We asked how you use Starwood points to get Big Travel. And we received a lot of enthusiastic responses!
The giveaway is now closed. But if you’re looking for ideas for how to use your Starwood points, here are some suggestions from Million Mile Secrets readers!
Best Uses of Starwood Points 2017
1. Luxury Hotel Stays
One great use for Starwood points is to stay in amazing hotels you normally wouldn’t consider. If you’re willing to splurge with your points, you can book rooms that cost $1,000+ per night for free!
Lots of Million Mile Secrets readers prefer using their points this way. It’s fun to hear the hotels you’re aiming for!
Emily spent a night at the Gritti Palace in Venice on her way to Croatia and loved it! And team member Keith stayed at the St. Regis Punta Mita. Fantastic choices!
2. Budget Hotel Stays
Starwood category 1 hotels cost 3,000 points on weekdays, but only 2,000 points on weekends! And Starwood category 2 hotels cost 4,000 points on weekdays, but just 3,000 points on weekends.
3. Cash & Points
Starwood Cash & Points lets you book award stays using a combination of Starwood points and a cash co-pay. And depending on the hotel, you can get an excellent deal.
Check out my post on Starwood Cash & Points. And here are ideas for where to get great value from Starwood Cash & Points!
Million Mile Secrets readers love Disney! And Starwood points can save you a LOT of money during a Disney vacation.
Readers Sher, Mike, and Sarah recommend using Starwood points to stay at the Swan or Dolphin Resorts. Staying at these resorts means you’ll be close to the action. And you’ll even get the Extra Magic Hours benefit, which lets you enter earlier or stay later at certain attractions!
5. 5th Night Free
Thanks for the reminder about this excellent benefit, Insiya, Randy, and Atg!
6. Transfer to Airlines
One of my favorite ways to use Starwood points is to transfer them to airlines!
Starwood has 35+ airline partners, and most of them have a transfer ratio of 1:1. Plus, if you transfer in increments of 20,000 points, like reader Martin suggests, you’ll get 5,000 bonus miles! So the transfer ratio becomes 1 : 1.25.
Readers Jerry, Stuart, Nancy, Ellen, and Jamie all have fantastic recommendations for which airline to transfer your Starwood points to. It all depends on your travel goals!
Reader Chuck plans to transfer his points to United Airlines to top off an award flight.
Note: Starwood points transfer to United Airlines at a ratio of 2:1 (2 Starwood points = 1 United Airlines mile). That is NOT normally a good transfer ratio, but if you need a few extra United Airlines miles, it could make sense.
If you want to transfer lots of Starwood points to United Airlines, you should first convert your Starwood points into Marriott points, and then to United Airlines. Read this post for more details!
7. Transfer to Marriott
Because of the Starwood Marriott merger, you can transfer your Starwood points to Marriott at a ratio of 1:3 (1 Starwood point = 3 Marriott points). That means you can use Starwood points to stay at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, too!
Check out my post on Marriott Hotel + Air packages.
8. Nights & Flights
With Nights & Flights, you can get:
- 5 nights at a Starwood Category 3 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for 60,000 Starwood points
- 5 nights at a Starwood Category 4 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for 70,000 Starwood points
Read my post on Starwood Nights & Flights for more details.
9. Special Events
Starwood points come in handy when you’re headed to special events or festivals like the Kentucky Derby, the World Series, or Mardi Gras. That’s because hotel prices can skyrocket! But award nights will cost the same (as long as there are available award nights).
Reader Dona is heading to Wimbledon this year, and plans to stay 10 nights at the London Marriott Park Lane. And reader Kimbray used Starwood points to save $3,000+ on a hotel for the Kentucky Derby! Well done, folks!
Reader Michael used Starwood points to stay in Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest. Fun!
10. Transfer to Amtrak
Readers Jeanne and Mikey plan to transfer Starwood points to Amtrak at a ratio of 1:1. You’ll get a value of ~2.56 to ~2.9 cents per point when you redeem for Amtrak seats, so this is a good deal!
Million Mile Secrets team member Jesse and his girlfriend plan to use points for Amtrak seats between Portland and Sacramento!
11. SPG Moments
SPG Moments lets you redeem your Starwood points for experiences you’d likely never have otherwise. For example, events have included a weekend golf experience with a professional golfer, or a private dinner at Daniel in NYC with Chef Daniel Boulud.
Reader Frank wants to use his Starwood points to attend a sporting event. And reader Mairead would rather redeem for a luxury suite at a concert. All good ideas!
12. Family Visits
And lots of our readers love using Starwood points to visit family! Folks like Pat and Chris use them for both airline and hotel stays to save money and see their loved ones more often.
This is one of my favorite ways to use miles & points, too! I recently used points to see my mom and sister in New York!
Reader Payten transfers his Starwood points to Delta so he can visit his loved ones more often.
Want More Starwood Points?
There aren’t many ways to earn Starwood points. But the easiest way is to sign-up for the AMEX Starwood cards.
With the personal AMEX Starwood card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And with the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
But remember, you’re only eligible to earn AMEX sign-up bonuses ONCE per card, per lifetime.
Thanks everyone for all your feedback, and showing other readers how useful Starwood points are!
No matter your travel goals, everyone can find a use for Starwood points. Whether it’s a First Class flight to Japan for a honeymoon, or a cheap hotel in a neighboring state for Memorial Day!