An introduction to the Starwood Preferred Guest program

GUIDE: Program Guide
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: February 19, 2018
UPDATED: August 26, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: , Marriott Rewards
STATUS: SPG was merged into Marriott Rewards in August 2018. This content is now out-of-date but has been kept on the site for informational purposes

SPG have announced a new partnership with Hertz that allows you to earn 200 Starpoints on all car rentals.

Hertz-SPG

You can book via this dedicated booking portal, which is facilitated by Marriott Moments.

Also, if you’re lucky enough to have SPG Platinum elite status, you can register at this page and receive complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status.

Though if you have an American Express Platinum Charge card, you’ll already have access to this.

If your first thought is that you can use these Starpoints to then convert into frequent flyer points, you may actually be shortchanging yourself, which we explore in more detail in the guide below.

An introduction to Starwood Preferred Guest

Starwood Preferred Guest is a very solid loyalty program, with a heap of airline transfers, valuable points, and a stable value with no major devaluation in recent history.

With Starwood and Marriott merging, that could all change of course—I sincerely hope not. At some point, there will be a merger of sorts with Marriott Rewards that could taint all this.

But until then, Starpoints are a great currency, SPG is a very valuable loyalty program, and its points are one of the few hotel currencies that are available from credit card spend in Australia.

An introduction to the Starwood Preferred Guest program was last modified: August 26th, 2018 by Keith

Earning Starpoints

Converting American Express Membership Rewards into Starwood Preferred Guest points

There’s no dedicated/branded Starwood Preferred Guest credit card in Australia (unlike in the US and UK), so the most common option for Starpoint collectors is to pick a card from the American Express Membership Rewards range. You can then transfer points to Starpoints at 1000 Membership Rewards points = 500 Starpoints.

Transfers from American Express usually take 1 to 2 working days. Starwood Preferred Guest is also a useful program to consider warehousing your points in if you want to close your American Express card, thanks to its wide number of airline transfer partners.

I’ve written a full guide to American Express Membership Rewards here, and two of the best cards in the American Express range for Starpoint earning are the American Express Platinum Edge, thanks to its pumped-up earn rate for day-to-day spend at supermarkets and on fuel, and the American Express Explorer for its solid 2 Membership Rewards points per $ spent rate.

You can play around with how many points will make it over to SPG from Membership Rewards from the reward point conversion calculator.

Staying at Starwood Hotels

Of course, Starwood Preferred Guest is a hotel loyalty program, which has a massive global reach. Specifically, in the region, there is a wide range of hotels and resorts in Australia and Fiji at which you’d earn 2 Starpoints per US dollar spent on stays and food (as a standard, non-elite program member).

There’s also a good outlook for Australian Starwood Preferred Guest members, with new hotels and resorts opening in the region consistently.

Car hire with Hertz

SPG have a partnership that allows you to earn 200 Starpoints on all Hertz car rentals.

You can book via this dedicated booking portal, which is facilitated by Marriott Moments.

If your first thought is that you can use these Starpoints to then convert into frequent flyer points, you’ll want to watch out. Hertz already partner with a range of frequent flyer programs directly, and these are the rules you’ll need to observe to maximise your earn rate:

  • You’ll earn more miles per rental with programs like Asia Miles and KrisFlyer
  • You’ll earn Velocity points and AAdvantage miles based on how much you spend
  • You’ll earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles based on the number of rental days

It’s worth crunching the numbers of the frequent flyer programs you are loyal to in order to get the best deal for your individual rental.

Car hire with Sixt

Although lesser-known than the bigger car rental companies, Sixt is in most major cities in Australia as well as some smaller ones.

You can earn:

  • 250 Starpoints with every Sixt car rental
  • 500 Starpoints with every Sixt chauffeured service

If you’ve picked up SPG Gold status through your American Express Platinum, you’ll also receive a Gold Sixt Card, giving you a 10% discount for all rentals with Sixt.

If you have SPG Platinum elite status, you’ll receive a Platinum Sixt Card, which gives you a slightly higher 15% discount on car rental.

Hertz-Sixt

Again, if you’re looking to use these Starpoints to then convert into frequent flyer points, you should crunch the numbers.

Starwood’s frequent flyer program transfer partners

One of the key uses of Starwood is to move points over to its wide range of partner airlines globally, including a range of US and European airlines which are otherwise inaccessible to Australia points collectors.

Here are the current list of partners and transfer rates.

Frequent Flyer ProgramsExchange Ratio - Starpoints:Airline Miles
Aegean Airlines1:1
Aeromexico Club Premier1:1
Aeroplan/Air Canada1:1
Air China Companion1:1
Air New Zealand Airpoints65:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan1:1
Alitalia MileMiglia1:1
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club1:1
American Airlines AAdvantage1:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:1
Asiana Airlines1:1
British Airways Executive Club1:1
China Eastern Airlines1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles1:1
Emirates Skywards1:1
Etihad Airways1:1
Flying Blue1:1
Gol Smiles2:1
Hainan Airlines1:1
Hawaiian Airlines1:1
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank1:1
Jet Airways1:1
Korean Air1:1
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass1:1:5
Lufthansa Miles and More1:1
Qatar Airways1:1
Saudi Arabian Airlines1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus1:1
topbonus loyalty1:1
United Mileage Plus2:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1
Virgin Australia1:1

Summing up

It’s not hard to earn American Express Membership Rewards points and given the transfer rate of 1:0.5 over to SPG is respectable and the value and flexibility of Starpoints, then it is certainly possible to get a good stash of points going in your Starwood Preferred Guest account.

An introduction to the Starwood Preferred Guest program was last modified: August 26th, 2018 by Keith