Starwood’s SPG Program Overview
As a September 23, 2016, Starwood is now part of Marriott International. Since combining with Starwood, Marriott International, Inc. is the world’s largest hotel company with more than 5,700 properties in over 110 countries, spread across 30 hotel brands. This merger of Marriott and Starwood has resulted in a combined hotel company with some of the best properties in the world with three Hotel Loyalty programs that can be used interchangeably. Marriott is planning on keeping the Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards and Ritz Carlton Rewards programs separate until at least 2018. This guide is focused on the Starwood Preferred Guest Program.
Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) is Starwood’s loyalty program that allows you to earn Starpoints and redeem the points for free nights and upgrades at 1,300 Starwood properties in 100 countries. Starpoints can also be transferred to Marriott Rewards points and to frequent flyer miles at over 30 airline partners.
Starwood Preferred Guest Program: Elite Status and Benefits
When you first sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Program, you will be at the “Preferred Guest” level. The Member Level essentially provides access to the program, the ability to earn points, free Wi-Fi and free bottled water in the room. Beyond the Preferred Guest level are the Elite levels of Gold and Platinum.
You will earn Gold after completing 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year and Platinum after completing 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights in a calendar year. Having options to qualify via both “stays” and “nights” is a very nice feature (vs. Marriott Rewards, which only provides a “nights” qualification option).
Starwood Preferred Gold Status
You will earn Gold status after completing 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year. Eligible paid stays and nights, plus Award redemption stays and nights, count toward elite status. SPG is the only program that allows you to count award stays toward status, most other program will only allow you to qualify based on “paid” stays. This is a great feature!
The following are some of the benefits of SPG Gold Status:
- Earn three Starpoints for every U.S. dollar spent on eligible stays — a 50% bonus over Preferred.
- m. late checkout, subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels.
- An upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in — corner room, higher floor, or better view.
- Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival – choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary premium in-room internet or a beverage on us.
- Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access when you book on SPG digital channels. This is in addition to your welcome gift.
Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Status
You will earn Platinum status after completing 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights in a calendar year. Eligible paid stays and nights, as well as Award redemption stays and nights, count toward elite status
The following are some of the benefits of Starwood Platinum Status:
- Earn three Starpoints for every U.S. dollar spent on eligible stays — a 50% bonus over Preferred.
- Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival — choose from bonus Starpoints, continental breakfast or local amenity.
- An upgrade to best available room at check-in — including a Standard Suite.
- Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access.
- Complimentary health-club, Club-level and Executive-level access.
- Guaranteed room availability when your room is booked by 3 p.m., 72+ hours prior to arrival.
SPG Nights Benefits for Platinum Members
- After 50 eligible nights in a calendar year, you will be able to choose a benefit from a selection of options.
- 10 Suite Night Awards
- Gift Gold status to a friend or family member
- 1 Free Night Award
- Five Elite-Qualifying Nights
- Up to 5 rental days with Silvercar
- SPG donation to UNICEF
- 40% off your favorite hotel bed
- After 75 eligible nights you will have the following additional benefits:
- Earn 4 Starpoints for every eligible U.S. dollar spent — a 100% bonus over the Preferred level, and the richest earning bonus in the hotel industry.
- Your24™ — have the flexibility of choosing your check-in. For example, check in at 9 p.m. and check out 9 p.m. on the day of departure.
- Plus, earn 4 Starpoints per dollar spent with partners like Uber.
- After 100 eligible nights, you will achieve and be awarded SPG’s highest class of service – Ambassador Service. You’re matched with an SPG® ambassador who is your point person every time you stay with SPG.
Starwood Preferred Guest Lifetime Elite Status:
SPG does have offer lifetime status after a certain number of nights attained over the years. After 250 eligible nights total and five years of elite status, and you’ll earn SPG Lifetime Gold status. After 500 eligible nights total and 10 years of Platinum status to earn SPG® Lifetime Platinum status.
