Collapsing £ now means 1p per SPG point when redeeming for flights

Back in 2013 Rob wrote about SPG Flights, the Starwood Preferred Guest redemption option where you exchange your Starwood points for a flight ticket.

Two facts made this offer sound quite attractive.  Starwood is buying you a cash ticket, therefore there is no problem with availability.  And, because it is a cash ticket, you will receive airline miles and tier points back when you fly.

However, looking at the cash value of your SPG points, this deal turned out not to be Starwood’s best redemption.  You were getting around 0.8p per SPG point which was not great value – our valuation target is 1.5p per point.

With the Pound currently being rather weak it’s worth taking another look at this redemption, because the value should have improved sharply.

Starwood SPG

What do I get for my SPG points via SPG Flights?

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

Looking at the cheapest option you trade 10,000 SPG points for a $135 flight – plus the $15 admin fee – meaning you’d get 1.35c per point.  Back in 2013 (when £1 was $1.55) 1.35c was 0.87p.  Today it’s 1.07p.

The other price examples are roughly the same, if you go for the higher price within the bracket. The value per point has gone up by roughly 20% proportionally and you will get around 1p per point.  You will still get better value if you use your Starwood points for a well chosen hotel redemption, but getting 1p via this route is not terrible.

Even though, in general, the weak Pound can be a problem when travelling, at least when exchanging points for something priced in a foreign currency you are better off than a couple of years ago.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

BA Club Europe domestic flights confirmed as 40 tier points each way
Bits: Virgin Boston spend offer, Delta / Westjet partner, 4 x Tesco debit card points
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Tilly71 says:

    The value in SPG points are it’s transfer airline partners.

    • Genghis says:

      Or it’s Marriott hotel conversions

      • Genghis says:

        Its. Damn auto correct

        • Peter K says:

          “It’s” is correct grammar. It is becomes it’s due to the missing letter.

        • Genghis says:

          For possessive it’s (shortened form of it is) “its”

        • In the possessive it’s always its… you don’t say his’s or her’s do you 😉

        • Nope, Genghis is correct – its for possessive use, it’s only when trying to contract it is.

        • mark2 says:

          It depends whether Genghis meant ‘[the value] is Marriott hotel conversions’ or ‘[SPG scheme’s] Marriott hotel conversions’

        • Genghis says:

          Following on from @Tilly71’s comment, I meant “The value in SPG points is its Marriott hotel conversions”. Regardless, “the value” and “SPG scheme” would all be “its” due to the possessive. Should be go back on topic? 🙂

        • Peter K says:

          I assumed “Or it’s Marriott hotel conversions” was a continuation of the previous post as follows:
          “The value in SPG points are it’s transfer airline partners.”
          “Or it is Marriott hotel conversions”.
          Add it turns out that is not what you intended then “its” is correct as you say 🙂

    • Peter K says:

      Though for many on this site that is what they collect them for, when something has multiple uses it would be unwise to ignore all the other potential options.
      Sometimes if a lower value per point allows you to get something that otherwise you can’t (in this case a flight where there may be no reward availability), or with less hassle, then it is worth the cut in value.

  2. mark2 says:

    You need to remember that these bookings cannot be cancelled and points returned as you can with many airline points schemes. As I would have done, having found that SPG points are more valuable (to me) transferred to Marriott.

    • Genghis says:

      @Mark2 IIRC you seemed a big advocate of SPG flights a few months ago. What changed?

      • mark2 says:

        They can be useful, but circumstances constantly change. I used the opportunity of buying a new car to get 20,000 points (including 11,000 for new card) to pay for two flights in June 17 at a more convenient time than Avios could supply. That whole flight has now been cancelled for the foreseeable future and Alaska did not even tell me; I found out by accident. I would now if possible cancel and book for cash with Air Canada, but I would not get anything back.
        Also I could have better used the £8,000 of purchases to get another Amex 241 as the one I have got expires 08/18 and I want to go to New England/Canada in Fall for the last time due to age.
        I also discovered that I could cancel my Hampton Inn (only Hilton property in central Vancouver BC) booking and get back my points and book a Cat 7 Marriott Delta suite for the same 35,000 points per night (5 for 4 on both), so the 60,000 Marriott points from Spg 20,000 would have been useful towards 140,000. At the time required this suite would cost more than CAD750 per night including tax approx £450. Whereas 9500 SPG points at 1.5p is £142.50 or at 0.8p is £76.
        I have only recently discovered SPG/Marriott and am very impressed. I just hope that the team currently combining the two schemes do not do too much damage.

