Thursday, January 22, 2015
My Most Valuable Award Points
Of all of the points and miles I collect, I would consider the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points as being the most valuable. There are two reasons why these points are so valuable. The first is because of their value within the Starwood network of hotels. And the second is the nearly 30 airline transfer partners. And I collect my SPG points by using my American Express SPG card. This card does not have any bonus categories so accumulating points can be slow, and its CC sign-up bonus is only 25K, and can never be repeated by a cardmember.
When it comes to using the SPG points for hotel stays, the sweet spot is the Category 3 properties for five nights. Examples of Category 3 properties in Europe include two Sheratons in Rome, Westin in Warsaw, Poland, or the Sheraton Bratislava in Slovakia. Who hasn’t wanted to travel to Bratislava?!?
But I digress. For any of these properties, it would cost 28K SPG points for a five-night stay. For a random mid-June stay, the nightly rate is 115 euro/night or 575 euros total. At today’s rates, that’s about $670 for just the base rate, or a 2.4 cents per point redemption. By the way, in my experience when you use points, the cost is completely free. No taxes, fees, just points.
My past uses of SPG points includes the Sheraton Vistana Village Resorts in Orlando for a five night family vacation to Universal and Sea World, and a seven-night stay at the Westin Market Street in San Francisco. I have also stayed for two nights at the Four Points Sheraton Fallsview Niagara Falls.
As for airline partners, I have not yet used my SPG points to transfer to airlines because I value their hotel redemptions so highly. But there are nearly 30 transfer airline partners. One of the best uses of SPG points for airline transfers is the Nights and Flights option for category 3 and 4 properties.
Using this option allows you to save 8-10K SPG points vs if you book the hotel reservation and airline miles transfers separately. The biggest issue with this redemption is that it begins at 60K SPG points. Unlike many other hotel points, SPG points are very difficult to accumulate at an accelerated rate.
Overall, my SPG points are my most valuable points amongst my dozens of airline and hotel accounts. I am happy to use them for the great value that they return.