 10,000 Starpoints
Category 5 12,000 – 16,000 Starpoints 1,500 – 2,750 Starpoints 12,000 – 16,000 Starpoints
Category 6 20,000 – 25,000 Starpoints 1,500 – 2,750 Starpoints  20,000 –  25,000 Starpoints
Category 7 30,000 – 35,000 Starpoints 1,500 – 2,750 Starpoints 30,000 – 35,000 Starpoints

Redeem Starpoints for airline miles

With SPG Flights, you can redeem Starpoints to fly on over 150 airlines. Here is the redemption rate for airplane tickets:

Ticket Price (includes Taxes & Fees)
Starpoints
up to $150 10,000
$150 – $215 15,000
$215 – $280 20,000
$280 – $345 25,000
$345 – $410 30,000
$410 – $475 35,000
$475 – $540 40,000
$540 – $605 45,000
$605 – $670 50,000
$670 – $735 55,000
$735 – $800 60,000
$800 – $865 65,000
$865 – $930 70,000
$930 – $995 75,000
$995 – $1,060 80,000
Higher Prices (examples)
$2,880 – $3,140 235,000
$4,960 – $5,220 395,000

Nights & Flights

If you have accumulated enough points, then you can save Starpoints by redeeming 5 free nights and 50,000 air miles together. Nights & Flights reward only applies to category 3 and category 4 hotels, and on airlines with a 1:1 Starpoints-to-miles exchange rate. You can redeem 5 nights and 50,000 air miles at a Category 3 hotel for 60,000 Starpoints, or a Category 4 hotel for 70,000 Starpoints.

Other ways to redeem Starpoints

  • Redeem for Instant Awards: Starpoints can be redeemed for Instant Awards at Starwood hotels and resorts for in-hotel indulgences from massages to dinner and more.
  • Gift Cards and Car Rentals: Starwood partners with many services and merchandise partners outside of the SPG network of hotels and resorts. Some of these include Amazon, Starbucks, Sixt Rent-a-Car, and many more. For example, you can redeem 14,000 starpoints for a $150 amazon gift card.
  • Charity: Starpoints can be donated to charity or given to another Starwood Rewards member.
  • VIP Moments: Starpoints can be used to bid on VIP moments such as meet and greets, intimate performances, backstage access, and more.
  • Amtrak: You can transfer Starpoints to Amtrak Guest Rewards at a 1:1 Starpoint to rail miles ratio. Transfers must be made in 5,000 Starpoints increments.

For more details on these redemption options, visit the SPG Redemption Page.

How to maximize your Starwood points value

When redeeming points, you can compare the rewards earn rate of different redemption options to see if you are getting the most of your points. To estimate the rewards earn rate, divide the standard rate of the hotel stay by the number of Starpoints required to redeem one night. Let’s look at a few hotel stay redemption examples for 2 adults staying for 1 night:

This Four Points by Sheraton is located in downtown Seattle, and according to the hotel data collecting company STR Global, as of 2015 this brand is ranked an upscale, or 4-star level hotel. It has a nightly rate starting at $219USD, and as a SPG Category 4 hotel, requires only 10,000 Starpoints to redeem per night, so each point is estimated to be worth:

$219/10,000 = 0.0219, or 2.19 cents per point

This is an example of a higher-value redemption. As a general rule, you want to aim for a rewards earn rate above 1 cent for most hotel chains. Because Starpoints require more spending to earn, you want to aim for a Starpoints earn rate above 1.5-2 cent for Starwood hotels.

Here is another brand, the Westin, located in Bellevue, Washington, which is 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. According to STR Global’s 2015 hotel rankings, this brand is an Upper-Upscale (4- or 5-star hotel). The nightly rates start from $169.00 a night, and as a SPG Category 5 hotel, requires 16,000 Starpoints to redeem one night.

$169.00/16,000 = 0.0106, or 1.06 cents per point

There is also the option of redeeming using SPG Cash & Points, with 6,000 Starpoints + $110USD. The cash covers 10,000 Starpoints of the redemption cost, meaning these points cost 1.1 cents each. However, taking into consideration time and money, if you are not a frequent Starwood stayer, then perhaps paying $110 is more convenient than waiting months to earn the needed Starpoints.

Whether you redeem with points + cash or all Starpoints, this redemption rate is not as good as the Four Points hotel example, seeing as these Starpoints are worth half that of the first example. Calculating reward earn rates cannot account for all factors that go into making a hotel decision, but browsing around and comparing will definitely help you with comparing hotel options.

Earn more points with Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card

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