Home / Hotel Rewards / Should I Redeem Starpoints for Hotel Rooms or Airmiles?

Should I Redeem Starpoints for Hotel Rooms or Airmiles?

Starwood Preferred Guest allows members to redeem Starpoints for hotel rooms, transfer points to partner airlines or buy flights directly.

With all this choice, the question is which is best?

Hotel rooms

You can redeem Starpoints for free hotel nights from as little as 3,000 points per night, and as much as 30,000 to 35,000 points for luxury rooms. If you click on each category on the left of the screen below, you can see how many options there are for that redemption rate.

Booking free hotel nights with SPG
SPG Reward night search

In addition, if you use Starpoints to book a five night stay, you get the fifth night FREE. This could make a huge difference if you are booking one of the luxury hotels.

Here are a few examples, based on a one night stay in the cheapest room available, arriving 26th May 2017.

Hotel options

Hotel Cash Cost Starpoints required for one night Value of each Starpoint
 The Westin Soma Golf Resort and Spa £65 2,000 0.0325
Nest Incheon £92 7,000 0.0131
 The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya £209 10,000 0.0209
 The Phoenician, A Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale £143 20,000 0.00715
 The W Maldives £706 30,000 0.0235

Five nights in the W Maldives includes one free night and costs a maximum of 140,000 points. This saves over £3,500 on the cash price for the nights. Now that is something worth saving your points for!

Free flights

Lufthansa flight
Source: Pixabay

Starwood Preferred Guest also offers the flexibility to redeem points directly for flights with over 150 airlines with NO blackout dates. The ticket price includes taxes and fees, but you may have to pay extra for baggage. This is a great feature, as converting points into airmile points does not result in free flights. You still have to pay those ridiculously expensive taxes.

Here’s how these options compare for value.

Flight value   Starpoints   Max value per Starpoint
Up to $150 10,000 0.015
$150-$215 15,000 0.0143
$215-$280 20,000 0.014
$280-$345 25,000 0.0138
$345-$410 30,000 0.0136
$410-$475 35,000 0.0135
$475-$540 40,000 0.0135
$540-$605 45,000 0.0134
$605-$670 50,000 0.0134
$670-$735 55,000 0.0133
$735-$800 60,000 0.0133
$800-$865 65,000 0.0133
$865-$930 70,000 0.0132 
$930-$995 75,000 0.0132
$995-$1060 80,000  0.0132
Two flights at $930 each would also set you back 140,000 points. Compared to the W Maldives, which also costs 140,000 but saves you £3,530, this does not look a great deal. Your flights save you $1860, or £1485 based on exchange rates provided by XE Convert. If you use your Starpoints for flights, you thus lose out on £2,045 worth of FREE hotels in the Maldives.

Airmiles

Your final option is to transfer your Starpoints to over 30 major airline frequent flyer programmes. Starpoints are transferred on a 1:1 basis, and for every 20,000 points you transfer, you will earn a bonus of 5,000 miles. Partners include British Airways, Miles and More, Virgin and American Airlines.

British Airways plane

Source: Pixabay

140,000 points transferred would earn you 140,000 airmiles, plus an additional 25,000 bonus miles. This would be enough to buy First class, peak flights to Bermuda for a cost of 160,000 points plus £552.02 in fees. Those same return flights departing in October cost £5560.40 including taxes and fees. Using airmiles saves you a whopping £5008.38 which is a rate of 0.031p per mile, and you will still have 5,000 left.

BA flights to Bermuda
Cash price for Bermuda first class flights

If you think you might like to transfer points and redeem for flights, I recommend keeping the Starpoints in your account until you have actually found flight redemptions. How much each point is worth really depends on the amount you save when it comes to book and redemptions are not always easy to come by.

Which is best

On the basis of these figures however, transferring points to your airline partner and then using them to book reward flights works out the best option. In second place is redemptions for swanky hotels and in last place is using them to pay for flights directly.

Have your say?

Have you ever used your Starpoints to buy flights or transfer to an airline partner and if so what was your experience? I would love to know.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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21 comments

  1. Halley Wright

    I didn’t know you could redeem your points for miles! This is nice to know, thanks for sharing!

  2. Awesome! I would get the flights anytime! Thanks for sharing this calculation trick!

  3. WOW! I was fairly ignorant about how miles are calculated and how one can maximise and optimally utilise these point. This article provides useful insights. Love how you calculated it.

  4. I’ve always wondered this question too but since I stay at boutique hotels mostly I haven’t been able to rack up that many SPG points. I’m only at like 500 so it’s really nothing. My points all come from my credit card. Can’t beat the chase sapphire reserve!

    • I hear mqzing hints about that card but it’s not available in the Uk. If only I’d got a credit card when I had my Chase bank account in the States. If you use boutique hotels, you may be interested in hotels.com

  5. Useful calculations! I don’t fly that much so I’d probably still go for the hotel option. But it is great to know which gets the most bang for my buck!

  6. That’s a smart bit of arithmetic and logic. I have almost always went spent the miles or points as and when I required. But now I see your point of view.

  7. Wow! These are the travel hacks I long to learn. You made it all sound so simple. Thanks for sharing this simple way of thinking about which option to choose and how to figure it all out. 😉

  8. I always get cards that give travel points. How do the points transfer though? Is it one point per dollar spent? Some cards are horrible with how many points you get per transaction and then it takes forever to build!

  9. Transferring points to my airline partner and booking that way is how I always do it also! I don’t think I’ve ever paid for a room using points. Great list, very good explanations.

  10. great guide. I just started collecting starwood points so I have few but I had no idea where to go with them. I think though the goal is 140,000 points for that W in the Maldives!!

  11. Anne, 140000 starpoints transferred should give you 175000 miles.

    I agree with Chris though – the best deal currently is to take the 3:1 conversion ratio and turn it into 480,000 MR points to use for a Travel Package.

  12. Love this breakdown! We actually haven’t used Starwood starpoints but now I am interested in the perks. It’s sometimes hard to wrap your head around all these different options!

    • Yeah there’s not many options for us in the Uk although I do like their properties. It is possible to transfer their points also to Marriott and vice versa

  13. That is a tricky question but I would say airmiles if its going to save me money. 😀 However, I havent done any airmiles or hotel points system…yet 😀

  14. I would like to respectfully add that you could transfer the same 140000 points to Marriott and receive both 120,000 airline miles on certain carriers as well as 7 nights in a category 9 Marriott property

  15. What dates do you see W Maldives for 30,000 points?

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