Readers Reveal Their Favorite Uses of Starwood Points

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I enjoy hearing from y’all about how you like to use miles & points.  So I loved reading your comments from a recent Starwood giveaway!

We asked how you use Starwood points to get Big Travel.  And we received a lot of enthusiastic responses!

Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
Planes, Trains, Hotels, and More! No Matter Your Travel Goals, Starwood Points Can Help You Achieve Them

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

Starwood points are some of the most flexible points you can earn!  Here are some of your stories and ideas:

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!
Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
The St. Regis Punta Mita Is One of Starwood’s Most Luxurious Hotels

2.   Budget Hotel Stays

Some folks would rather use Starwood points at hotels that cost fewer pointsThat way their points last longer!

And reader Tobias reminds us that Starwood category 1 and 2 hotels are even cheaper on weekends!

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

Readers Ryan and Sean recommend using the Cash & Points option to make your Starwood points last even longer.

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.
Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
You’ll Pay a Fixed Amount of Cash and Points for Each Hotel Category

Check out my post on Starwood Cash & Points.  And here are ideas for where to get great value from Starwood Cash & Points!

4.   Disney

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!

Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
The Swan & Dolphin Resorts Are in the Heart of Disney

5.   5th Night Free

Another trick to stretching your Starwood points is to book 5 award nights in a row.  That’s because Starwood will give you the 5th award night for free when you book a Starwood category 3 to 7 hotel!

Plus, if you make a 10-night award reservation, you’ll get each 5th night free (for example, the 5th and 10th night).  You can read more about Starwood’s 5th night free here.

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.

Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
It Costs 25,000 Korean Air Miles for a Round-Trip Flight to Hawaii. But You’ll Only Need to Transfer 20,000 Starwood Points to Korean Air to Book the Ticket, Because You’ll Get a Bonus 5,000 Miles!

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.
Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
Reader Chuck Plans to Visit Italy With the Help of Starwood Points

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!

And don’t forget about Marriott’s Hotel + Air pacakges, where you can stay in style at Marriott hotels all over the world and earn enough airline miles for an award flight!

Check out my post on Marriott Hotel + Air packages.

Note:   You’ll NO longer earn the Southwest Companion pass when you transfer hotel points to Southwest.
Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
Emily Used Starwood Points With Marriott to Book a Hotel + Air Package for 1 Week at the Scrub Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands a Few Months Ago

8.   Nights & Flights

Starwood points can be used either for hotel stays or transferred to airline partners.  But with Starwood Nights & Flights, you can use your points for both!

With Nights & Flights, you can get:

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).

Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
Don’t Fall Victim to Inflated Prices at Hotels Near Popular Events! Use Starwood Points for Your Stay

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!

Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
Ride Through Big Sky Country, and Glacier National Park on Amtrak

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!

Best Uses Of Starwood Points 2017
Use Your Points for SPG Moments to Attend Events Like the US Open

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?

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

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.

Bottom Line

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!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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