In this article, I will discuss many different ways to generate Starpoints, the currency of Starwood’s loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), – other than the standard 2x to 4x points per dollar on paid stays. My passion for loyalty programs started with Starwood and I spend the most amount of time in Starwood hotels.
What’s the (Star)point?
Why go through all this trouble? Starpoints are some of the most valuable loyalty points available, due to both their versaility – being able to spend on hotels, flights, experiences, etc. – and the Starwood SPG redemption levels, where you can get a hotel for as low as 2,000 points! I discuss this more thoroughly in another post but typically you should expect to spend a fraction of the points on a Starwood hotel when compared to an equivalent level of hotel at other chains. While you may earn points more rapidly at other chains, their valuation per point is lower, and so I focus my efforts on Starpoints.
What’s the fastest way to earn Starpoints?
Signing up for their two American Express cards (both Personal and Business) nets you anywhere between 25,000 and 35,000 Starpoints per card after spending between $3,000 and $5,000 within three months depending on the card and time that you apply. Currently it’s at 25,000 Starpoints, but around the fall and early spring time frame there have been various promotions increasing the signup bonus to 30,000 and 35,000 Starpoints. These cards have been a godsend for me in the Hobby, so I highly recommend them and am happy to discuss or answer any questions regarding them.
For those of you who churn on a regular basis, the Starpoint’s valuation, which typically gets me between two and five cents per point (cpp), beats out other programs – which is why I churn only on my SPG American Express. The vast majority of my points comes from my two cards and the spend I put on them, but there are also other ways to earn, noted below.
Other earning options
There are many other interesting ways to accumulate Starpoints than staying in Starwood hotels or using the Starwood American Express credit cards:
- Partnerships – Fly Delta or use Uber. When linked to your SPG account, these purchases net anywhere from one to up to four Starpoints per dollar spent (for Uber rides during a Starwood stay as SPG Platinum status)
- Random promotions – Both emailed and on location. Email promotions happen frequently – staying at Sheratons, during specific days or weekends, specific hotels, or in conjunction with other activities, etc. will net points. Or perhaps it’s a online scratch and sniff game, where you play once a day to try your luck for points or Free Night Awards. On location, the promotions vary widely: a Sheraton outside Providence, RI, had a straightforward promotion – eat in the hotel restaurant and get 500 Starpoints. Since I typically get about 3 to 5 cpp, 500 Starpoints is worth about $15 to $25, which made the $10 sandwich there a no brainer. Granted, I typically don’t eat at hotel restaurants (unless they are highly rated or outstanding) but for a quick bite it did the job.
- SPG Make a Green Choice program – this is one of my favorite, and most consistent option. Every night that you decline housekeeping, except the day of departure, you gain 500 Starpoints. That’s it. Very easy to do (request upon check-in or hang the card found in the room on the doorknob.
An easy rule of thumb is to take the number of nights you’re staying and subtract one to get the number of points. For example, five nights is four full days, so 4 x 500 is 2,000 Starpoints awarded. This has been great, for example when I book category 1 and 2 hotels for 2,000 to 4,000 points per night, I effectively “earn back” enough points from declining housekeeping on 5 night stays to cover most or all of one night! Every 500 adds up quickly.
Note: some hotels require housekeeping service (looking at you, Sheraton Anchorage!) every third day – so those on long stays may only miss out on fully-optimal Starpoints.
If you stayed at a hotel for an entire year (365 days), with the Green Choice program you could earn up to 182,000 Starpoints for declining housekeeping! That’s enough for six nights at a top-of-the-line St. Regis during regular season, or perhaps more with the Redeem four get the fifth free night promotion. Granted, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to millions of dollars, depending on the hotel, or a minimum of just under a million Starpoints (for category 1 hotels) to up to about 9,000,000 Starpoints for nice category 7 hotels. It was a fun little thought experiment.
To earn a free night – you would have decline housekeeping for a minimum of four nights (for a category 1 weekend night, 2,000 Starpoints) all the way up to sixty nights (for a category 7 hotel during regular season, 30,000 Starpoints).
To summarize, there are many different ways of racking up Starpoints for future flights and hotels. Always decline housekeeping – unless you’re the situation of traveling with friends and/or family, where you would need servicing of the room. If you can effectively make the most of the publicly available information at Starwood regarding their promotions and opportunities, you can expedite your travel and lower your staying costs. So go out there, and get those points!
Featured Image from St. Regis Website.
Have you found any cool hotel program promotions? Disagree with my methods? Have a random hotel factoid? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at TheHotelion@gmail.com! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram: @TheHotelion