15 Best Ways to Earn Lots of Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints [2018]

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Update: On April 16, 2018 Marriott made big announcements on the upcoming combined program for Marriott, SPG, and Ritz-Carlton. The programs will combine on August 1, 2018. Between then and February 2019 there will be interim opportunities to earn points, redeem points, and new and changed credit cards from American Express and Chase. From February 2019 the program will be in full effect. See our Complete Guide to SPG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton Changes for analysis of the changes and the latest on upcoming announcements, such as where hotels will be on the new award charts.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints are perhaps the most valuable transferable points currency, point for point. While not the easiest to acquire, earning Starpoints is possible with a solid spending strategy.

You can earn Starpoints with participating credit cards and SPG elite status perks that will help boost your earnings when you stay at Starwood and Marriott hotel properties.

Using a Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card

Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints are without a doubt the most versatile and valuable hotel points available.

Open a Starwood Preferred Guest Account

Like all other point programs, you can’t begin earning points until you have an account for them. The sooner you open an SPG account, the sooner you will be on your way to earning Starpoints.

As a hotel loyalty program, the SPG program differs from bank-established points programs (e.g., Chase Ultimate Rewards) since you do not need to have an affiliated credit card to start earning SPG Starpoints.

SPG has an app that helps members organize and check their points. The SPG app is available on both Android or Apple devices.

Hot Tip: Keep an eye out for deals that give bonus points targeted specifically to SPG account members.

1. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

There are only 2 Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards available for earning Starpoints. One of the 2 cards available is a personal card, whereas the other is a business card.

An introductory bonus is one of the very few opportunities you will have for earning Starpoints in bulk at one time. You will need to check the following links to see the current bonuses for each card:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn up to $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Earn an additional $100 statement credit after making a purchase at a participating hotel during your first 6 months. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn up to $200 statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases.
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi & Free Wi-Fi at SPG participating hotels. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

For more information about credit cards and credit scores, read this credit score guide to learn more.

Hot Tip: Check out some of the awesome perks provided by the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

2. No Credit Card Category Bonuses or Shopping Portal

Unlike the Chase shopping portal or Amex Offers, there aren’t any ways to boost your earnings on everyday spending. The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express do not offer any category spending bonuses, nor to the cards offer an online shopping portal.

You will only earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on all purchases, except when you stay at Starwood and Marriott properties.

3. SPG Cravings (Formerly Restaurants and Bars)

SPG has a group of restaurants and bars at its properties that offer discounts in a program called SPG Cravings.

Offers range up to 30% off food (excluding breakfast and beverages). To get the offer you need to show your membership card and number at the restaurant, not request it later at the hotel front desk. You do not need to be staying at the hotel to receive the discount.

You can also earn points from dining when not staying at the hotel, though it is a manual process with the restaurant that may require follow-up with SPG to ensure the points post to your account.

spg dining
SPG is not part of the other Rewards Network dining programs like many other big loyalty programs are, but it has its own SPG Cravings dining program.

4. Rewards for Show Tickets

Earn up to 2,500 Starpoints per ticket to various theatrical and performance shows by signing up for Audience Rewards with SPG.

Shows include Broadway, off-Broadways shows, cabarets, operas, exhibitions, workshops, and more.

Use your SPG membership number to sign up, then search for tickets. You can search for shows in a city near you including Chicago, Charlotte, Durham, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Jose, and Tucson.

spg audience rewards entertainment
Earn Starpoints for going to shows like Wicked through SPG Audience Rewards.

5. Earn SPG Gold Status With Your Credit Card Spend

Unfortunately, neither credit card offers a standing “big spend” Starpoint bonus opportunities. However, each SPG credit card offers the chance to earn Gold status which will give you extra opportunities to earn Starpoints.

Credit CardBig spend bonus
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressSPG Gold status with $30K annual spend (Terms Apply)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American ExpressSPG Gold status with $30K annual spend (Terms Apply)

SPG Gold status will earn bonus Starpoints on specific transactions. In other words, you will still have to spend money for the extra Starpoints even after meeting the big spend bonus.

However, being a Gold Preferred Status member does come with the following perks:

  • Earn 3 Starpoints for each $1 spent on eligible stays
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for each $1 spent on eligible Delta flights after registering with Delta Crossover Rewards*
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for each $1 spent on eligible Emirates flights after registering your World Rewards account with SPG and Emirates Skywards*
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for every 4 Eastern Miles earned on China Eastern Airlines*
  • Earn 1 Starpoint for every $2 spent on eligible revenue when you book a group for any occasion, business or pleasure (e.g., weddings, conferences, reunions, etc.)

