The Starwood Preferred Guest program earns valuable, flexible points which can be transferred to 30+ airline SPG transfer partners. When used effectively, SPG points can deliver high-quality travel rewards.
If you’re just starting with miles and points, it’s important to know the SPG basics so you can better shape your future SPG redemption strategy for maximum value.
So even though, you may think of SPG for their upscale hotels like the W Hotels, Le Meridien, Westin, and St. Regis, this guide is all about earning SPG points and better understanding the SPG airline transfer partners.
Which credit cards earn SPG points?
There’s a personal and a business version of the Starwood American Express card. These cards typically earn a 25k SPG point sign-up bonus after meeting the minimum spend. On occasion, the sign-up bonus has offered up to 35k SPG points.
Since Marriott acquired SPG and the loyalty programs have slowly merged. While you don’t transfer Marriott points to SPG, it’s possible to convert Marriott points to SPG points. Marriott points covert at a 3:1 ratio to SPG points.
Chase issues 2 co-branded Marriott cards, also 1 personal and 1 business version. The sign-up bonus on these cards fluctuates from 75k-120k with some variables between the offers. Indirectly, a 75k Marriott sign-up bonus can be converted to 25k Starpoints for $2k less in minimum spend than the Amex SPG card.
Keep in mind, though, Chase’s personal Marriott card counts toward 5/24. Depending on your travel goals, it may make sense to include this card as 1 of the first 5 travel rewards cards to get.
How else do you earn Starwood Points?
Starwood points are not as easy to earn compared to other transferable points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards.
Chase Ultimate Rewards offers a shopping portal for cardholders to earn more points. American Express has Amex Offers that allow cardholders to earn additional points while shopping at selected stores. There are no such similar SPG promos.
Of course, paid stays at SPG properties allow members to earn between 2-3 SPG points per $1 spent. And, it pays to register for seasonal SPG promotions to earn bonus points for paid hotel stays.
In addition, Starwood and Delta Crossover Rewards let you earn Delta SkyMiles when you stay at a Starwood property and an SPG bonus when you fly on Delta.
Who are the SPG transfer partners?
There are 33 SPG airline partners, including those from all 3 major airline alliances. These are not SPG flights, but rather airline partners to which you transfer your SPG points. Most of the partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio. However, as the chart below shows, there are a few airlines to avoid based on their unfavorable transfer ratio.
Starwood only allows transfers to the same transfer partner once within a 24-hour period. So, be sure to know how many points you need to transfer, and if you need more, be ready to transfer more once the 24 hours is up.
For 1:1 Starwood transfer partners, there’s no minimum point transfer for members with Platinum status. SPG Gold members must transfer at least 1,500 SPG points. Everyone else must transfer at least 2,500 SPG points.
Regardless of status, keep reading for why you’ll want to transfer in 20k-point increments.
What is the SPG transfer bonus?
When you transfer SPG points to airlines in 20k-point increments, Starwood gives you a 5k mile bonus. This means transferring 20k Starwood points equals 25k miles in your transfer airline loyalty account.
So ideally, you want to keep your transfers in 20k increments. Even the SPG transfer points daily maximum should be avoided. You can transfer 79,999 Starwood points to an airline partner in a 24-hour period. But, as you can see, that’s 1 point short of the perfect 20k increments. Instead, transferring a maximum of 60k SPG points should be the limit you keep in mind.
How long does it take for my Starwood points to transfer?
Starwood points can transfer to some airline partners in as little as 1-3 days. But, as indicated on the SPG website, can take up to 2 weeks, particularly for non-domestic airlines. These are merely estimated transfer times. Your mileage may vary! To dig deeper, check out data points on FlyerTalk.
This can be tricky because you can’t transfer your SPG points back from an airline loyalty account if the award availability disappears.
With this in mind, it’s important to plan ahead.
- Look for flights with plenty of available award seats.
- Check the day before and after your desired departure date for alternate award availability. You may even want to check an alternate nearby airport for award flights. Flexibility can go a long way to complete a successful booking.
- Lastly, when possible, avoid popular destinations at peak times. These award seats tend to disappear fast!
Who can I transfer my points to?
Starwood membership lets you transfer SPG points to other Starwood members who’ve shared the same address as you for at least the last 30 days. This makes combining points between you and a spouse or partner simple to do.
For families who don’t have enough SPG points in 1 account, but when combined do, this member perk is a big help when booking award nights or transferring SPG points to an airline transfer partner.
What are a few of the best ways to use Starwood points?
Of course, when SPG loyalty members redeem Starwood points for award nights at SPG hotels, the value is terrific, especially with the 5th night free. For now, the SPG award chart is reasonable and many of their properties upscale when compared to other hotel loyalty program brands.
But, when transferring SPG points to an airline transfer partner, some partners are better than others.
For example, Singapore Airlines awards standout among other loyalty programs, but are also easily earned by transferring Chase UR, Amex MR, and/or Citi TY points to your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account. (Not to mention the transfer is likely to be instant or a lot quicker with these other programs compared to SPG.)
Instead, focus on airline loyalty programs only SPG gives you access to among the 4 flexible points currencies.
For example, Alaska Airlines has several high-value partners, good mileage pricing on awards, and allows a free stopover per one-way. On the flipside, they aren’t in an airline alliance and SPG is the only flexible points program that transfers to Alaska Airlines.
Air Canada/Aeroplan, All Nippon Airways, and even American Airlines could be among the best SPG redemptions because of award sweet spots, like a round-the-world business class award booking with All Nippon Airways. Or, for those of you short on American Airlines miles, SPG is the only flexible points program with American as a transfer partner.
Overall, SPG points are capable of returning great value when redeemed for award flights. They’re not as easy to earn as Chase UR or Amex MR points, but even in comparatively smaller amounts, can be redeemed for high-value award flights for destinations around the globe.
Which of the SPG transfer partners have you used?
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