Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Loyalty Program Review

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Loyalty Program

SPG Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

The credit card options for earning SPG Starpoints are quite limited, but definitely worth it.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

You can earn SPG Starpoints directly with one of their co-branded credit cards. There are some amazing Starwood properties that can be booked with these points.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

The cards below earn Amex points, which can be directly transferred to SPG points at a rate of 3:1. This should only be done if absolutely necessary.

Recommend Personal Cards

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Card Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Card Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Card Review

Recommend Business Cards

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
  • Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Card Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Card Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Card Review

SPG Hotel Overview

Starwood Hotels manages over 1,270 properties in 100 countries across have 12 different brands.

Familiar brands such as Sheraton, Westin, and W Hotels are joined by a range of mid-upscale to luxury hotels from aloft to St Regis.

The combined Marriott-Starwood hotel chain has 30 brands. Members of each program already enjoy reciprocal benefits and the ability to transfer points between the programs.

Joining Starwood Preferred Guest

Register online for a free Starwood Preferred Guest account.

Linking Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest

Marriott SPG Account Link

In 2018, Marriott will announce plans for its combined program of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG.

Until then, you can link your Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards accounts to enjoy reciprocal elite status and transfer points between the programs.

How to Sign in to Your Starwood Preferred Guest Account

Sign in on the SPG homepage. You’ll need to enter your username or SPG number and password.

Viewing Your Account Activity

Your My Account page shows recent points activity, elite status progress, and benefits.

Profile Preferences

Use the My Profile page to update your address, choose stay preferences, and update your contact information.

Points Expiration

Starpoints expire after 12 months of inactivity.

Activity includes earning points, redeeming points, and even point transfers.

Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Program

SPG members get several benefits just for registering with the program, including complimentary in-room internet when booking directly with SPG.

Hot Tip: You earn SPG elite status credits on award stays (not just paid stays), which is a rarity among hotel programs. This gives flexibility in elite qualification.

SPG Preferred Guest:

  • Complimentary in-room internet when booked directly with SPG
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • No award blackout dates

SPG Preferred Guest Plus (SPG credit card holders and partner membership with certain organizations such as AAA and AARP):

  • Upgrades to enhanced rooms
  • 4 pm late checkout (subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels)

SPG Gold Preferred Guest:

  • All Preferred Guest Plus benefits
  • 50% point bonus
  • Welcome gift: 250 bonus Starpoints (125 at Aloft, Element, Four Points), in-room internet access (when not booking direct), or free drink

SPG Platinum Preferred Guest (50 nights):

  • All Gold Preferred Guest benefits
  • Room upgrade to best available, including suites
  • Welcome gift: 500 bonus Starpoints (250 at Aloft, Element, Four Points), local gift, or continental breakfast
  • Complimentary in-room internet even when not booking directly
  • Lounge access, where available
  • Choice of one 50 Night benefit per year: 10 Suite Night Awards, gift Gold status, 5 elite-qualifying nights, SPG donation to UNICEF, or 40% off your favorite hotel bed

SPG Platinum Preferred Guest (75 nights):

  • 100% point bonus
  • Your24™ benefit to check in at any time of day and get a 24-hour stay

SPG Platinum Preferred Guest (100 nights):

  • SPG Ambassador service

Earning SPG Elite Status

Earning SPG elite status is straightforward and does not require a minimum dollar spend. You can qualify on either stays or nights:

  • Gold Preferred Guest: 10 stays or 25 nights annually
  • Platinum Preferred Guest: 25 stays or 50 nights annually
  • Additional Platinum benefits for reaching 75 nights and 100 nights annually

Credit Card Fast Track to Elite Status

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express cardholders receive 2 stay credits and 5 night credits annually. You can double this by having both the personal and business credit cards.

By spending $30,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, you will be given Gold Preferred Guest status.

Lifetime Status

SPG has lifetime status levels that many travelers aspire to. You need a combination of nights and years with elite status, but the years of elite status do not need to be consecutive.

