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b8b said: clyde_frog said: hmmm am i missing something here? i can earn one point per dollar with my SPG AMEX OR one point per dollar with my platinum AMEX. it takes 3 MR AMEX points to convert into ONE SPG point. SPG points can easily be redeemed at about 3%; i.e. 10,000 points to get one night in a $300 4/5 star hotel. MR points seem to only be redeemable at about 1% for merchandise or whatever (i am SURE there is a more effective way of using MR points - but i'm not aware of it).

bottom line it just seems like the SPG points are way more valuable. i am considering dumping my personal/biz gold/platinum AMEX cards that cost me over $500 a year in fees and just going with the SPG. thoughts? am i missing something? thanks!


Not only that, MR points are only 1:1 for a variety airlines, whereas SPG has 1:1.25 (if 20,000 points transferred) for a wide variety of airlines.


thanks. as i'm looking at this, i'm realizing that MR points are hard to to get much value out of. not to get off topic, but does anyone have an efficient method for extracting maximum value? it looks like you don't even get 1% (or .01) per point for gift cards unless they are a store specific (home depot, barnes and noble, etc) gift card.

another FYI regarding this card, and AMEX more generally...

i was denied the personal SPG AMEX card because AMEX limits you to 4 personal cards (per their email). so i called in to cancel my IN NYC card, and to my pleasant surprise, they were able to merely convert the IN NYC to SPG without even a hard pull. i'll get the bonus points and everything. AMEX rocks.

This seems like a good place to ask my question.

I am starting to travel a lot for work and am looking at the best card to go with since I get no benefits from my Corporate AMEX.

I am a Delta FF since I fly out of Atlanta and that is their main hub.

I'm trying to choose between the Delta Gold or Platinum, and possibly the Starwood.

Can anyone summarize the trade offs between the two cards as far as redeeming points for travel? I will probably travel about 12-15,000 miles a year and am wondering if the Delta miles are better or the Starwood. From what I can tell, I only get 1:1 on the starwood, plus a change fee.

Thanks in advance.

Will purchases be on your Corporate AMEX? If so, and if you're planning on converting whatever rewards you get to Delta miles, the only benefit to SPG AMEX is that you can convert 20k SPG points to 25k Delta miles.

If you're putting Delta purchases on your personal credit card, the Delta card would most likely give you a greater bonus than this.

ahself said: I signed up for the SPG and SPG Biz AMEX cards last year and received both 10k bonuses. Both cards were up for renewal and I didn't want to pay the fee.

I called the SPG AMEX customer service, talked to a retention specialist and was offered a $10 statement credit to keep the card. She could see that I hadn't used the card in quite a while (I only used it for the first purchase last year) and said that she could've offered a higher credit if I had used the card more. The other option she gave me was to convert to the AMEX Blue card with no fee...and I accepted that. I have been using my Skymiles Platinum AMEX card for my everyday purchases for quite a while and don't plan on changing that.

I then called the SPG Biz AMEX customer service, talked to a retention specialist and was offered a $25 statement credit to keep the card. I haven't used this card in a quite a while either (only used for first purchase last year) and basically said I don't plan to use it (after the credit was offered). I chose to go ahead and close it.

Just thought I'd provide a couple data points for other people in the same situation.

A couple of additional data points. Both my wife and I had the personal SPG card, fee free for the first year, and they are coming up for renewal now. We both applied for and were approved for the business SPG card. I received mine, and we are waiting on my wife's.

When I called AMEX with the intent of closing the personal cards, I was offered 2500 Starwood points if I kept my personal card. I accepted that offer, but re-allocated half of the CL to the business card, which will now be the SPG card I use to make purchases with. That way, if I were to run up a high balance, it wouldn't impact my personal credit reports.

My wife was offered only 1000 Starwood points to keep her personal card. When she gets her business version, we'll re-allocate her personal CL to the business version and close the personal card.

We are in the same situation with our personal Delta Skymiles Gold card, except there was no incentive to keep those cards. So, I re-allocated the personal CL (I think all but 1K) to the new business Skymiles card, and closed the personal card, and we will do the same when my wife's Delta Skymiles Gold Business card arrives.

Personally, I wouldn't use the SPG card for frequent flier miles, unless an amazing deal were offered, because the SPG points are (in my estimation) worth 3x more than the points in the FF program I'm familiar with: Delta Skymiles.

I will use this new card for all travel purchases (except rental car due to co. policy).

