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When your Starwood Preferred Guest points expire, and how to stop it

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I receive regular emails from readers asking ‘How can I stop my Starwood Preferred Guest points from expiring?’ or ‘When do my Starwood Preferred Guest points expire?’.  This new series looks at the major hotel loyalty programmes and shows you how to keep valuable points intact.

SPG is the loyalty scheme for Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, St Regis, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, The Luxury Collection, St Regis, W and Westin.

Whilst Starwood was acquired by Marriott in 2016, SPG will not be integrated into Marriott Rewards. A new combined programme will launch in January 2019.

If you need to refer to this article in the future, there is a link to it on our ‘Hotel Promos’ page in the Starwood Preferred Guest section. This also includes details of current SPG promotions.

When do Starwood Preferred Guest points expire?

According to clause 4.2 of the Starwood Preferred Guest terms and conditions:

Starpoints earned or otherwise obtained by an SPG Member will forfeit without notice if the SPG Member becomes Inactive. An SPG Member is considered “Inactive” if during a 12-month period: (a) the SPG Member has not had a Stay at an SPG Participating Hotel; (b) the SPG Member has not earned or redeemed any Starpoints; or (c) the SPG Member’s account has been cancelled. The forfeiture of Starpoints does not apply to SPG Members who have achieved SPG Lifetime Gold or SPG Lifetime Platinum Status, as well as Vistana Owners to whom the obligations in Section 11 apply.

What do they mean by ‘earning or redeeming’?

The key point is that YOU DO NOT NEED TO STAY AT A HOTEL TO KEEP YOUR POINTS ALIVE. You simply need to have some activity go through your account over a rolling 12 month period.

St Regis Doha 3

If you have 1,000 or more Starwood points there is – at the moment – a very easy way to keep them active. Simply transfer your points to Marriott Rewards and then transfer them back.

You may remember from my article on stopping Marriott Rewards points from expiring that this is not meant to work in reverse! You cannot save your Marriott points by transferring them to Starwood and immediately moving them back.  (Actually, it does seem to work – but the rules clearly say it should not, so you are taking a risk.)

It DOES work for SPG, however. This is the easiest way to get another 12 months life for your points, which will probably take you to the 2019 merger of the two programmes anyway.

If you have fewer than 1,000 Starwood points, which is the minimum Marriott transfer, you need another option. There are various ways of achieving this if you live in the UK:

Earning points

Transfer American Express Membership Rewards points into your account

Buy Starwood Preferred Guest points

Take out the UK Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card which comes with 10,000 SPG points (review)

Eat or drink at the restaurant of a Starwood hotel for $10 or more – you can earn points without being a registered guest

Credit a Hertz or Sixt car rental to Starwood

Spending points

If you have 2,000 points, book and then cancel a Category 1 redemption on a weekend night (but, at the moment, it is easier just to transfer to Marriott Rewards and back)

Transfer points into an airline loyalty scheme. The minimum transfer depends on your status level in the programme – it is 2,500 points for non-status members.

Redeem for an SPG Moments experience day

Redeem points towards the cost of a cash flight with SPG Flights

Donate points to the American Red Cross or Unicef – the minimum is just 500 points which makes this the lowest cost way to guarantee your points are safe

Transfer points to someone who shares your home address

Starwood also has various gift voucher redemptions (Avis, Amazon etc) but these require a US or Canadian mailing address.

As you can see, there is no excuse at all for letting SPG points expire! If you want to track the expiry dates of all of your miles and points, I recommend signing up to AwardWallet for free. It keeps all of your points balances, including non-travel loyalty schemes, in one place and updates them automatically. If you pay for the premium version it also tracks your expiry dates and emails you when points are about to expire.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

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

Comments (15)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Scallder says:

    So they’re still on track to combine at the start of next year? Any indication whether this might slip?!

  • TripRep says:

    Genghis & co – for those posted yesterday about dropping from HH Gold/Diamond this could be handy..

    • Olly says:

      Thanks TR, I’ve tried a dozen or so times this past hour to submit my renewal which I was going to wait nearer to the end of March but don’t want to miss the boat. I think there must be sudden surge of applications as it seems the website has crashed.

  • Trickster says:

    For those who might have missed it in the Marriott article the other day; I’ve confirmed what RussellH suggested – a transfer from Starwood to Marriott did extend validity. It might work the other way round?

  • Combat Johnny says:

    How does eating or drinking at one work for earning points?

    • Rob says:

      You earn points for eating and drinking at Starwood hotels even if not a guest.

      • Cate says:

        …but only if you give them your SPG number 🙂


      • Tilly says:

        So when I check into the hotel I should ask them to add my SPG number to the room? Even though the hotel was booked via BA holidays? Then if we purchase food and drinks in the hotel (breakfast is included) we’ll get points for it. Am gold through amex plat – any chance they’ll take that into account for benefits or will be a complete no because was booked via BA?

        • KrisNZ says:

          I recently had an SPG cash stay in Dubai booked via a third party agent. I called the property and asked them to add my SPG (gold) number to the booking.

          We were treated very well on arrival, I think we got a better room because of it but none of the other benefits.

          I received star points for the food/beverages but not for accom cost. You also get 20% off food for being SPG.

  • Bob says:

    You just show your SPG card when paying the meal bill when eating at a SPG hotel with a bar or a restaurant.
    Points will be credited in proportion of your bill even if you do not stay at the hotel and just walk in to have a drink or a meal.

    • ankomonkey says:

      As Bob says…

      I’ve had points this way – wasn’t staying in the hotel, gave card when paying bill, got my points.

  • Cate says:

    A slightly OT’ish reminder that we only have till 5th March to book SPG/Marriott awards at the old category rate.

  • Ian says:

    I think it’s very strange that this works for SPG but not Marriott… but that’s fine, since SPG is the one with the ridiculous 12 month expiration policy.

  • Graham says:

    I have around 6,000 SPG points so my question is. Can I transfer 4,000 MR points from Amex and then move the total from SPG to my BA account thus triggering the 25% bonus for moving 10,000 points in one go?

    • New Card says:

      I believe the Amex MR to SPG conversion ratio is 2:1. So you would need to transfer 8,000 MR to top up your SPG balance to 10,000.

      Also, IIRC the 25% bonus for transferring SPG points to air miles only works when you transfer 20,000 points (so not 10,000).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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