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TPG Reader Carrie sent me a tweet to ask about hotel programs:

@ThePointsGuy —What’s your favorite hotel program domestically? I’m mostly a US hotel user, but want to use abroad eventually.”

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Starwood Preferred Guest. From New York to Miami to the St. Regis Princeville on Kauai, I’ve had great experiences at a number of domestic Starwood properties. While you won’t find quite the same level of coverage that you get with larger chains, Starwood still has about 600 US properties and multiple options in most major cities. Plus, I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

SPG is also a great option if you’re looking to travel abroad in the future. Aside from more glamorous properties like The Westin Paris – Vendôme, the St. Regis Bali Resort and the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, there are plenty of low-level award options that offer solid value for your Starpoints. It doesn’t hurt that I have Starwood Platinum elite status — thanks in part to the bonus elite credits I get from my Starwood Preferred Guest Card — but these properties are worth a visit even if you’re new to the program.

St Regis Bali pool and beach banner
Starwood has some impressive properties abroad as well, like the gorgeous St. Regis Bali.

Of course, I love SPG for more than just hotel stays. You can transfer points to miles with over 30 airline partners, including American and (my latest crush) Alaska Airlines. I’ve also used Starpoints for some of my favorite awards ever through SPG Moments. There’s plenty to love about SPG, and pound for pound I think it’s the most rewarding program, which is why I consistently put it at the top of my monthly valuations.

That said, I’m a fan of Hyatt too, and I’ve recently been pretty impressed with Marriott, where I’ve been getting great value out of mid-tier Gold status. Marriott has lots of nice brands like the Autograph Collection, AC Hotels and Moxy. I loved the JW Austin during my recent stay at SXSW (review to come), so if Starwood doesn’t suit your needs, I’d take a look at Marriott.

The major hotel chains can be found in just about any major destination. However, if there are places you visit frequently, or if you have upcoming travel plans and are looking for something specific, you might check out what’s available there to help you differentiate between programs.

For more info on both Starwood and Marriott, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.74%-19.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.