Eleven Ways to Earn SPG Starpoints
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After I launched a post yesterday reviewing the (gorgeous) St. Regis Punta Mita, I received multiple emails asking me how to earn more SPG points. This isn't exactly surprising because the reality is, as I pointed out in that post, they are one of the harder types of miles and points to earn unless you naturally have lots of paid SPG hotel stays. I'll cut to the chase and tell you now there is no magic way to freely and easily earn infinite amounts of SPG points, but I'm happy to recap the ways that you can earn SPG Starpoints.
The Co-Branded SPG Credit Cards
It may not be an innovative way to earn points these days, but the truth is the easiest way for most of us to earn SPG points is to obtain and use the co-branded SPG Amex cards. There are two versions of this card, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Amex and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card Amex. You can have both versions of the card, and both currently offer point sign-up point bonuses after meeting the spending requirements. Over the past few years the bonuses have jumped to 30,000 points once per year in the summer, but that increased bonus just ended a few weeks ago.
The cards don't have lots of bonus categories the way some cards to, but instead earn 1 point for every $1 you charge on the card and 2 points for every eligible dollar you charge at a SPG hotel. I have had at least one of these cards for years, and continue to use it not just at SPG hotels around the world (since it no longer has foreign transaction fees), but I also use it frequently for non-bonused spending at various retailers. For example, if I have a large charge that is just going to earn 1x on my other cards anyway, such as a doctor's bill, I might as well put the charge on this card and earn 1x of a very valuable type of point in the process.
This results in thousands of SPG points earned each year, and of course if you are newly obtaining the card(s) you can get a very hefty shot of SPG points from those sign-up bonuses. The terms for the personal card state that the bonus is not available to applicants who have or have had this product. However, the business card terms are a bit different as they state that the welcome bonus is not available to applicants who have or have had the product within the last 12 months.
SPG Stays and Bonuses
This is the truly obvious one, but you can earn SPG points for eligible stays at SPG hotels at a rate of 2 points per dollar for general members, 3 points per dollar for Gold and Platinum elite members, and 4 points per dollar for SPG Platinum members who have at least 75 eligible nights per year at SPG properties. Obviously this means when you are staying at SPG hotels you want to charge all of your expenses to the room so you can earn as many points as possible for them. On our recent stay at the St. Regis Punta Mita we had about $600 in room charges, and since I have Gold status that means we earned about 1,800 SPG points for the charges via the SPG program and another 1,200 points from using our SPG Amex to pay the bill. This means 3,000 SPG points were earned just for the room charges, which isn't too bad!
On top of that you can earn bonus points via promotions they offer throughout the year such as double points or X number of bonus points after a certain number of eligible nights.
SPG Online Games
SPG actually is pretty good about offering a couple of online games per year where you can win SPG points and other prizes. I have personally never won, but know countless others who have won prizes just by taking a few seconds out of their day to play. They just had an online game that ended a few days ago, but I'll be sure to share the next time one pops up. If you love SPG points as much as I do it is worth a shot! In fact, we almost won a million Starpoints once...that would have been amazing!
SPG Airline Partnerships
SPG has partnerships with Delta and Emirates where you can potentially earn SPG points at a rate of 1 Starpoint per US dollar spent on all eligible Emirates or Delta flights (Gold and Platinum SPG members). If you fly either of those airlines you should certainly take the time to register for those partnerships.
You can 1 SPG point per dollar spent on Uber rides, and then 2 to 4 points per dollar on Uber rides during your SPG hotel stay (depending on elite status level).
If the Caesar's Entertainment Casino group is your style, you can earn 2 Starpoints for every eligible dollar charged to your Caesars group room in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, etc.
Amex Membership Rewards Transfers
The Starwood Preferred Guest program is actually a transfer partner of the Amex Membership Rewards program, but this isn't mentioned frequently because the transfer ratio is pretty bad. It takes 1,000 Membership Reward points to get 333 SPG points (3:1 ratio). I have seen periodic transfer bonuses as high as 50% on these type of transfers, but even then you are still looking at a ratio of 2 Membership Reward points to 1 SPG point. If you are in a pinch and need a few more points it is an option, but it is often not a very good option.
Purchase SPG Points
You can buy SPG points at a rate of 3.5 cents per point and I have seen periodic sales that drop that price to closer to 2.6 cents per point from time to time. That price still makes it pretty hard to justify the purchase unless you just need a few more points to get to the specific threshold you need to book your award trip though there are situations where you come out ahead at that price.
Purchase SPG Points From Yourself via Cash and Points Stays
Many times when we use SPG points we stretch them by redeeming via the cash and points option instead of just using all points for award stays. When you do this you are essentially buying SPG points from yourself at a rate that varies, but can be as low as about one cent each. For example, I have gone skiing and stayed at the Westin Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado. This Category 5 property is often 16,000 SPG points per night during ski season. However, when there is cash + points availability (which can be scarce) you can book that for 6,000 points + $110 per night for Category 5 properties. This means that I saved 10,000 SPG points per night, but spent $110+ extra in order to do so. Ignoring taxes and such for the moment, that comes out to about 1.1 cent per point. Obviously doing this doesn't add points to your account, but it does stretch the points you have which is important when working with limited point totals.
SPG allows free transfers of points between household members, so if you share an address with someone willing to give you SPG points then that is a way to increase your balance.
Win Them From Mommy Points
I am currently giving away 5,000 SPG points on this post so be sure and enter, but really the point of this way to earn is to just always keep your eyes open for different contests or giveaways involving SPG points as they do pop up from time to time.
Those are the ways I know of to earn SPG points, but I'm curious to know if I left out a method that your family utilizes. If so, please feel free to share!