The following is the start of a five part series covering points earned for Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotels. The following was written by my brother, an avid travel hacker who has qualified for Platinum Elite Status in the SPG program.
FI Fighter has asked me to share some of my Travel Hacking tips for hotels! I have extensive experience with staying in Starwood Properties: Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, and The Luxury Collection.
I’ll cover the following:
- Earning Starwood Points
- Redeeming Starwood Points
- The Value of a Starwood Point
- Starwood Elite Status
- My Starwood Strategy
Earning Starwood Points
Gift Cards and Bluebird:
I earn Starwood points by buying Gift Cards with an AMEX SPG credit card ($1 = 1 Starwood point).
I pay $3 ($2.95 to be exact for Simon VISA Gift Cards) for each $500 in gift cards, and then I unload the $500 gift cards at Walmart into my Bluebird account.
There is a maximum of $5,000 that you can load into Bluebird in one month.
Then, I use Bluebird to pay off the $5,000 AMEX SPG credit card statement.
At the end of the month, 5,000 Starwood points cost me $30 (10x$3), which is enough for a free hotel night!
The end result is that I’m buying Starwood points at a cost of $.006 ($30/5,000pts), or .6 cents per Starwood point.
The goal is to earn the Starwood points for cheap, but redeem them for much more.
Buy Low. Sell High.
AMEX SPG Credit Cards:
The fastest way to rack up tons of Starwood points is to open both:
The standard offer is 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 in 6 months. The $5,000 spend can be finished quickly by simply purchasing $500 gift cards as mentioned above. After spending $5,000, you will receive 30,000 Starwood points for only $30 out of pocket.
$30/30,000 = $.001 or .1 cents per Starwood point!
Share Starwood Points:
Starwood allows you to transfer Starwood points between two accounts – as long as both the receiver and the giver share the same household address.
This is a great way to pool together points!
You could sign up your wife, husband, parents, siblings, etc.
This becomes even more lucrative if each individual signs up of both AMEX SPG credit cards!
2x, 3x, 4x, 5x Bonuses:
Once you become an SPG member, every $1 that you spend at the hotel will qualify for an extra bonus!
- Regular Starwood Member: 2 Starwood points per $1
- Gold or Platinum Member: 3 Starwood points per $1
But, if you pay with an AMEX SPG card you can get an additional 2 Starwood points!
- Regular Starwood Member: 4 Starwood points per $1
- Gold or Platinum Member: 5 Starwood points per $1
Tip: There are foreign transaction fees with the AMEX SPG Credit Cards. Therefore, don’t use them to pay for hotel charges overseas.
Is It Worth It?
If I can generate 5,000 Starwood points in one month with Bluebird, then I can accumulate 60,000 Starwood points in one year. Enough points for over 20 hotel nights!
If I have two Bluebird cards, then I can accumulate 120,000 Starwood points in one year. 😉
Starwood is my favorite hotel loyalty program, and once you reach Platinum Elite Status, it becomes even more lucrative.
Stay tuned… More to come!