SPG Pro Program and Benefits
Starwood also offers the ability to earn points and status to people who may not travel themselves, but book a lot of travel related activities for others. SPG Pro provides credit toward elite status for the eligible meetings or events you plan and all the travel you book for others. This offering is really geared toward professional meeting planners, travel agents and executive assistants. Sign up to be a SPG Pro here… Here is what you can earn.
- Booking Events: Any SPG Pro member who books an Eligible Event with an SPG Participating Hotel is eligible to receive Starpoints for the event as outlined in the signed contract. An SPG Pro member also earns one Eligible Night toward earning elite status for every 20 room nights that are booked and paid for in connection with the Eligible Event at an SPG Participating Hotel. A maximum of 20 Eligible Nights can be earned for each Eligible Event. Once the Eligible Event occurs and the bill is paid in full, the Starpoints and Eligible Nights will be posted to the SPG Pro member’s account.
- Booking Rooms: When an SPG Pro Travel Professional or SPG Pro Executive Assistant makes an eligible booking on behalf of someone else, the SPG Pro member can receive Starpoints. The SPG Pro member can also earn one Eligible Night towards meeting the Gold Minimum Requirement and the Platinum Minimum Requirement for every 20 room nights that he or she books on behalf of someone else. Once the eligible booking occurs and the bill is settled, the Starpoints and Eligible Nights will be posted to the SPG Pro member’s account.
How to Earn Starwood Starpoints
Starwood offers many ways to earn Starpoints. In addition to earning them from staying at Starwood properties, you can earn Starpoints from credit cards, car rentals, flights on Delta and Emirates and even when you use Uber!
Earn Starpoints from hotel stays:
The amount of points you earn will vary based on your SPG Status. Members at the Preferred Guest level earn two Starpoints for every dollar spent. Gold and Platinum members earn three Starpoints for every dollar spent.
Important note about booking through Online Travel Agents (OTA’s): Rooms booked through third party online retailers, such as Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Priceline, etc. are not eligible for Starpoints or Elite night credit.
Earn Starpoints from Dining with SPG Cravings
Even without a hotel stay, all members can earn Starpoints for eligible spend on food and beverage at participating hotels or resorts. Go to Starwood’s spgcravings.com website to find a list of participating restaurants in your area. You will also often receive a discount of up to 30% (on food only, not drinks) as a SPG member.
Earn bonus points with SPG Promotions
Like all major hotel loyalty programs, Starwood frequently publishes promotions to allow members to earn more bonus points for their stays. You will want to make sure you sign up for every Starwood promotion so you don’t miss out on an opportunity to earn bonus points. Check out the Milepro SPG Promotion and Coupon Page for the latest offers.
Credit Cards that earn Starwood Points
There are two ways to earn SPG points from credit cards – co-branded loyalty cards and cards with transfer options.
Earn SPG points from both SPG and Marriott Credit Cards: SPG Co-Branded Credit Cards are available as both a personal and business cards and allow you to earn Starpoints points on every purchase you make. With the Marriott / Starwood Merger, Marriott Co-Branded Credit Cards are also now an option to earn SPG points!
- Starwood Preferred Guest American Express– earn points directly in your Starwood Account
- Starwood Preferred Guest BUSINESS American Express– earn points directly in your Starwood Account
- Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card– earn points directly in your Marriott Account, then transfer to SPG at a ratio of 3:1 (3 Marriott points equal 1 Starpoint)
- Marriott Rewards Premier BUSINESS Card– earn points directly in your Marriott Account, then transfer to SPG at a ratio of 3:1 (3 Marriott points equal 1 Starpoint)
- Ritz Carlton Rewards Visa– Ritz Carlton Points and Marriott Points can be used interchangeably and can be transferred to your SPG account at a 3:1 ratio
Transfer Membership rewards points to SPG Starpoints: The American Express Membership Rewards program offers a transfer to SPG at a ratio of 1,000 membership rewards points to 500 Starpoints. There are many Amex cards that offer the ability to earn membership rewards, including:
- American Express Green Card
- Platinum Card from American Express
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card
- Amex Everyday Credit Card
- Gold Card from American Express
- Blue from American Express Card
- The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express
Transfer Diners Club Points to SPG Starpoints. Diners Club “Club Rewards” can also be transferred to Marriott Points at a ratio of 1,250 Club Rewards Points: 750 Marriott Points. The following cards earn Diners Club “Club Rewards”:
Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Partners – Delta and Emirates
Starwood partnered with both Delta and Emirates to earn reciprocal benefits in each program.
