I’m going to admit that I’m not great at accumulating points and miles. In fact, I’m such a creature of habit that I pretty much only stick to the programs I know best in American Airlines and SPG.

I only just stepped out of my comfort zone and picked up the IHG credit card before the annual night devaluation on April 5th. Lame, I know, but it’s who I am.

With that said, I’m much better at maximizing how I spend points and miles and making sure it’s a good deal.

I’m a blue-collar guy even though I wear a white collar to the office. I grew up doing manual labor jobs in warehouses, pizzerias, and churches so I guess you can say I have a bit of “cheapskate” in my DNA since I’m used to minimum wage.

SPG Starpoints are like gold to me. In my opinion, they’re pound-for-pound the best loyalty currency you can get.

If you’re looking to spend your Starpoints, here are some ways to maximize.

Transfer to Airline Partners in 20,000 Point Increments

One of the best ways to redeem Starpoints is by transferring to airline partners where you will, for the most part, enjoy 1:1 transfer rates.

A lesser-known aspect of SPG-Airline transfers is the 5,000 airline mile bonus you’ll receive for every 20,000 Starpoints you convert.

Keep in the mind the maximum amount you may transfer per day is 79,999 Starpoints, so the most you should transfer in a given day is 60,000 so as to not lose out on that 5,000-mile bonus.

Remember The SPG-Marriott 1:3 Transfer Ratio

If you’re traveling someplace that has both SPG and Marriott properties, you will be wise to look into the Marriott properties, even if you have SPG points exclusively.

The reason for this is that your Starpoints transfer at a 1:3 rate to Marriott. So if you have 50,000 Starpoints you will get 150,000 Marriott points. If you don’t mind not staying in an SPG hotel, this can be a great way to spend less Starpoints then you have to.

Doing this doesn’t always yield a positive ROI, though, so be sure to do a cost/benefit analysis before booking. Here is a handy calculator you can use to help you decide. Remember: when using the calculator, the points rate should always be in Starpoints currency, even if the hotel rate is Marriott.

5th Night Free Benefit

On SPG hotels that are Category 3 through 7, you are able to get your fifth night free on points redemptions, which can translate to some nice savings, especially on higher end hotels.

This means on a hotel like The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Vail with a redemption rate of 25,000 Starpoints per night, you’ll only be on the hook for 100,000 Starpoints (only, lol) rather than 125,000, meaning you’re realizing a 25% benefit with this deal.

Of course, not everybody cares about getting the most value for their Starpoints if it means not having to spend any money out-of-pocket. That’s the whole purpose of this game, right?


What are your best SPG maximizing tips?

Featured image courtesy of CEvent.