  • 250 nights and 5 years with elite status (Gold or Platinum)
  • 500 nights and 10 years Platinum status

Value of SPG Elite Status

SPG Platinum Preferred Guest is one of the most sought after hotel elite statuses for its lounge access and suite upgrades. For many road warriors, achieving Lifetime Platinum is a mission to complete during their careers.

Platinum gets even better after reaching 75 nights since it comes with the flexibility to check in at any time of day and have a 24-hour stay.

In contrast, SPG Gold Preferred Guest is not as strong, particularly because it lacks any breakfast benefit.

The future loyalty program of the combined Marriott-Starwood is set to be announced in 2018 for the 2019 program year. Until then, SPG loyalists are nervously hoping their preferred benefits are not lost.

How to Earn SPG Points

Earning Points With SPG Stays

SPG members earn Starpoints during eligible stays. The earn rate increases with elite status:

  • Preferred Guest: 2X points per dollar
  • Gold Guest: 3X points per dollar
  • Platinum Guest: 3X points per dollar (increases to 4X points per dollar after 75 nights in a year)

You’ll earn points for your Starwood room rate and additional room charges including food, beverages, laundry service, telephone service, and movies/video games.

Hot Tip: Even when not staying at an SPG hotel, you can earn points for dining at one. Have the restaurant fill out a point request form to submit to SPG.

Don’t forget to collect points for your check-in gift! These vary per hotel but generally range from 500-1,000 points per stay.

The Green Choice program, offered in honor of Starwood’s sustainability initiatives, earns you 500 points each night you decline housekeeping service.

Note that this is not offered on single-night stays, and it is only available on nights other than your last night.

SPG Meetings

You can earn Starpoints by holding meetings at SPG properties.

  • Preferred Guest members earn 1X point per $3
  • Gold Guest and Platinum Guest members earn 1X point per $2

Airline Partner “Double Dipping”

Most hotel programs make you choose to earn either hotel points or airline miles, but you can’t earn both at the same time.

SPG has 3 innovative airline partnerships that allow you to earn both SPG Starpoints and airline miles for your stays and airline tickets. Plus, elite status gains you certain reciprocal travel benefits.

Crossover Rewards With Delta Air Lines

SPG Delta Crossover Rewards

Crossover Rewards is an extensive partnership between SPG and Delta that ranges from earning points to getting Westin-branded bedding in business class on Delta flights.

To participate, link your accounts. You will only enjoy program benefits once you hold certain SPG or Delta elite status.

SPG Gold and Platinum members earn 1X Starpoint per dollar spent on Delta flights. This is in addition to miles you earn with Delta SkyMiles.

SPG Platinum elite members traveling on Delta receive priority check-in, priority boarding, unlimited complimentary upgrades, and their first checked bag free.

Delta Medallion members (Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond) earn 1X mile per dollar on eligible room rates at SPG hotels.

Diamond and Platinum Medallion members staying at SPG properties also enjoy an SPG elite check-in line, upgrades to an enhanced room, complimentary in-room internet, and 4 pm late checkout.

See full program details from SPG and Delta.

Your World Awards With Emirates

SPG and Emirates have partnered in Your World Rewards.

Program details and benefits are similar to Crossover Rewards. See full program details from SPG and Emirates.

Eastern Explorer Awards With China Eastern

SPG China Eastern Eastern Explorer Rewards

The newest SPG airline partnership is Eastern Explorer Awards with China Eastern.

Program details and benefits are similar to Crossover Rewards. See full program details from SPG and China Eastern.

Bottom Line: You can only participate in 1 SPG airline partnership at a time and must have qualifying SPG or airline elite status to participate. Make sure to register in the right partnership for you!

Uber

SPG Uber

You can earn SPG Starpoints with your Uber rides. Earning rates are now:

  • 0.5X points per dollar on everyday Uber rides
  • 2X points per dollar during SPG stays
  • No elite bonus

Link your SPG and Uber accounts to participate.

Starpoint Transfers

Family living at the same address can freely transfer Starpoints among members in increments of 1,000 points. See terms and transfer here.

