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.
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:
Transfer American Express Membership Rewards points into your account
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
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.
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
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 (October 2021)
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 usually 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.
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 Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus 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.)