As far as Hotel Loyalty points go, SPG points are quite valuable. In addition to their use for free nights at Starwood Hotels, they can also be transferred to a range of airline partners, at a fairly good rate.
In addition to staying in hotels, you can buy SPG points directly through points.com. From time to time, SPG offers discounts on Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points, and now is one of those times.
From now, through to March 16, SPG members are eligible for a discount of 35% if you purchase 5,000 points or more.
Prices for Starpoints are given in $US, and if you buy the maximum 30,000 points. That would normally set you back $1,050. With the 35% discount it is reduced to $682.50. Of course, the prices quoted are in US Dollars, At today’s exchange rate, this will be around 9,000 AUD (plus any credit card fees you may incur).
What can the points be used for?
Starpoints can, of course, be used for redeeming award rooms in SPG affiliated hotels.This may or may not be a good deal, depending on which specific hotel you are looking at.
WIth the recent marriage of Starwood and Marriott, you can also transfer SPG points across to Marriott rewards. This is done at a 1:3 ratio, and opens up the possibility of gaining cost effective rooms across the Marriott portfolio.
Points may also be moved to range of airline programs. In transferring to airlines, SPG offer a bonus of 5,000 points if you transfer 20,000 points.
If we take the case of Velocity, the transfer rate is 1:1. All up, a purchase of 20,000 SPG points may be converted into a total of 25,000 Velocity points.
Once in your Frequent Flyer account, they can be used for redemptions in that program. For example, in the case of Velocity, award and upgrades are both worthwhile options, Indeed, by purchasing SPG points and shipping across to Velocity, business class flights may be obtained, for a lower cost that buying the ticket outright.
This, of course, assumes that Award flights or Upgrades are available. There are some time lags in the process that need to be considered. The full process, from points purchase to arriving in your Velocity account could be a week or more.
Other than Velocity, there is an ability to transfer points to a range of airline partners, mostly on a 1:1 ratio. The full table may be found on the SPG website.
The Fine Print
As with most of these offers, there are some terms and conditions that apply. While not too onerous, they still need to be taken into account.
There is a maximum purchase of 30,000 points per calendar year. Accounts that are receiving points also need to have been opened for at least 14 days in order to be eligible.