Introduction to SPG Starpoints II: How to Use

spg

In the previous post we mainly discussed how to earn the SPG Starpoints, and in this post we mainly discuss how to use them.

SPG card is so popular because that you have so much useful and valuable choices to redeem your starpoints. I will introduce you two ways to of SPG points — Free nights, and airlines miles.

I. Free nights in SPG hotels

Free nights are the most common usage of points of hotel cards, as it should be. Among all hotel cards, points of SPG and Hyatt are very easy to be redeemed for a relatively high value. Points needed for free night are up to the level of hotels. There are also choices require cash and points together. Here is the exchange table:

CategoryWeekdayWeekendPoints+Cash (P+C)
13k2k1.5k+$30
24k3k2k+$35
37k7k3.5k+$55
410k10k5k+$75
512-16k12-16k6k+$110
620-25k20-25k10k+$180
730-35k30-35k15k+$275

But P+C isn’t suitable to everywhere, there are also some hotels that only offer free nights by using only points.

I’ve just searched offers of SPG hotels at Washington, DC next weekend. Here are the top four choices.

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As we can see, some usage makes value of points higher than others. Two “Points+Cash” usage are absolutely bullshit.

But we can still find some low level hotels that give very valuable offers.

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00 (1)There’s another perk for redeeming SPG points for free nights: if you redeem for 5 consecutive nights at the same hotel, then the last night is free. It’s a good deal for people who want a deep traveling somewhere. Note that the fifth night free perk is only for hotels with category 3 or higher.

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II. Transferring to Air Miles

Another highlight of SPG is that its points can be transferred into miles of many airlines. So it can been used to exchange for airline tickets. And with every 20000 points transferred in a single transaction, SPG will give you extra miles of 5000 SPG points. So the transfer rate to airlines is about 1:1.25.

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All available airlines and the corresponding points-to-miles ratio is as following. (Most are 1:1, bonus for every 20k points transferred not in count)

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It’s impractical to show every airlines here. So I chose some representative ones here to show you ways to redeem SPG points.

1. Alaska Airlines (AS)

A great mileage plus. Although it’s not affiliated with any airline alliances, it has many nice partners like Cathay Pacific (CX) and Emirates (EK). For its partnership with CX and EK, points of AS can be used for award tickets of CX and EK.

AS to CX: Economy/Business/First class one-way tickets between China and U.S. only need 30/50/70k miles, respectively. But you need to call AS to make this exchange.

AS to EK: Economy/Business/First class one-way tickets from North America to China only need 52.5k/75k/100k miles, respectively. Actually it’s a good deal to take first-class seat on A380 to Dubai for a short trip before back to Beijing only using 100k miles. However, EK do not offer the award tickets from China to North America.

2. Air Canada (AC)

AC is the member of Star Alliance, so the miles can be used for award tickets of Star Alliance. You should pay a relatively high bunker surcharge for award ticket of AC, while CA and UA do not have such fees. AC’s Economy/Business/First class one-way tickets between China and U.S. redeem 37.5k/75k/105k miles, respectively.

3. American Airlines (AA)

AA is the member of OneWorld Alliance, so many people would like to exchange miles for award tickets of CX. But AA’s new long-haul flight, B777-300ER, is also pretty good. Economy/Business/First class one-way tickets between China and U.S. only needs 35k/55k/67.5k miles, respectively, without high bunker surcharge. However, if you want CX’s tickets, you need to call customer service of AA to redeem miles after find CX flights by BA, Because you cannot search for flights of CX at AA’s official website.

Notably, you can hold AA’s award tickets for a while before you issue your ticket: you can hold it for 5 days between 15 to 330 days before flight; 1 day between 1 to 14 days before flight; 2 hours in 24 hours before flight. This policy is very kind — you can book and keep the ticket first, and issue the ticket after you get enough miles. So you can largely avoided losing the ticket before your miles arrive.

4. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

ANA is the member of Star Alliance. Service and safety are bright spots of ANA. But there are 2 shortcomings of ANA’s miles: High bunker surcharge for award tickets of itself; No one-way award ticket, which means you must issue round-trip tickets simultaneously. However, considering its luxury service, it’s also a good deal to redeem miles for ANA’s first-class round-trip ticket after a period of time accumulating miles. ANA’s Business/First class round-trip tickets between China and U.S. redeem 95k/180k miles at most, respectively.

Redeeming miles for ANA’s partner’s award tickets is pretty good as well. Economy/Business/First class round-trip tickets between China and U.S. only need 60k/95k/180k miles at most, respectively, cheaper than AA except the first-class tickets.

5. British Airways (BA)

Member of OneWorld Alliance, awesome for short trips.

6. Korean Air (KE)

Member of SkyTeam Alliance. It’s also a good choice for trips between China and U.S..

7. Singapore Airlines (SQ)

Member of SkyTeam Alliance. SQ’s business/first class tickets are very appealing. It’s miles can also be used for award tickets of other member of SkyTeam Alliance.

You might have noticed that the points-to-miles ratio for UA is only 2:1. That really sucks. So we’d better not transfer SPG points to UA miles — which is obviously wasting points.

For there are so many airlines, we can only have a glance at some of them in this post. I will try to post detailed information about how to transfer points to miles and how to use miles of each airlines separately. You can help yourself to find the right post easier.

At last, welcome to discussing about this and welcome to put your suggestions forward, how to improve our website, and so on. Thank you!


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