Why 2 people + 2 Starwood Amex cards = 25,000 Avios or other miles

Starwood Preferred Guest, the loyalty scheme for Sheraton, Westin, W, aloft etc – is an oddity amongst hotel programmes.  Whilst it works in the same way as other schemes, with different tier levels and an earnings rate based on spending, it is a standout programme for two reasons:

The exceptionally generous transfer rate of Starwood points to airline miles.  This starts at 1:1 and goes as high as 1:1.25 if you convert in chunks of 20,000

The ludicrously high redemption rates required for high end properties.  A night at the Gritti Palace in Venice (below) will set you back 30,000 Starwood points, for example – you could get 35,000 Avios if you transferred them across instead of taking the free night. 

Gritti Palace Venice

Starwood also has another interesting tweak, which is the subject of this article. It is possible to transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points from one member to another, for freeAny amount, as long as it is a multiple of 1,000.  No need for matching surnames. The only rule is that both accounts must have had the same home address on file with SPG for at least 30 days.

You can do the transfer online with minimum fuss.  The link is here.   Transfers take around 5 days.

The obvious reasons for doing this are:

  • to reach a targetted award more quickly, or
  • to move a handful of points from someone else who will never get enough for a redemption, or
  • simply making your household life easier by keeping all points in one persons name.

SPG Amex

But the main reason is this …..

The key reason for a UK reader, though, is this.  It allows you to persuade your partner / parent etc to take out the Starwood American Express credit card, bank the 10,000 SPG points sign-up bonus for spending £1000 and then transfer the bonus to you.

(The representative APR on the card is 36.2%, including the annual fee, based on a notional credit limit of £1200).

20,000 Starwood points can be transferred into 25,000 Avios or other airline miles as you receive a 5,000 point bonus.  This is more beneficial than sending 10,000 SPG points to an airline account which gets you only 10,000 miles.

Starwood has a huge range of airline partners – almost 30.  Whilst most HFP readers focus on Avios, this is also a way of topping up a balance in another programme where it is harder to earn miles in this country.

The SPG card comes with a £75 annual fee – full details are in my review of the Starwood American Express card here.  As with all Amex cards, you can cancel for a pro-rata fee refund at any time.

SPG is also a roundabout way to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to an airline account in a different name.  You would move them from an Amex account to your SPG account, then across to the SPG account of the other person, and then into their airline account.  The problem, of course, is the 2:1 conversion rate from Amex which means you lose out compared to converting directly from Membership Rewards to an airline.

Remember that you can also convert Marriott Rewards points to Starwood Preferred Guest at a ratio of 3:1.  This is another way of topping up a Starwood account to get it to the magic 20,000 point threshold where you trigger the 5,000 bonus airline miles.

PS.  If you have a lot of Starwood points – 70,000+ – you might get a better deal by moving your points to Marriott Rewards (at 1:3) and redeeming for a Marriott Travel Package.  I explained why Marriott Travel Packages are so attractive in this article.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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  1. The Marriott travel package looks great, this will be my next target over the coming months. I didn’t actually realise this was a thing… was originally planning on maximising the 5,000 bonus when transferring over 20k starpoints but the travel package sounds much better!

    I got my first hotel card – SPG Amex a month ago and already have 18,000 Starpoints. Thanks for the referal rob.

  2. Davewhite says:

    off topic Q re BA PP AMEX:
    I have redeemed the 2 4 1 voucher and would like to “downgrade” to the free card to avoid the fees as i’ve just started year 2.

    Can anyone with first hand experience advise on process?

    • Just go online and complete the bacc application. They will ask you for your BAPP no, they automatically convert the card over, your spend will start again in yr 2, avios stay in account until,you transfer them out. Get in quick before the next statement. Check you ac whenever, and you will then see the bacc

      • Genghis says:

        To clarify a little, avios stay in Amex account until they are automatically transferred out to BAEC on a monthly basis

  3. Might sound like a stupid question but I asume the rooms booked under the Marriott
    package are for two people ? It doesn’t say anywhere . Just clarifying.

  4. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Can someone explain Marriott RewardsPlus to me? I’ve looked at the tables but don’t see an obvious link to the T&C’s and when I click on “view” it asks me to login in which I’m not in a position to do.


    Looks like 200,000 Marriott Points plus 50,000 Avios get me return flights and 7 nights in a Cat 1-5. But is there a restriction on the flights (mielage, connections etc.) and what about taxes?

    Thanks in advance,

    • This is the travel package Rob mentions at the bottom of the article. Spend 200,000 marriott points, you get a voucher for 7 nights Cat 1-5 and they give you 50,000 Avios on top, to spend as you please. The more miles you can afford the better the value – 270,000 marriott points is the best value, if you can find somewhere Cat 1-5 you want to stay at.

      N.B. The “Plus” bit only refers to United miles, as they have a transfer exchange rate from marriott.