Starwood Preferred Guest is the gold, nay platinum, standard by which all other hotel loyalty programs are measured. It’s so good, that we’re struggling to even consider it a hotel award program. There is a good argument to be made that it’s actually closer to a transferable point, along the lines of Ultimate Rewards, ThankYou Points and Membership Rewards. Considering it has more airline transfer partners than any of the aforementioned credit card programs, we might re-classify at a later date. The only reason we’re not, is that standing alone, it’s already worth more than any airline point, so we’re not exactly sure what we’d be accomplishing.
Furthermore, while we adjusted both Hilton and Marriott’s reduction factor down to 10%, we’re adjusting SPG’s to 0. They’re that easy to use. After completing this month’s reckoning, we’re assigning an outstanding ACRV of $0.0216 per Starpoint.
|30 Days Advance Booking ACRV||$0.0213|
|60 Days Advance Booking ACRV||$0.0218|
|30 Days Advance Booking Non-Zero||$0.0213|
|60 Days Advance Booking Non-Zero||$0.0218|
|Overall Non-zero Average||$0.0216|
Because of it’s 0% reduction factor and 100% availability, Starwood Preferred Guest is the only loyalty program we track who’s ACRV and non-zero average are the same.
That is one nice looking bell-curve. A very high average with some nice upside. What this chart implies, is that one is very unlikely to get a bad award, very likely to get a good one, and has a good chance at a great one. This month’s average was $0.0216 with a standard deviation of $0.0060. This means that, theoretically, 68% of awards should occur between $0.0180 and $0.251.
The table above and the chart below paint a beautiful picture. While it does not have the great and exceptional awards that say, United or American have, it also does not have a single bad redemption. Our best for the month came from a week-long stay at the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel. This was offered for $1818 or 49,998 points, providing an $0.0364/Starpoint redemption value.
Use Starpoints for Air Travel
|Ticket Cost||Starpoints||Low Value||High Value||Average|
Starwood Preferred Guest also lets one redeem Starpoints directly for travel. In this scenario, they’re acting as the booking agent and one is “paying with points”. With an average value of $0.0123, we might shy away, but it is an option.
The better alternative would be to transfer to one of many airlines’ frequent flyer programs. Though none have the standalone value that SPG does, many do have high upsides, making the conversion profitable. The list of partners is too long to include on this page, but have a look here. All US legacy carriers are included, usually at a 1:1 ratio. Furthermore, SPG provides a bonus 5,000 points for every 20,000 transferred.
Mathematically, Starpoints are worth a little more than 2¢ each, but subjectively, we’ think they’re worth closer to 3. At the moment, only Amex customers holding Membership Rewards can transfer into the program. Unfortunately, this happens at a 3:1 ratio, meaning one will have to give up 3 MR’s for one Starpoint. We’re not sure this is worth it.