Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Starwood Preferred Guest Introduces SPG Flights

Starwood Hotels and Resorts and its award winning hotel loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest launched yet another enhancement to an already generous program.

Since 1999, SPG members have been able to redeem Starpoints with a no blackout date policy, and not subjected to a policy that limits the number of rooms set aside for redemption. Now, you can use Starpoints for flights, with any carrier, and still no blackout dates. Therefore, you can utilize Starpoints for both your airline reservation and hotel stay. And best of all, in most cases you can still collect frequent flier miles with the airline.

Examples of Starpoints to airline ticket conversion:
10,000 Starpoints allows up to a $150 airline ticket
15,000 Starpoints allows up to a $215 airline ticket
20,000 Starpoints allows up to a $280 airline ticket
25,000 Starpoints allows up to a $345 airline ticket
(there are several higher tiers available as well)

Starwood continues to offer a points-to-miles deal which allows members to convert 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 frequent flier miles with many airlines (Starwood chips in the extra 5,000). But with capacity controls in place, the airlines have tightened up the number of seats released for award redemption, and simply having enough miles to redeem doesn't guarantee a "free" seat will be offered by the airline. Plus, unlike this new Star Flights program, you don't earn miles when you redeem airline miles.

Therefore, using this new SPG Flights program with Starwood Hotels and Resorts receives 2 thumbs up from inFLIGHTout. This is truly one of the best loyalty programs in the travel industry.

American Express

How do you earn some quick Starpoints? The Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express earns you 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase, with an option to earn an additional 15,000 points for spending $15,000 during the first six months. Plus you earn 1 point for each dollar purchased on the card.