By: Travis Cormier
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SPG Starpoints are considered one of the most valuable point currencies on the market today. From amazing hotel redemptions to some fun airline transfer partners, SPG Starpoints provide you with the flexibility to book whatever you need for your trip.
With the Starwood and Marriott merger the program is only guaranteed to last through the end of 2017. Here at 10xTravel, we are certainly hoping Marriott will maintain the SPG Starpoints program in the future, but just in case they don’t, let’s check out some great ways to use those SPG Starpoints now.
1) Emirates First Class through Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
One of the most raved about redemption option with SPG Starpoints is Emirates first class, without a doubt. SPG Starpoints transfer to most of their airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, however transfers to airlines provide a unique opportunity to earn bonus miles.
For every 20,000 SPG Starpoints you transfer, you will receive an additional 5,000 airline miles. Thanks to this feature, you can earn your Emirates first class flight that much quicker.
Keep in mind, you can only transfer 60,000 SPG Starpoints to a partner airline per day and receive the 5,000 mile bonus on each 20,000 point chunk. You will not receive the 5,000 mile bonus if you transfer another 20,000 points.
Now that you have a little background on how SPG Starpoints transfer, let’s get into the best way to book your Emirates first class!
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Bet you weren’t expecting that! Unlike many award charts, Japan Airlines uses a distance based award chart for partners. Remember to add the distance of each segment to determine how many Mileage Bank miles will be required.
If you’ve dreamed of flying Emirates first class, this could be your ticket to one of the most luxurious flying experiences in the world. Let’s look at few options and how many miles (and SPG Starpoints it would require):
- Round-trip in first class between New York (JFK) and Milan, Italy: 100,000 Japan Airlines miles (80,000 SPG Starpoints)
- Round-trip in first class between New York (JFK) and Dubai: 135,000 Japan Airlines miles (110,000 SPG Starpoints)
For the adventurous, we have a crazy option for you:
- New York (JFK) to Milan (stopover) to Dubai (connection) to Bangkok (destination) to Dubai (stopover) to New York (JFK): 155,000 Japan Airlines miles (125,000 SPG Starpoints)
Now, that’s an amazing trip! This booking gives you the opportunity to fly Emirates first class, the in-flight bar, and the exclusive first class shower spa. It also gives you launching points to see Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
If Emirates business class is more your style, make your you find routes operated by Emirates Airbus A380 so you get a lie-flat seat and access to the in-flight bar!
2) Cash and Points for Top Tier Hotels and Resorts
Starwood premiered the idea of cash and points that is a staple of many award programs today. This is a great way to stretch your Starpoints farther if you have the cash.
Cash and points redemptions start at 1,500 points and $30 a night for category 1 properties, and up to 15,000 points and $275 a night for category 7 properties.
Some category 6 and 7 properties are limited (such as the W Maldives), but there are many sweet spots to use this to your advantage
Using this fixed cash rate can dramatically reduce the cash cost, and increase the value of each point, especially during peak season!
If you’ve been looking for a luxurious Hawaiian vacation, using Cash and Points can make it a reality. Using cash and points you can book a romantic room in the Historic Wing of the resort for only 10,000 points and $180 a night. Compared to $463 a night during peak season, this is a steal.
For a peak season full points redemption, this is worth 2.32 cents per point. A typical valuation for Starpoints. But by using a cash and points option the value increases to 2.83 cents per point, a 22% increase in value! Always compare these values if you have the cash to make it work!
3) Fifth Night Free for Great Value
I love extending my travel for free, and Starwood’s fifth night free is a great way to do that. SPG Starpoints also offer no blackout dates – so I can travel during peak times thanks to award stays!
If you like skiing, celebrating New Year’s, and the Swiss Alps then look no further than the Nira Alpina Switzerland. This ski-lodge style resort nestled in the Swiss Alps is available to be booked with Starpoints.
Over New Year’s, a standard room can be booked for 12,800 Starpoints per night! For 5 nights you would only need 51,200 Starpoints.
During this peak travel time the rooms cost $490 per night! This gets you a value of 4.79 cents per point! This is a great value to redeem Starpoints for without transferring to any partners.
4) Book SPG Nights and Flights
If you have a destination in mind, but need more points to get there look no further than the Nights and Flights package. For 60,000 points you get 50,000 airline miles and 5 nights at a Category 3 hotel or resort. With 70,000 you get the same deal, but at a Category 4 hotel or resort.
If you select American Airlines as the airline to transfer to, you can have enough points to book a round trip Business/First class MileSAAver ticket to multiple beach resort destinations in Mexico or the Caribbean.
After your taxing first class flight, you can relax at the Westin Punta Cana Resort & Club, a Category 4 Starwood Property. At peak season, rates can be as high as $258 a night. For a 5 night stay, this values your Starpoints at 1.84 cents per point. This does NOT include the value you get for the airline miles as well!
5) Great Value Marriott Stays
Variety is the spice of life, and with Marriott acquiring Starwood you can now use Starpoints to stay at any hotel in the Marriott family as well. You can transfer points freely between your Starwood and Marriott accounts. SPG Starpoints transfer to Marriott at a rate of one to three.
There are some great value Marriott stays to be found in the lower categories, and SPG Starpoints can make these even better redemptions!
The Protea Cape Town Hotel North Wharf in South Africa typically costs $200 per night. The standard room at this location is actually a 1 bedroom apartment!
This property costs 20,000 Marriott points per night. Combined with SPG’s fifth night free, 5 nights would only cost you 80,000 Marriott points. If you transfer Starpoints it will only require 26,667 Starpoints.
SPG Starpoints may not be around for long, so use them while you can for some awesome airline and hotel redemptions.
The Starwood Preferred Guest cards by American Express are the quickest path to an Emirates first class flight that will make your friends and family jealous! Or, if you’d like to stun your friends and family, you could let them join you on a first-class get away to a secluded beach resort.
We could go on and on about the amazing power of SPG Starpoints, but you get the picture. With SPG Starpoints, you can create the amazing vacation you want. So, what are you waiting for?! Go figure out your next amazing SPG Starpoints redemption!
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