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m finding SPG points really valuable at the moment – I just don’t have enough of them!

        • Get on the ubers genghis 😉

  3. Same also applies for the Euro, faring very badly against the dollar

    • It’s popular to talk about a “collapsing” pound as well at the moment but it just isn’t true. After the sudden fall last June, there hasn’t actually been a very great change between the pound, euro or dollar. Look at a website like the BBC News Business/Market Data and click on one of the currency rates. Select the euro/dollar rate for example and it (amongst others) is within 2 per cent of where it was 3 months ago.

      • mark2 says:

        Popular among Remoaner in particular.
        A falling pound has advantages as well as disadvantages. Even some Remoaners were telling me yesterday of their knowledge of increased exports.

        • William Avery says:

          Rob has been consistently clear he is not here to talk about Brexit. It is evident the £ is considerably lower than it was 9 months ago. Our SA holiday went up c.£500 from Jan to March on part payment bookings. Travel £ facts.

        • Then Rob and Anika should also stop talking about the “collapsing” pound, because it already collapsed, and is no longer collapsing at this time. It may collapse again in May, or it may go up.

          The ZAR has gone up against the USD as well, so Brexit is not the sole cause of your SA holiday getting more expensive if you decided not to pay for it when the £ was higher.

          I submit that the premise of the article is a bit silly. Perhaps Avios can be valued in GBP, but hotel points for many chains are linked to the USD, both for earning and burning.

          So if you have a lot of points, when the USD rises against the GBP, then obviously you will get more £ value from them.

          You know what else would get you more £ value when the USD rises? The USD itself. I “lost” £5000 on 23 June when I changed some USD to GBP thinking that I was getting lots of GBP for cheap as the vote would go the other way causing it to rise. I was wrong, so what, I’m making it back.

        • Stop using the word Remoaner please. You aren’t doing yourself any favours.

      • The pound was the worst performing currency of 2016, regardless of how anyone voted in referendum.

  4. the_real_a says:

    i just got back from Mulu Marriott (5 star resort in Borneo) using starwood points, and Gold status match from AMEX platinum – was upgraded to a suit for my full 5 days stay (selling for £300 a night on my dates)

    So 40,000 marriot points (5th night free) exchanged from starwood = 13,333 PTS

    About 11p per starwood point – I think this was the best redemption ever!

    (Plane transfers to the resort were on Avios – operated ny MASwings (malaysian)

  5. Roger says:

    Agree with other about high value attributed to SPG points.
    I have just churned SPG Amex, hoping to reapply within next 6 months to start cycle again.

    To use Genghis’s terminology, with His-n-Her card, one couple of can get 58000 SPG points in a year with internal referral. [(12+5+12)X2]. Easy 75K miles for obscure Airline or Marriott hotel package in a year.

    I just hope Amex SPG card would survive until late spring next year to be able to do two more churns.

    • Genghis says:

      I think Rob has mentioned a number of times the SPG and Marriott schemes being merged end of 17. Perhaps there might be an overlap period by the end of which all points need to be within the combined scheme? Who knows. I’ve an SPG churn due early summer but can’t decide whether to keep the card and spend on it (to get as many SPGs as possible) or to try and churn again in the winter / early 17 (by which point the card might not even be around). Thoughts anyone?

      • I’m going to go for another churn on it before it disappears to get my SPG balance up. Might do it later in the year and see what (if anything) it rolls onto become. Can’t see any sign-up bonuses coming.

      • Timsom says:

        I was wondering this too, I normally just aim for as many Avios as possible but recently discovered that for my own ‘money saved’ SPG far more valuable as I don’t really value business class flights and would never pay for them, but I regularly pay full price for hotels. I didn’t even know about this points for cash flights trick but with that surely makes the SPG card the most valuable for ongoing spend?

      • Talk is now ‘mid 2018’.

        • For what it’s worth, I’ve just cancelled both of our SPG cards with a view to a last gasp reapplication in September …..

        • Genghis says:

          Cheers Rob. I’ll aim for two more churns then before “mid 2018”. Seems like another rolling target…

        • Peter K says:

          Mid 2018 very interesting. I was planning on SPG plus AMEX gold double double (both cards for both my wife and me) before SPG disappeared at the end of the year. May get another churn cycle in and save some MR points for other schemes and still be able to get a decent Marriot hotel+airmiles package.

  6. Louise says:

    OT i have 7000 marmot points expiring in May, can i transfer to SPG to keep them alive?
    Cant see any other way of me keeping them active?