SPG Credit Cards

One of the best ways to earn SPG Starpoints is to use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

By signing up, you’ll get an immediate points bonus (check for the current deal) plus 1X point per dollar for everyday purchases.

Card benefits include free Boingo WiFi hotspot access, automatic elite status credit for 5 nights and 2 stays, and premium in-room internet!

The business card adds lounge access at Sheraton brand hotels where available.

How to Redeem SPG Points

SPG is popular among travelers both for free night awards and airline transfers. For these and other reasons, SPG is regarded as one of the most valuable and versatile loyalty programs.

See our feature on dozens of great airline awards made possible with SPG airline transfers.

Free Nights

Free Nights start at 2,000 points. Search for rates at specific properties with the Starpoints Visualizer.

CategoryStarpoints
13,000 (2,000 on weekends)
24,000 (3,000 on weekends)
37,000
410,000
512,000-16,000
620,000-25,000
730,000-35,000

5th Night Free

The 5th night of an award stay is free. Category 1 and 2 hotels are excluded.

Cash & Points

Cash & Points are an alternative to Free Nights. Do the math to see if spending fewer points with a cash copay is a better value for you than Free Nights.

CategoryStandard RoomUpgraded Rooms & Suites
11,500 points + $302,000-2,250 points + $50-$60
22,000 points + $352,500-2,750 points + $55-$65
33,500 points + $554,000-4,250 points + $75-$85
45,000 points + $755,500-5,750 points + $95-$105
56,000 points + $1106,750-7,250 points + $135-$150
610,000 points + $18010,750-11,250 points + $210-$230
715,000 points + $27515,750-16,250 points + $290-$315

Cash & Points availability is generally less than Free Nights.

Room & Suite Upgrades

You can also use points to upgrade a paid stay.

CategoryRoom UpgradeSuite Upgrade
11,000-1,5003,000
21,000-1,5004,000
31,000-1,5007,000
41,000-1,50010,000
51,500-2,75012,000-16,000
61,500-2,75020,000-25,000
71,500-2,75030,000-35,000

Transfer Starpoints to Marriott or Ritz-Carlton

With Starwood combining with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, you can now transfer Starpoints to your Marriott Rewards (or Ritz-Carlton Rewards) account at a 1:3 ratio.

You can then use the many options of Marriott Rewards for redeeming points.

Transfer Starpoints to Airlines

Transferring SPG points to airline partners is popular, and for good reason: every 20,000 points transferred earns you a 5,000-mile bonus! That means 20,000 Starpoints gets you 25,000 miles on most airlines.

You can only transfer up to 79,999 points (including bonus) per 24 hours. To maximize your bonuses, transfer 60,000 points or less each day.

Pay attention to estimated transfer times too; few airlines will hold awards while you wait for a transfer. Plan carefully!

SPG Transfer Partner (Airline)Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus1:110 days
AeroMexico Club Premier1:12 days
Air Canada Aeroplan1:15 days
Air Berlin topbonus1:17 days
Air China PhoenixMiles1:15 days
Air New Zealand Airpoints65:12 days
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan1:12 days
Alitalia MilleMiglia1:1unknown
ANA Mileage Club1:17 days
American Airlines AAdvantage1:12 days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:110 days
Asiana Club1:110 days
Avianca Airlines LifeMiles1:1unknown
British Airways Executive Club1:15 days
China Eastern Airlines1:1unknown
China Southern Sky Pearl Club1:13 days
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles1:12 days
Emirates Skywards1:14 days
Etihad Guest1:15 days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue1:11 day
Gol Smiles2:1unknown
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles1:12 days
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank1:17 days
Jet Airways JetPrivilege1:1unknown
Korean Air SkyPass1:17 days
LATAM Pass1:1.52 days
Lufthansa Miles and More1:14 days
Qatar Airways Privilege Club1:13 weeks
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan1:1unknown
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:17 days
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus1:110 days
United MileagePlus2:12 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:11 day
Virgin Australia Velocity1:12 days

Flights & Nights

Flights & Nights is only available for Category 3 and 4 properties.