I will not use it for many personal expenses (maybe some electronics for the warranties.

I did not know that I could use 20,000 SPG points for 25,000 Delta Miles.

Thanks,

ChrisHuff said: I will use this new card for all travel purchases (except rental car due to co. policy).

I will not use it for many personal expenses (maybe some electronics for the warranties.

I did not know that I could use 20,000 SPG points for 25,000 Delta Miles.

Yes, you do end up getting 1.25 Delta miles per dollar with SPG.

However, in your case, the Delta card might be better, because you'll have a lot of Delta spending. That card offers double miles on purchases from Delta, plus double miles on purchases from supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, home improvement stores, the US post office, wireless companies. You have to do a little math to decide what is best for your goals and your spending habits.

Does anyone know where I can buy Starpoints? Not just like a few thousand but like tens or hundreds of thousands at a time?

7890 said: Does anyone know where I can buy Starpoints? Not just like a few thousand but like tens or hundreds of thousands at a time?

Other than from Starwood themselves?

this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

Spend $30k. FYI, the general consensus is that Gold status isn't worth very much.

lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

Spend $30k. FYI, the general consensus is that Gold status isn't worth very much.


thanks for replying lampy, much appreciated.

As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

If you pay your property tax with your spg gold card, instead of a regular spg card, that could mean the difference between an upgrade and a free nights stay.

brvandal said: lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

Spend $30k. FYI, the general consensus is that Gold status isn't worth very much.


thanks for replying lampy, much appreciated.

As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

If you pay your property tax with your spg gold card, instead of a regular spg card, that could mean the difference between an upgrade and a free nights stay.


If you use official payments to do it though, there is a 2.49% surcharge.

brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)
It used to be a benefit of being AMEX Plat card holder but I'm not sure if it still is. When I had gold status, I found it pretty much useless except for the late check out.

NukeMedDude said: brvandal said: lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

Spend $30k. FYI, the general consensus is that Gold status isn't worth very much.


thanks for replying lampy, much appreciated.

As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

If you pay your property tax with your spg gold card, instead of a regular spg card, that could mean the difference between an upgrade and a free nights stay.


If you use official payments to do it though, there is a 2.49% surcharge.


what do you mean official payments?

brvandal said: As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

That applies for Starwood spending only (you earn more for your stays than non-gold members). Being Gold will not give you more points for your AMEX spending.

lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

That applies for Starwood spending only (you earn more for your stays than non-gold members). Being Gold will not give you more points for your AMEX spending.


im reading on the gold guide on the spg site and it says

"Earn Free Night Awards faster. Increase your rewards to 3 Starpoints for every eligible U.S. dollar spent -- a 50% bonus over Preferred Guests."

I could not be reading this right

brvandal said: lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

That applies for Starwood spending only (you earn more for your stays than non-gold members). Being Gold will not give you more points for your AMEX spending.


im reading on the gold guide on the spg site and it says

"Earn Free Night Awards faster. Increase your rewards to 3 Starpoints for every eligible U.S. dollar spent -- a 50% bonus over Preferred Guests."

I could not be reading this right


You are reading this right. You are reading SPG website, so it is talking about earning SPG points on your spending at Starwood hotels. You get X points per dollar spent, where X depends on your level.

Earning points using your AMEX is in addition to above. That's managed entirely separately by AMEX and you can find more info about it on their website.

lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: As far as the gold status, i like the $1 = 3 SPG point aspect of it all.

That applies for Starwood spending only (you earn more for your stays than non-gold members). Being Gold will not give you more points for your AMEX spending.


im reading on the gold guide on the spg site and it says

"Earn Free Night Awards faster. Increase your rewards to 3 Starpoints for every eligible U.S. dollar spent -- a 50% bonus over Preferred Guests."

I could not be reading this right


You are reading this right. You are reading SPG website, so it is talking about earning SPG points on your spending at Starwood hotels. You get X points per dollar spent, where X depends on your level.

Earning points using your AMEX is in addition to above. That's managed entirely separately by AMEX and you can find more info about it on their website.


thanks again!

lampy2k4 said: 7890 said: Does anyone know where I can buy Starpoints? Not just like a few thousand but like tens or hundreds of thousands at a time?

Other than from Starwood themselves?


Thanks for the reply.

Obviously though I am looking to buy them at a lower cost....

How much lower?
7890 said: lampy2k4 said: 7890 said: Does anyone know where I can buy Starpoints? Not just like a few thousand but like tens or hundreds of thousands at a time?

