Is SPG Flights a good use of your 20,000 points SPG Amex bonus?

The Starwood American Express card is currently one of my recommended choices, due to the excellent 20,000 SPG points that you receive as a sign-up bonus.

As this offer is now back, I thought that it was worth repeating this discussion from earlier in the year about the SPG Flights redemption option.

This is my original post on the 20,000 points promotion, and this is my full review of the SPG American Express.

There are two obvious uses for your Starwood points:

The first is to redeem for Sheraton, Westin, W, St Regis, Luxury Collection or aloft hotel rooms, where it should be possible to get 2p per point of value if you look carefully.

The second is to transfer them to airline miles. Starwood has the best airline transfer ratio in the industry, with 20,000 points getting you 25,000 Avios points or 25,000 miles in about 30 other programmes.

However, there is another redemption option, called “SPG Flights“. This is a very simple deal – Starwood will take your SPG points and use them to buy you a cash airline ticket.

Because they are buying you a cash ticket, there is no problem with availability! Secondly, because it is a cash ticket, you will receive airline miles and tier points back when you fly.

Starwood SPG

Is SPG Flights a good deal?

Starwood is very upfront about the pricing structure for SPG Flights. The number of points required is based on the cost of the flight (plus a $15 admin charge), set against various point bands:

up to $150 10,000 SPG points

$150-$215 15,000

$215-$280 20,000

$280-$345 25,000

$345-$410 30,000

$410-$475 35,000

$475-$540 40,000

$540-$605 45,000

$605-$670 50,000

$670-$735 55,000

$735-$800 60,000

$800-$865 65,000

$865-$930 70,000

$930-$995 75,000

$995-$1060 80,000

Higher prices (examples) :

$2,880-$3,140 235,000

$4,960-$5,220 395,000

$9,900-$10,160 775,000

If you took out the SPG Amex you would have 22,000 SPG points once you had done the minimum £2,000 spend. If you could get this up to 25,000 points via another £3,000 of spending or a transfer of 6,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, you would have 25,000. This would get you a flight worth up to £205 (based on $345 – $15 admin fee, converted to £).

SPG Flights can only book you flights from airlines which use the Worldspan reservation system. This may mean that some budget carriers are not included.

Now, £205 of flights is not as good a deal as c £400 of free hotel room from 25,000 SPG points. However, the £205 is a genuine cash saving against a flight you would have bought anyway. Arguably, you may have chosen a different – cheaper – hotel if you were using cash instead of points, which reduces the ‘real’ value of that £400.

All in all, SPG Flights is something to bear in mind when considering how best to use your Starwood points. It is also another reason to consider getting the SPG Amex whilst the current 20,000 point sign-up bonus is still running.

(To see our complete list of all current hotel promotions for the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. avidsaver says:

    With working out the value for hotel or flights surely you would also need to factor in the £75 annual charge? This reduces the real value somewhat or am I missing something?

  2. You can cancel the card and get a pro rata refund of the fee. I’m not sure how early you can cancel it but I presume at least you need to wait until all of your points have landed in your SPG account.

    • And don’t forget that you can normally get cash back on taking out the card, which can often leave you in profit after paying the pro rata fee. Depends on how quickly you meet the minimum spend and the points are credited…

      • avidsaver says:

        Thanks for pointing that out Mark – not thought of possible cash back! Makes a difference….

  3. Pszczolka says:

    I recently took out the card and noticed that for the SPG Amex, they don’t round up the points, i.e. if you spend £14.99 on something you get 14 SPG points whereas on the BA Amex you would get 15 Avios. Not sure why that is or if it’s been mentioned previously but I just noticed it last night.

    Maybe not a huge deal in the end but kind of annoying as I have multiple XX.99 transactions…guess I’ll be throwing something extra in next time!

    • that’s why they call it for “virtually every £1 spent” …it has been like these for a long long time with Amex issued cards (at least in my experience).if it is a matter of pence i just add some chewing gum, which i would otherwise buy with cash

      • Pszczolka says:

        But as I mentioned, the BA Amex does round up, so £14.72 gives me 15 Avios so it’s not an Amex thing, seems to be an SPG thing

        • Pszczolka says:

          To be fair, it does say “Earn 1 Starpoint for virtually every full £1 spent on your Card” on their website but I just never thought there’d be a difference between cards and thought it might help someone!

  4. Was this always a £2k required spend? I was fairly certain it was £1k when I did it in the summer :/ oh well, best get spending either way! :)

    • it was indeed £1000 in summer, i took it out in July.

    • Pszczolka says:

      It was £1000 earlier this month, as I just applied at the beginning of November. If you don’t have to apply now it might be worth waiting to see if it drops again?

  5. I wanted to post this in the card post, but comments are closed there:

    I still have my US SPG card and the account still uses my (old) US address. Can I get the UK card too? Do I need to update the address on the SPG account for the bonus to post? Thanks a lot!

    • Yes, you should be fine to get the UK card. They post to any old SPG account – my Amex was registered at a different address to my SPG card and the points were still going across, they only seem to check surname.

  6. Do you earn Avios on SPG reward flights if with a oneworld airline? This makes it even more attractive, particularly if you’re a Gold/Silverwith BA as you get a minimum of 1000 each way