MaxInsights offers a numerical analysis and recommendation of how to best use this reward system.
The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program earns members Starpoints that can be used across each of Starwood’s 11 brands, which together comprise more than 1,300 hotels. Compared to other hotel points, Starpoints are very valuable, averaging approximately 2.4 cents apiece. The program has countless intricacies and hidden gems, so we suggest that you explore Starwood’s website for a full picture of the program, if SPG piques your curiosity.
- MaxValue Domestic Cash and Points stays (3.5 cents per point)
- MaxFlex Domestic stays (2.5 cents per point)
- Expected Value 2.4 cents per point
The SPG program caters mainly to businesspeople who travel throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe, though Starwood is rapidly growing its presence across other parts of the world. Members of the program fall into three tiers:
Preferred Guest (no requirements): 2 points per dollar spent at Starwood hotels, and more
Gold Preferred Guest (10 stays or 25 nights): 3 points per dollar spent at Starwood hotels, Crossover Rewards with partner airlines, and more
Platinum Preferred Guest (25 stays or 50 nights): 3 points per dollar spent at Starwood hotels, Crossover Rewards with partner airlines, additional points for members with 75 nights in a year, and more
Starpoints can be earned through stays at Starwood hotels, purchases with an SPG credit card, flights with Delta (if you have Medallion-level status), flights with Emirates (if you are a member of the Emirates Skywards program), Uber rides, car rentals, and more.
In late 2016, Marriott and Starwood officially merged, which opened access to a slew of new redemption possibilities. 1 Starpoint is worth 3 Marriott Rewards points, which makes transferring points from to Marriott from Starwood appear foolhardy (3 Marriott Points = 2.1 cents; 1 Starpoint = 2.4 cents), but there are instances in which high-value Marriott redemption alternatives are a far better use of points than lower-value Starwood redemption alternatives. Be sure to conduct your due diligence on the redemption before pulling the trigger.
What exactly are the points worth?
Starpoints are worth approximately 2.4 cents each, which makes them more than 100% more valuable than most other hotel points. With that being said, it is important to be careful when redeeming your points, as offers can value points both far below and far above the expected value. Typically, points redeemed for hotel stays are worth around 2.3 cents apiece, unless the cost is divided between cash and Starpoints, in which case the points are worth approximately 3 cents apiece. Starpoints can also be purchased for 3.5 cents apiece, but this often exceeds the value of the points themselves.
- Domestic stays
- International stays
- Domestic stays (Cash and Points)
- International stays (Cash and Points)
- Car rentals
- Charitable donations
- Gift cards