Other than from Starwood themselves?


Thanks for the reply.

Obviously though I am looking to buy them at a lower cost....

When I cashed in my points (24000) on a vacation to NYC, they did a complimentary upgrade to Gold status. I got a free room upgrade at the Westing Times Square as well as late checkout. I didn't even ask them, they asked me! It never hurts to be nice and simply ask for it, what's the worst they can say?

lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

Spend $30k. FYI, the general consensus is that Gold status isn't worth very much.
What must you spend to reach platinum status?

You can't achieve platinum through AMEX spending. You'll need 25 stays or 50 nights.

lampy2k4 said: brvandal said: this maybe a weird question, but what is the easiest way to get to a gold status with the spg AMEX card? (besides staying at a starwood hotel 10 times within a year)

Spend $30k. FYI, the general consensus is that Gold status isn't worth very much.



There is no question that Platinum is superior to Gold but Gold still has a lot of valuable benefits. During my "Gold Years" *wood came through for me on numerous occasions. The primary bene was the 4 PM Checkout but on several occasions we also received wonderful room upgrades-- In fact an upgrade to a beautiful suite in Florence (at the Excelsior) with a huge private deck and panoramic views of the Duomo helped turn me into the *wood fangirl I am today. (There were other upgrades too: including Ka'anapali Hawaii and at the W Union Square in NY)

Starwood keeps track of all your statistics- not just your stays and nights but annual spend and lifetime starpoints earned.
In general, the more loyalty you give the brand the better (and better) they treat you. (of course YMMV)

I've been Plat for several years now and I find it's worth the effort to maintain my status.


BTW-- An Am3x Plat or Cent card will also get you comp Gold Starwood status.

RJG said: You can't achieve platinum through AMEX spending. You'll need 25 stays or 50 nights.
Too bad free stays/nights don't count. Would be there easy.....
If you have an AMEX plat, you better be spending 30k already anyways!

I need the advice of some young people who use this card:

I spend maybe 15-20 thousand max per year on my Blue Cash card. I earn around $200 per year on Cash Back (I don't use it really for gas, got another card for that).

Would you consider this card worth getting for someone young? I don't really plan to travel alone, and I don't want to restrict the person traveling with me to purchase certain airlines or hotels just so I can selfishly use my rewards. I understand that if it's your family, you would use your points to pay for all of the tickets, but I'm not going to pay for a friend's flight\hotel.

Thanks for any advice!

You can transfer points to nearly any airline, so that's not really a restriction.

smackfu said: You can transfer points to nearly any airline, so that's not really a restriction.
You can do this, but IMO the points are generally more valuable used for hotel stays than flights.

glxpass said: smackfu said: You can transfer points to nearly any airline, so that's not really a restriction.
You can do this, but IMO the points are generally more valuable used for hotel stays than flights.

Nights and flights are a good option, if you can get a good hotel. Generally, if I spend points on a hotel, it's points and cash, as good points-only deals are hard to come by domestically.

If you're a train traveler, points move 1:1 to Amtrak Guest Rewards, where you can get really excellent value.

This might be addressed before but I can't find it . How useful has the 50% off SPG hotel voucher been for you guys? It's 50% off the RACK rate. Thanks. - Dave

somdave2005 said: This might be addressed before but I can't find it . How useful has the 50% off SPG hotel voucher been for you guys? It's 50% off the RACK rate. Thanks. - Dave

not much

somdave2005 said: This might be addressed before but I can't find it . How useful has the 50% off SPG hotel voucher been for you guys? It's 50% off the RACK rate. Thanks. - Dave
Almost never a better deal than a mediocre internet rate. I throw mine away.

devildoc said: somdave2005 said: This might be addressed before but I can't find it . How useful has the 50% off SPG hotel voucher been for you guys? It's 50% off the RACK rate. Thanks. - Dave
Almost never a better deal than a mediocre internet rate. I throw mine away.



As in many deals you have to be persistent-

While you are correct that deals are few and far between I have successfully used my SPG 50s to save lots of money over the years.

It's a bit of a pita bc you can't search online yourself but have to get (in my case) the Platinum Concierge to search for you
but they really can come in handy.