For a single Starpoint price, you’ll receive a 5-night award stay and 50,000 airline miles (at any 1:1 airline transfer partner):

  • Category 3: 60,000 points
  • Category 4: 70,000 points

A standard 5-night award at these properties would cost:

  • Category 3: 4 nights x 7,000 points + 0 points for 5th night free  = 28,000 points
  • Category 4: 4 nights x 10,000 points + 0 points for 5th night free  = 40,000 points

This means that if you were already planning a 5-night award, by paying an extra 32,000/30,000 Starpoints, you get 50,000 airline miles—a better transfer rate than regular transfers to airline partners.

 SPG Flights

SPG Flights
SPG Flights is a method to directly purchase flights using Starpoints rather than transferring points to miles in a frequent flyer program.

The advantage of SPG Flights is that these are booked with airlines as cash fares. If there is a ticket for sale, you can book it.

Contrast this with award availability, which can be frustrating to find. Plus, you will earn miles for your flights if you are a member of the airline’s frequent flyer program.

The disadvantage is SPG Flights returns a value of 1.5 cents per point at most. SPG usually has better options for reedeeming points in other situations.

SPG Flights Tiers

SPG Moments

SPG Moments provides special access to sporting and cultural events such as the World Series.

Sold via auction, SPG Moments can get pricey!

Shopping Awards

SPG has several gift card partners including iTunes, Banana Republic, and Amazon.

These usually return around 1 cent per point in value.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply Now

FAQ

What is the SPG program? What does SPG stand for?
SPG is the loyalty program for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and it stands for the Starwood Preferred Guest program. This is a free program that allows you to earn status benefits and points to be redeemed for awards.

What are the Starwood Preferred Guest benefits? Is it worth it?
SPG has benefits that increase as you move up elite status levels: Preferred, Gold, and Platinum. Upon joining SPG, you get free in-room internet when you book your stay directly with SPG and free bottled water, so that’s worth it right away!

Being a member allows you to earn points that can be redeemed for free nights, SPG Moments, and travel with partners. You can also earn points with Uber.

Staying 25 nights or completing 10 stays gets you to SPG Gold status. At Gold, you also get late checkout, complimentary upgrades, arrival gifts, Delta Crossover Rewards, and more.

It takes 50 nights or 25 stays to reach Platinum, upon which you’ll earn better arrival gifts, upgrades, and access to lounges where available. You’ll also earn elite status in Delta and Emirates, and become eligible for SPG 50 Nights benefits. Reach 75 and 100 nights in a year to add even more benefits.

What are all the different SPG hotels?
Starwood hotels and resorts include Westin, Sheraton, Four Points, Element, W, Aloft, Design Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute, St. Regis, and Le Meridien.

How much are SPG points worth?
Your redemption value will be different based upon your particular situation. However, the hotel seems to have good value in general, and most people can get around $0.02 per point.

How many points per stay does an SPG hotel cost?
Redeeming points for an award starts at 2,000 points for a Category 1 hotel and goes up to 35,000 for a Category 7 property. Cash & Points bookings save points in exchange for a cash fee.

Are SPG points transferable?
Yes. You can transfer to travel partners, other SPG members, charities, or even some other options. To transfer, sign in to your account and go to the transfer page to find the option you want to use.

When do SPG points expire?
Your points will expire after 12 months if you haven’t had any activity on your account. Activity includes staying in a hotel or earning or redeeming points.

When does SPG status expire?
When you reach an elite status tier, it becomes effective immediately. Your earned status is good for the remainder of that calendar year, the whole following year, and through February of the year after that.

Is there an SPG credit card?
Yes. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express are the only 2 branded SPG credit cards.

What is SPG flights?
This is a rewards portal where you can redeem your points for tickets on airlines with no blackout dates.

What is the Starwood Preferred Guest login?
The SPG login can be found here.

What is Starwood Vacation Ownership?
This is Starwood Hotels’ timeshare program. You can buy in and earn points to be spent at timeshare properties around the world each year.