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This week TPG reader Stephen asked a question via Twitter:
“@ThePointsGuy how much do you value Ultimate Rewards Points vs Starwood points? I know you value Starwood at about 2.5 cents”
In this day and age of airline programs and hotel programs constantly moving the needle, changing how many points or miles you need for an award it can be hard to come up with one set number for what a mile or point is worth. Each currency is different especially as they gain new partners and lose key partners, so the value of those miles and points change.
Just last month I launched my first monthly point valuation analysis and went through each of the major programs thinking about if they had gained or lost value over the past year. TPG reader Stephen had tweeted me asking what I value StarPoints as versus Chase Ultimate Rewards points which are my two most valuable point programs. Although Stephen mentions that I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each, in 2014 I actually value them at 2.1 cents a piece. To put it simply, on a 10,000 point Starwood redemption I’m looking to get at least $210 in value or more, but generally I get a lot more than that.
I think Chase points are very close in value at 2.2 cents a piece. They just added Singapore Airlines as a new transfer partner, so now they have a total of 11 transfer partners. In the upcoming valuation this month Chase will probably increase a little bit simply because there are some amazing values with Singapore KrisFlyer, but you just need to know how to leverage these points and awards.
In general I do think Starwood is the most valuable points program out there. The one key thing that I would like to see is quicker transfers to airline partners. We did a series a couple years ago testing out the transfer times of different Starwood transfer partners and found that generally it can take a couple days or weeks for the transfer to complete.
That being said, Starwood teams up with some really unique partners that no other transferable point programs transfer to. Jason Steele who is one of our contributors, just wrote a post on maximizing the unique transfer partners of the program. I personally really love the fact that Starwood points transfer to Alaska Airlines, which I think is probably the most underrated program out there. Lastly, for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a bonus of 5,000 airline miles so it builds in a 25% bonus. This alone makes the Starwood Amex one of the best all around built in credit cards.
So overall even though I currently value Chase points a little bit higher than SPG points, when you take into account other aspects of the programs I would say that Starwood is number one for me right now. If you have additional questions, please message me on Facebook, tweet me @ThePointsGuy, or send me an email at email@example.com.