Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) was the first hotel loyalty program to allow members to use points for booking an airline ticket on virtually any available flight with their SPG Flights redemption option. And SPG actually offers two different ways to use StarPoints for air travel. First, you can transfer your Starpoints to miles on just about any airline. And second, you can use Starpoints directly to purchase your flight through SPG Flights. Both of these options have pros and cons depending on your specific situation. Let’s take a look at each option.
Note: The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is a great way to earn Starpoints, including up to 25,000 bonus StarPoints for new card members.
Transfer Starpoints to Airline Miles Programs
You can convert Starpoints to airline miles. Starwood Preferred Guests can transfer up to 79,999 Starpoints per transaction per program to the frequent flyer programs. Plus, for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred within the same transaction, Starwood will automatically add another 5,000 Starpoints. This means that up to 94,999 Starpoints can be transferred into your frequent flyer account, with most airlines, making a free flight that much closer. In fact, for those airlines that require 25,000 miles for a ticket, the 5,000 bonus Starpoints make a ticket attainable with just 20,000 Starpoints.
Transfer maximums are based on a combination of member Starpoints and the Starwood Preferred Guest airline transfer transaction bonus. Only one airline transfer transaction per member per program per 24 hour period is allowed; multiple transfer transactions within the same 24 hour period will be rejected. Both the Starwood Preferred Guest and airline frequent flyer program accounts must have identical member names in order to complete this request.
Here is a table showing the airline miles programs you can transfer Starpoints to, along with the transfer ratio:
|Frequent Flyer Program||Exchange Ratio (Starpoints : Miles)|
|Air China Companion||1:1|
|Air New Zealand & Air Points||65:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1:1|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||1:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1|
|Continental Airlines(R) OnePass||2:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1|
|El Al Israel Airlines||No Transfer Option|
|Iberia Plus||No Transfer Option|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1:1|
|Miles and More||1:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||2:1|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||1:1|
|US Airways Dividend Miles||1:1|
|United Mileage Plus||2:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1|
Transferring Starpoints to airline miles can be really handy when you have some airline miles, but not quite enough for a free ticket. You can use Starpoints to top off your airline miles account for a free flight or upgrade.
Redeem Starpoints for Flights
With this option you redeem Starpoints directly for your airline ticket. Tickets are available for more airlines than those currently listed as Starwood Preferred Guest airline transfer partners. You still have the option to transfer Starpoints to an airline and receive miles with Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partners; however, SPG Flights allows you to skip the transfer step, expands your flight options to include more airlines, and eliminates blackout dates and other restrictions found with many airline mile redemption programs. You can redeem Starpoints in three simple steps.
- Go to www.spg.com/flights to search for flights
- Select your flight
- Redeem Starpoints for an airline ticket
Your Starpoints will be deducted from your account and you will receive email itinerary confirmation. The premise of SPG flights is that you can search for any flight directly from spgflights.com and book it with your Starpoints. Starwood then pays the airline for the flight and you still earn miles for the flight. See the table below to get an idea of the purchase price of the flights. If you need more information check out the SPG Flights Terms and Conditions page.
|up to $150||10,000|
Buying More Points
One nice feature is that Starwood let’s members purchase up to 20,000 additional Starpoints per calendar year as long as you have been an SPG member for at least one month. You can buy 500 Starpoints for $17.50. The Starpoint Purchase Plan is for members who need a few extra points to top off your balance so you can get your free ticket. There is no minimum Starpoint transfer requirement for Platinum members. Gold members have a minimum transfer requirement of 1,500 Starpoints, and Preferred members have a minimum transfer requirement of 2,500 Starpoints.
Which Is The Best Option
There really isn’t a right or wrong way to go about purchasing your flight. Each situation is unique, and members must consider all factors, such as: flight times and availability, booking fees, number of Starpoints or airline miles available to them, convenience, etc. to best determine whether or not it is more advantageous to redeem Starpoints than airline miles for a flight. Please note that SPG Flights is a new redemption option created to offer Starwood Preferred Guest members greater versatility for using their Starpoints. It was not created to compete with airline frequency programs, although in some situations, there may be better value redeeming Starpoints for a flight.