I just quickly searched through some of my old confirmations and here are some examples of savings:

Goldener Hirsch (Salzburg, Austria) Rate for 27-Oct-06 to 28-Oct-06
Rate Plan: SPG 50 OFF AWARD RAT
137.00 in EURO per night
1 KING

W San Diego
KOOL NON-SMOKING W SIGNATURE BED LARGE BTHRM W/NATURAL DAYLIGHTSEPARATE SHOWER/BATH HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION, 400SQFT OF NAUGHTYCOOL-BAY WINDOW CHILL AREA-GET WET & WILD IN SUPERSIZED BATHROOM-DIVEIN W/AVEDA BATH PRODUCTS & W ROBE
Rate for 30-Sep-04 to 02-Oct-04
Rate Plan: SPG 50% OFF AWARD
190.00 in US DOLLARS per night


W3stin Ohare
1 KING
SUITE NON-SMOKING, HEAVENLY BED, SEPARATE LIVING RM/W SOFA BED, FREE LOCAL/CC ACCESS/800 CALLS, FREE HIGHSPEED INTERNET ACCESS, 700 SQFT.3/4 WALL SEPARATES BDRM&LVG AREA.MODERN DECOR,WARM EARTH TONES.EXPANSIVE MARBLE BATH.LARGE DESK,ERGONOMIC CHAIR

Rate for 21-Apr-06 to 22-Apr-06
Rate Plan: SPG50% OFF AWARD
174.50 in US DOLLARS per night


Those are just a few examples-- I've successfully used them at the W Seattle The W Westwood the W3stin Copley
the W Union Square


Since my dates are typically flexible I often book the hotel first for a time when SPG50 discounts are available and then book airline later.


ETA-- Don't throw them away. I'll take them.

Have SPG points just got better? Last night I received the following e-mail:

---------------
We have some thrilling news we want to share with our members: SPG® Flights, a new and truly groundbreaking redemption opportunity, is now available.

Now you can redeem Starpoints® for airline tickets on hundreds of airlines worldwide — with no blackout dates — even during peak periods such as holidays or for last-minute flights. If there's a seat available for purchase with cash, you can use your Starpoints. It's exactly how our signature Free Night Awards took off.

Starwood Preferred Guest® is the first and only hotel loyalty program that allows members to redeem award points for air travel on available flights without the restrictions or fees typically required by frequent-flyer programs.

With SPG Flights, you can conveniently search, book and redeem Starpoints for your ticket — starting at just 10,000 Starpoints — all at SPG.com/flights.

Now you have the ultimate freedom and flexibility to travel the world using Award Nights and Award Flights without blackout dates. I think you'll agree that SPG Flights sets the new standard in airline redemption. See for yourself. Then fly without boundaries.

Sincerely,
Chris Holdren
Vice President, Starwood Preferred Guest

P.S. Our popular airline transfer awards are still an option, which allow members to redeem Starpoints for frequent-flyer miles, most on a 1:1 basis.
---------------

I have not had a chance to look into details of the program, but it looks like 1SPG Point = 2.5 miles may now be possible (instead of previous 1 SPG Point = 1.25 miles)

Edit: priced a roundtrip between LGA and ORD and it's 25K SPG points ... disappointing

The redemption values don't look that great but no blackout dates could be a huge plus for some.

The 20k Starpoints that used to get you a free domestic flight are now good for a flight up to $280. Not a great exchange rate, but I agree that no blackout dates make it a nice option if no traditional award seats are available.

Here's the chart:
Ticket Price Starpoints
up to $150 - 10,000
$150-$215 - 15,000
$215-$280 - 20,000
$280-$345 - 25,000
$345-$410 - 30,000
$410-$475 - 35,000
$475-$540 - 40,000
$540-$605 - 45,000
$605-$670 - 50,000
$670-$735 - 55,000
$735-$800 - 60,000
$800-$865 - 65,000
$865-$930 - 70,000
$930-$995 - 75,000
$995-$1060 - 80,000
Higher prices (examples)
$2,880-$3,140 - 235,000
$4,960-$5,220 - 395,000
$9,900-$10,160 - 775,000

jlgrandam said: The redemption values don't look that great but no blackout dates could be a huge plus for some.
And the ability to redeem fewer points for those cheaper flights.

That said, they seem to keep redemption at about $0.015 per point or less, which is really pretty crappy.

If some people start redeeming for this award, it means fewer Starpoints are out there for hotel redemptions. So availability could improve (in theory).

RJG said: If some people start redeeming for this award, it means fewer Starpoints are out there for hotel redemptions. So availability could improve (in theory).
In theory that's good, but, in reality, I've never run into a problem with not getting a hotel when I wanted it.



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