*You can only participate in one SPG-airline partnership at a time.

6. Targeted Spend Bonuses

While earning extra SPG Starpoints with big spend bonuses are rare occurrences, cardholders can receive targeted offers. In 2017 and 2018 we have seen offers such as double points for $5,000 spend in three months and have their points doubled.

7. Refer-a-Friend

Since American Express offers a Refer-a-Friend Bonus and SPG cards are issued by American Express, you may be able to earn additional Starpoints by getting a friend to apply for your Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

During past promotions, you could earn up to 55,000 Starpoints a year for referring eligible friends who apply through the link you send and are approved for the card.

The standard referral bonus is 5,000 SPG Starpoints. Occasionally, the referral bonus is increased to 7,500 points or 10,000 points.

8. Transfer Starpoints to Airline Partners

You will earn a bonus of 5,000 miles when you transfer a total of 20,000 Starpoints at once to an SPG airline miles partner (Terms Apply). For a list of airline partners and their transfer ratios, check out our SPG program review.

transfer SPG starpoints to miles
Transfer your Starpoints to airlines and earn a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points.

Earn Points for Events

Make sure you take advantage of opportunities to earn Starpoints when you organize events.

9. Host a Meeting or Event

Hosting events and meetings in the ballrooms available at hotel chains are often great ways to earn points. At Starwood Hotels, you can earn one point per $3 spent if you’re a Preferred Member, and one point per $2 if you have Gold or Platinum status.

So, if you’re hosting your wedding reception at the hotel, you will be able to earn lots of SPG Starpoints for all the money you’re spending, and you can usually earn points for the guests’ rooms as well!

Earn Starpoints With Travel Purchases

Thanks to a few airline partnerships, you can earn Starpoints on your flights.

10. Airfare Purchases

SPG has a number of airline partners, some of which will earn you bonus Starpoints when purchasing flights. Usually, earning these extra points require registering your SPG membership with a rewards program.

Additionally, you must have elite status with SPG to receive these bonus Starpoints.

If you are a Platinum Preferred or Gold Preferred SPG member, you will need to register for two programs to get the most points from your travel purchases.

StatusAction takenBonus StarpointsMarriott-SPG Merger Update
PPlatinum Preferred or Gold PreferredRegister with Delta Crossover Rewards1 Starpoint on each $1 spent on eligible Delta flightsProgram runs through July 15, 2018, program expected to end (pending official announcement)
Register for Your World Rewards with SPG and Emirates Skywards1 Starpoint on each $1 spent on eligible Emirates flightsRegistration closes July 15, 2018, program expected to continue and registration to reopen later in 2018 (pending official announcement)
Register for Eastern Explorer Rewards with SPG and Eastern Miles1 Starpoint for every 4 Eastern Miles earnedRegistration closes July 15, 2018, program expected to continue and registration to reopen later in 2018 (pending official announcement)

As you can see above, flights on Delta, Emirates, and China Eastern are the only three partnering airlines that will earn you bonus Starpoints.

If you are either a Platinum or Gold Preferred SPG member, you must first register your SPG account with Delta Crossover Rewards to receive Starpoints through Delta flights, World Rewards to receive Starpoints through Emirates flights, or Eastern Explorer Rewards to receive Starpoints through China Eastern flights.

Yes, registering for these programs takes a few minutes, but you’ll earn more Starpoints. Registering will be especially useful if you have no need for Delta Skymiles, Emirates Skywards, or China Eastern.

11. Car Rentals

SPG has a new partnership with Hertz, replacing the prior partnerships with Avis and Sixt.

Book here to earn 200 Starpoints per Hertz rental and save up to 35%.

SPG Platinum members can match for free to Hertz elite status, register here.

Marriott Rewards StatusSPG StatusMatch to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Status
Platinum Premier ElitePlatinum with AmbassadorPresident’s Circle®
Platinum ElitePlatinumFive Star®

12. Book Starwood (or Marriott) Hotels

As you can imagine, hotels will earn you the most Starpoints considering Starwood Preferred Guest is a hotel company. With a little planning, the right credit card, and knowing your SPG status, you will earn tons of bonus Starpoints.


Pay For Hotel Stays With An SPG Credit Card

With both credit card options offered by American Express, you will earn 2 points per dollar at Starwood Properties as well as Marriott properties (because of the merger). Don’t worry, there are lots of properties out there from which to choose.

You can find over 1,500 hotels and resorts partners listed in the SPG directory.

Stay With Elite Status

SPG members who reach elite status membership can take advantage of extra ways to earn Starpoints through hotel stays. These are outlined below.

