An intro to the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program | finder.com
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An introduction to the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program

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You can now earn and redeem points with over 29 hospitality brands.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) has finally merged with Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. The new, unified program is called Marriott Bonvoy. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find inside the loyalty program.

Starwood Preferred Guest is now part of Marriott Bonvoy

SPG merged with Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards in August 2018, and rebranded to Marriott Bonvoy in February 2019.

This was a big deal in the travel world and came with many changes. The programs now share the same elite system. Also, the points you earn in each program can be redeemed for nights at eligible properties in all three portfolios.

Note: As SPG is now part of Marriott International, we’ll refer to its loyalty program as Marriott Bonvoy.

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How much are Starwood Preferred Guest points worth?

SPG points range in value, with an average of 0.9 cents apiece based on our calculations as of January 2019. At this rate, SPG lags behind chains such as Hyatt and Wyndham. But it still beats competitors Hilton and IHG.

For lower-priced Marriott Bonvoy properties, your points could be worth as little as 0.3 to 0.4 cents each.

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Do Starwood Preferred Guest points expire?

SPG points can expire if your Marriott Bonvoy account is inactive for 24 consecutive months.

After five years without activity, Marriott may deactivate your account.

How to stay active in Marriott Bonvoy

  • Earn points in the program by using your Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit card, earning rewards through a travel partner, holding an eligible event or meeting or a similar action.
  • Redeem points.
  • Convert points to airline miles or vice versa.
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Marriott Bonvoy travel partners

As of January 2019, Marriott Bonvoy travel partners include:
  • Hertz. On eligible rentals, you’ll receive a discount on the base rate and earn up to 3,000 points.
  • CruisesOnly. Book through Marriott Bonvoy’s dedicated portal and earn 3x points.
  • Travelling Connect. Earn 10 Marriott Bonvoy points per minute of foreign call time through participating networks.

These activities won’t keep you active in Marriott Bonvoy

  • Gifting or transferring points.
  • Receiving points from a gift or transfer.
  • Earning points through social media initiatives such as #MarriottBonvoyPoints.
Marriott Bonvoy Points social media program

#MarriottBonvoyPoints lets you earn Marriott Bonvoy points by linking your social media accounts.

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How do you earn Starwood Preferred Guest points?

Although the points you earn will no longer be called SPG points, you can still earn points through Marriott Bonvoy. To start earning points, sign up for a free Marriott Bonvoy program membership.

As a basic member, you’ll earn 10x points on qualifying charges at most Marriott Bonvoy properties. These are called base points.

At some properties, you’ll earn 5x or 2.5x points on qualifying charges.

Earning more points: Elite status

In addition to base points, you can earn bonus points through elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

For example, as a Silver Elite member, you’ll earn a 10% bonus on your base points. Instead of earning 10x points, then, you’ll earn 11x points. This bonus increases as you move up in elite tiers.

table on bonus points

You can earn up to a 75% bonus on base points through elite status.

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Here are the redemption costs for Free Night Awards as of January 2019, according to the Marriott website:

Hotel

Category

Off Peak Off Peak Peak
1 5,000 7,500 10,000
2 10,000 12,500 15,000
3 15,000 17,500 20,000
4 20,000 25,000 30,000
5 30,000 35,000 40,000
6 40,000 50,000 60,000
7 50,000 60,000 70,000
8 (Available 2019) 70,000 85,000 100,000
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Compare Marriott Bonvoy credit cards

SPG-branded cards are no longer available, but you can still choose from these Marriott Bonvoy products.

One of them is a business card and the other is a premium travel card.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months of card membership
75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
6x points at participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels and 2x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
6x Marriott Bonvoy points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on US wireless telephone and shipping services; 2x points on all other purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening
Earn x points at over 6,500 participating Marriott Rewards® and SPG® hotels. Earn 4x points on gas station, restaurant, shipping, internet, cable and phone service purchases. Earn 2x points on all other purchases.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Other cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points

The cobranded Marriott Bonvoy cards aren’t your only options for earning points. Through select travel cards, you can transfer points to the Marriott Bonvoy program. Then, you can use those points to book stays at eligible properties.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn unlimited 1x points on all other purchases
$95
80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines; 4x points at US restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees

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Marriott Bonvoy elite tiers

It’s free to join via the Marriott Bonvoy program. You’ll achieve elite tiers based on how many nights you stay at qualifying Marriott Bonvoy properties.

Members — 0 to 9 nights a year

Regardless of whether you want to move up in elite tiers, it’s worth joining Marriott Bonvoy. You’ll get a discount on most stays, so joining pays dividends in real dollars.

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Silver Elite — 10 to 24 nights a year

Silver Elite comes with all of the benefits of Member tier. You’ll also get a points bonus among other perks.

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Gold Elite — 25 to 49 nights a year

Gold Elite tier includes benefits of lower tiers and valuable perks like room upgrades.

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Platinum Elite — 50 to 74 nights a year

Platinum Elite comes with the benefits of lower tiers plus other even bigger perks. Even later checkout is a nice touch, as are complimentary lounge access and an annual choice benefit.

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Platinum Premier Elite — 75 to 99 nights a year

Get all the perks of lower tiers with Platinum Premier Elite. Among other extras, you have additional options for your annual choice benefit.

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Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador — 100 or more nights a year and $20,000 in annual qualifying spending

In addition to benefits from lower tiers, this tier comes with personalized Ambassador Service and the flexibility of Your24.

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Bottom line

Starwood Preferred Guest has long been a well-regarded loyalty program, and many travelers like that it’s merged into Marriott Bonvoy.

Your points will often be worth more if you redeem them for stays at more expensive properties. If you like staying at low-cost hotels, consider a general travel card.

Many cards can help you earn points, including a few Marriott Bonvoy cobranded cards. Other products can be useful, too, letting you transfer rewards to the Marriott Bonvoy program. You can also check out Hyatt, Wyndham, Hilton and IHG rewards cards if you tend stay more frequently with one of these brands.

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Frequently asked questions

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Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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