Sorry for posting this so late. Starwood has introduced a new redemption option, SPG Flights. The gist of the program is that you can redeem your Starwood points for flights on many airlines with no blackout dates. Check out this link for details. The redemption values aren’t that great, but at least its an option that we didn’t have before. It’s not a great deal for everyone, but if you have lots of Starwood points and a need to fly somewhere, this will be worth checking out.