StatusAction takenBonus Starpoints
Platinum Preferred GuestSPG stays3 Starpoints/$1
After 75 nights4 Starpoints/$1
Book a group stay1 Starpoint/$2
Gold Preferred GuestSPG stays3 Starpoints/$1
Book a group stay1 Starpoint/$2
Preferred GuestSPG stays2 Starpoints/$1
Book a group stay1 Starpoint/$3
Pro PlatinumSPG stays3 Starpoints/$1
Book a group stay1 Starpoint/$2
Book a group stay after 75 nights2 Starpoints/$3
Pro GoldSPG stays3 Starpoints/$1
Book a group stay1 Starpoint/$2
Pro PreferredSPG stays2 Starpoints/$1
Book a group stay1 Starpoint/$3

Note that when you book a group stay this can be for any occasion. SPG advertises this as any group booking made for others by you, “from weddings to meetings to family reunions.”

Hot Tip: Use SPG’s sustainability program called “Make A Green Choice” to decline housekeeping and receive 250-500 Starpoints for each night you opt out!

Transferring Points from Marriott Rewards

As you probably know by now, Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards will be combining their loyalty programs after the recent purchase of Starwood by Marriott. Because of this, you can now transfer points in between each program.

Transfers are instantaneous but must be in increments of 1,000. The transfer ratio is 1 Starpoint for 3 Marriott points. This also means that when you earn sign-up bonuses and points with Marriott credit cards, you can share those points with SPG:

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card

Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels.
  • Annual Fee: $95
Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

13. Use Diners Club Card on SPG Stays

Diners Club Rewards points are directly transferable into Starpoints. You can earn Club Rewards from Diners Club when you stay at a participating Starwood hotel or resort and pay with your Diners Club Card.

Some great aspects to Diners Club Rewards are that your points will never expire and here is no limit to the amount you can earn. This means you can earn tons of Starpoints.

Diners Club cards are not currently available for application in the US.

14. Special SPG Promotions

You should always check for additional promotions on stays. Look on the SPG website frequently, sign up for their promotional emails, or follow their social media accounts (e.g., SPG on Twitter) to be on top of the latest offers.

SPG will often have at least one active promotion to earn more Starpoints per nightly stay. You can always check for the most up-to-date promos.

15. Buy SPG Starpoints

The final method is to actually buy SPG points! This is not something we’d recommend doing with a strategy behind it, but if you’re in desperate need of some extra points to booking a redemption, it may make sense to do so! There are often promotions that are run too, so keep an eye out for those.

Of course – don’t forget to pay for these points with your Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. By doing so, you’ll earn 2 SPG pts/$1 spent!

Final Thoughts

While there are limited ways to earn SPG Starpoints, you will earn the largest number of Starpoints in one go through sign-up bonuses from the two available credit cards offered by American Express. You can even earn 100,000 Starpoints in 90 days if you plan ahead.

These credit cards will help you earn lots of points when you stay at participating SPG hotels and resorts.

Finally, aim to reach elite or pro status membership. The extra Starpoints you earn on hotel stays and other offers with elite membership will make earning Starpoints faster and easier.


Which credit cards earn Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints?

There are only two official Starwood cards: the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

You can also transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points into Starwood Preferred Guest.

When do Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points expire?

Starpoints will not expire unless your account has been inactive for 12 months.

Which hotels does Starwood Preferred Guest own?

Starwood owns over 1,500 different hotels worldwide. These include Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, St. Regis, and W Hotels, among others. View them all here.

What are Starwood Suite Night Awards?

Suite night awards are a room upgrade to a suite or premium room. Suite night awards can be earned through promotions or are given to Platinum Preferred Guest members who stay 50 nights at SPG hotels in 1 year.

When a Platinum Preferred Gust member meets that hotel-stay minimum, they will receive 10 Suite Night Awards.

How many SPG points do you need for a free night?

For a category 1 hotel on a weekend, you need as few as 2,000 Starpoints to redeem a free night. You'll need 3,000 Starpoints for the same hotel on a weeknight.

For a category 7 hotel, you need as many as 35,000 Starpoints to redeem a free night.

Are Starwood points transferrable?

Yes. They transfer to several partner airlines, hotels, charity partners, and more. Some of these are listed in the above article.

How many SPG points do you need for a free flight?

You will need about 10,000 Starpoints for a flight with a ticket value of up to $150. Tickets around $1000 require about 80,000 Starpoints.


Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

1 comment

  1. Patricia Lennon · April 23, 2018 · Reply

    Another great way to earn star points is to decline linen service at certain SPG hotels. You get 500 points per night. This is not applicable to day of checkout.

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