Crossover Rewards with Delta provides rewards for SPG elites when they fly Delta and provides rewards for Delta elites when they stay at Starwood properties.
- SPG Elite Member Benefits when Flying Delta – SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Plus, SPG Platinum members enjoy elite benefits when traveling with Delta, such as Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades, and first checked bag free
- Delta Elite Member benefits when staying at Starwood – SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion® members earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on eligible room rates at over 1,100 Starwood hotels and resorts globally. Plus, SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members receive additional SPG benefits at Starwood hotels and resorts — 4 p.m. late checkout, access to the SPG elite check-in line, complimentary in-room Internet access and an upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in, when available
Your World Rewards with Emirates provides rewards for SPG elites when they fly Emirates and provides rewards for Emirates elites when they stay at Starwood properties.
- SPG Elite Member Benefits when Flying Emirates – SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. SPG Platinum members enjoy elite in-airport benefits, including priority check-in, priority boarding and complimentary e-gate access (learn more at emirates.com)
- Emirates Elite Member benefits when staying at Starwood – Emirates Skywards® Silver, Gold and Platinum members earn 1 Mile per US dollar (on top of Starpoints) for all eligible stays at Starwood hotels and resorts worldwide. Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members enjoy additional benefits at Starwood hotels and resorts, including 4pm late checkout,2 access to the SPG elite check-in line3 and complimentary in-room Internet access.
Starwood Preferred Guest Transportation Partners
Avis – receive up to 30% off with AWD# K817200, plus Starwood Preferred Guests earn 50 Starpoints per day for every qualifying rental with Avis at participating locations worldwide.
Budget – Starwood Preferred Guests earn 50 Starpoints per day for every qualifying rental with Budget at participating locations worldwide. Plus save up to 30% off your rental with offer code (BCD) R615700
Sixt – Starwood Preferred Guests® can earn 250 Starpoints for every eligible SIXT rental at over 4,000 participating SIXT rent a car locations in 105 countries worldwide. Members can also earn 500 Starpoints for the Sixt Limousine Service.
Uber – earn one Starpoint per U.S. dollar spent with Uber. During your stays with SPG, you’ll earn more Starpoints (based on your tier level) per U.S. dollar spent with Uber, in addition to your standard SPG earnings. For complete SPG and Uber terms and conditions, visit spg.com/uber
Earn Starpoints on Broadway
SPG and Audience Rewards®, the official rewards program of Broadway, have teamed up for an exclusive partnership so that you can earn Starpoints on purchases of Broadway show tickets. Visit SPG.com/broadway to view all of the special theatre awards and to take advantage of this unique Earn option.
Earn Starpoints at Hotel Partner Caesars Entertainment
SPG members can both earn and redeem Starpoints for stays at participating Caesars Entertainment hotels
- Registered SPG members earn 2 Starpoints for every eligible $1 charged to their hotel folio at Caesars Entertainment hotels(in addition to Reward Credits earned through Total Rewards, Caesars Entertainment’s award-winning loyalty program).
- Plus, registered SPG members earn credit toward SPG elite qualification for redeemed and paid Caesars Entertainment stays, up to 10 nights per calendar year.
