Starwood Preferred Guest® Hotel Reward Program – A Review

If you are looking for a fairly simple hotel rewards program that offers convenient locations and the ability to book flights (and more) with your points, you need to look into the Starwood Preferred Guest hotel reward program.

Starwood Preferred Guest offers 2 points (Starpoints) for every dollar spent at over 1,000 approved locations in 93 countries and 9 hotels including Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, aloft, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Element, Westin and St. Regis.

You are required to give basic information such as your name, address, and e-mail address in addition to your room preferences when signing up for a Starwood Preferred Guest account.  You can optionally give more information such as your phone number.

Levels of Membership

Starwood Preferred offers three levels of membership: Preferred Guest, Gold Preferred and Platinum Preferred.  (All members automatically begin at the Preferred Guest level and earn 2 Starpoints per dollar spent).

Gold Preferred is earned after you have spent 10 stays (or 25 nights) at qualifying hotels within one calendar year.  For each dollar spent, you earn 50% bonus points (3 Starpoints per dollar spent), automatic room upgrade at check-in when available,  4 p.m. late check out, Gold Preferred Guest special customer service telephone, and check cashing privileges up to $300.

Platinum Preferred is earned after 25 stays (or 50 nights) spent at qualifying hotels within one calendar year.  For each dollar spent, you earn 50% bonus points (3 Starpoints per dollar spent), automatic room upgrade at check in, 4 p.m. late check out, Platinum concierge, complimentary in room internet access, and complimentary access to the hotel gym, in addition to other perks.

Additional Ways to Earn Points

Take advantage of Starwood Preferred’s special offers (see their site for offers).  Right now, they are offering 37 special offers at hotels around the world, many of which result in earning double points on your stay.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express – This credit card will allow you to earn Starwood points faster when you use your card to purchase stays at Starwood hotels and resorts.  You can also earn points for your everyday purchases (currently one Starwood point for eligible dollar spent).  Here’s a rundown of some great aspects of the card:

You can see that by using the Starwood Preferred Guest(R) Credit Card from American Express you can earn free stays faster and more! (See more about the card in our Best Travel Rewards Card article and see our Starwood Preferred Guest credit card review).

Ways to Redeem Points

Free Night’s Stay.  Reward nights at qualifying hotels range from 2,000 to 35,000 points, depending on the hotel category, ranging from 1 to 7.  (A room upgrade is 1,000 to 2,750 points, depending on hotel category.)

If you don’t have enough points for a free night, you can also redeem points and pay cash.  For instance, a level one category hotel that would cost 2,000 points is available for 1,200 points and $25.

In addition, if you redeem 5 nights, your fifth night is free when you stay at a category 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 hotel.

50% off Regular Rack Rates.  Redeem 1,000 points (across all 7 hotel categories) and receive a certificate for 50% off the regular rack rates for up to a 5 night stay.

Nights and flights.  Use your points to pay for both hotel and airfare.  Sixty thousand points can be redeemed for 50,000 airline miles and 5 free nights at a category 3 hotel, or use 70,000 points and get the same deal at a category 4 hotel.

Airline flights.  Starpoints can be used to book flights on most major carriers.  On average, 10,000 Starpoints are worth a ticket up to $150.  A ticket worth $995 to $1,060 requires 80,000 points, for example.

Redeem 5,000 Starpoints for $50 gift cards at several different merchants including Amazon, Pottery Barn and Starbucks.

Transfer Starpoints to AmTrack Guest Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.  You must transfer at least 5,000 points at a time.

Turn in for instant rewards at the hotel.  (This offer varies by hotel.)

Rewards can also be used for charities including the American Red Cross and UNICEF.

To keep the account active, you must have at least one stay every 12 months.

Do you prefer a simple hotel rewards program where there are only a few ways to earn points or one that offers many ways to earn points including a credit card?

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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Published or updated September 3, 2013.

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