- SPG Platinum members can take advantage of VIP Access at Caesars Entertainment hotels in Las Vegas – VIP Line for hotel check-in, casino cages, select restaurants, entertainment venues, nightclubs, and more!
Note: Registration for the SPG-Total Reward Member Benefits requires active membership in both the SPG Program and the Total Rewards program and that an individual’s membership accounts in both programs are under the same name.
Caesars Participating Hotels include:
- Bally’s Atlantic City, NJ
- Bally’s Las Vegas, NV
- Caesars Atlantic City, NJ
- Caesars Palace Las Vegas, NV
- The Cromwell Las Vegas, NV
- Flamingo Las Vegas, NV
- Harrah’s Atlantic City, NJ
- Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, NV
- Harrah’s Las Vegas, NV
- Harrah’s New Orleans, LA
- Harrah’s Reno, NV
- Harvey’s Lake Tahoe, NV
- Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, NV
- Paris Las Vegas, NV
- Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, NV
- The Linq Las Vegas, NV
- Rio Las Vegas, NV
Starwood Preferred Guest Redemption Options – How to use your points
There are a wide variety of things you can do with your Starpoints from free nights to frequent flyer miles to broadway shows and much more….
Using SPG Points for Hotel Nights
Starwood Properties are grouped into categories to determine how many points are needed for a free night at any giving property. The amount of points per property category is listed below. If you are staying for a longer time, it is always good to take advantage 5th night free option (Redeem five nights and your fifth night is free at category 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 hotels).
SPG Category 1 3,000 Starpoints
SPG Category 2 4,000 Starpoints
SPG Category 3 7,000 Starpoints
SPG Category 4 10,000 Starpoints
SPG Category 5 12,000-16,000 Starpoints
SPG Category 6 20,000-25,000 Starpoints
SPG Category 7 30,000-35,000 Starpoints
If you don’t have enough points for a free stay, you can also use the “Cash and Points” option to use a mixture of points and cash to reduce the cost of your stay. This is a mixed bag from a points value standpoint. For example, it will generally not make sense to use cash and points at a nice SPG resort in the off season, but in peak season when rates are very high it may be a good use of points, if you don’t have enough to use points for your complete stay.
Transferring SPG Points to Airline Programs
Starwood also allows you to transfer you points to over 30 Airline Frequent Flyer Mile Programs. SPG Members can make one transfer of up to 79,999 Starpoints per transfer partner program listed in the transfer partner drop-down menu within a 24-hour period.
Plus, for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred by a SPG Member to a single transfer partner program within the same transaction, Starwood will automatically add an additional transfer transaction bonus of 5,000 Starpoints! This means that up to a total of 94,999 Starpoints per 24-hour period may be able to be transferred into the SPG Member’s transfer partner membership account with most transfer partners.
Using Starpoints for SPG Flights
Rather than transferring points to the airline frequent flyer program, SPG flights allows you to use your starpoints to book flights directly on over 150 airlines. The amount of Starpoints required for this depends on the market rate of the given airline ticket.
The table below provides the number of starpoints required based on airline ticket cost. With this option you will have access to more airlines than the frequent flyer mile transfer option, will earn miles on your flight, can book immediately and may avoid surcharges, but the general rule of thumb is that this is not a great use of Starpoints, in the majority of cases.
SPG Nights and Flights – using Starpoints for your hotel and airfare!
The Starwood Preferred Guest Nights & Flights package allows you to redeem your Starpoints for a five night stay at a SPG Category 3 or 4 hotel, plus 50,000 airline miles to use for your flight. These packages can represent decent point savings when compared with booking a hotel with Starpoints and transferring Starpoints to the airline frequent flyer program separately.
According to Starwood, this will allow you to save 18,000 Starpoints on a Category 3 package and 20,000 Starpoints on a category 4 package. But that calculation does not take into consideration the 5th night free you get with any 5 night Starpoint redemption, so the savings is closer to 8,000 – 10,000 Starpoints.
The problem with this package is that is only works for Category 3 and Category 4 hotels and assumes a five night stay.
You will need to call the SPG hotline directly to redeem this package. Call SPG at (888)-625-4988
Convert Starpoints to Amtrak Guest Rewards
Use your Starpoints to transfer at a 1:1 ration to Amtrak Guest Rewards. You will need to call the SPG hotline directly to make this transfer. Call SPG at (888)-625-4988
Use Starpoints for Certificates for Avis and Sixt Car Rentals
A $50 Avis Gift Certificate with cost you 3,500 Starpoints. At a value of $0.70 per Starpoint, this is not a good use of Starpoints from a value standpoint. On top of that, it takes 4-6 weeks to receive the certificate and you can only use one per rental.
A $50 Sixt Gift Certificate with cost you 3,500 Starpoints. It will take 4 weeks to receive the certificate, you can only use one per rental and the terms are more restrictive as the certificates can only be used in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, United Kingdom (London and Manchester) and Spain (only in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, Majorca).
Redeem for Once in a Lifetime Experiences with SPG Moments
The SPG Moments program gives SPG members VIP access to concerts, culinary experiences, premier sporting events and more. These are special redemption offers that are hard to put a value on because they are so unique and typically cannot be purchased on the retail market. You will have to “bid” on the experiences in an auction format, so the points required can get quite high if you are looking for an event that is in high demand, such as the world series. Sports fans living in New York have the most options, as there are a lot of events at Madison Square Garden.
Redeem Starpoints for Gift Cards at Major Retailers
Starpoints can be redeemed for gift cards at companies like Amazon, Banana Republic, Bliss, Brookstone, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and many more. The value per Starpoint varies by retailer and size of gift card, but the average is around $0.01 per Starpoint
The Marriott Starwood Merger
As of September 23, 2016 Marriott and Starwood are now one company, creating the world’s largest hotel company, with more than 5,700 properties in over 110 countries. Currently there are three loyalty programs with over 85 million members under the Marriott umbrella – Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz Carlton Rewards.
Marriott has segmented its brands into four broad categories of Luxury, Premium, Select and Longer Stay and then further sub-segments each by “Classic” and Distinctive” properties. Below is a list of all categories included the reward program the brand participates in:
- Classic Luxury
- Distinctive Luxury
- The Luxury Collection – Participates in the SPG Program.
- The Ritz Carlton Reserve – Does not participate in any of the 3 loyalty programs.
- Bulgari Hotels Does not participate in any of the 3 loyalty programs.
- W Hotels – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Edition – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Classic Premium
- Marriott Hotels and Resorts – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Sheraton – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Marriott Vacation Club – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Delta Hotels – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Distinctive Premium
- Le Meridien – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Westin – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Autograph Collection – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Design Hotels – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Renaissance Hotels – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Tribute Portfolio – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Gaylord Hotels – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Classic Select
- Courtyard – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Four Points – Participates in the SPG Program.
- Springhill Suites– Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Protea Hotels – Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Fairfield Inn and Suites– Participates in Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Distinctive Select
- Classic Longer Stays
- Distinctive Longer Stays
- Element – Participates in the SPG Program.
Loyalty Program Implications of the Merger
The fears of most SPG Elite members can be put to rest, at least for a couple of years, as Marriott has done a great job with this merger and the corresponding rewards programs. As of the first official day of the merger (9/23/2016), Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), were able to link their accounts at members.marriott.com to receive the benefits, recognition and experiences each program has to offer.
Members will have their status matched across programs and be able to transfer and redeem points across programs for travel to more destinations than ever before. Members who link their accounts will be able to transfer points at a three-to-one ratio (three Marriott Rewards points = one SPG Starpoint) between the programs for redemption stays or on the Marriott Rewards Experiences Marketplace or SPG’s Moments platform.