Best Business Hotel Loyalty Program for Converting Points to Air Miles 2016-2017
Best Business Hotel Loyalty Program for Converting Points to Air Miles:
Starwood Preferred Guests
Starwood is generally associated with the higher end of hotel classes, but the program’s list of more than 1,200 properties covers both the middle ground and the lower end of the market as well.
Which is handy, because travellers of all classes should be a part of the very generous 1 to 1 conversion of Starpoints into air miles – in fact, if you convert 20,000 points into air miles you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 miles.
That’s by far the best conversion program you’ll find today.
By comparison, Hilton HHonors lets you turn 15,000 points into 10,000 miles with Hawaiian Air, while Marriott Rewards’ deal with United Mileage Plus turns 16,000 points into 5,000 miles.
Not even close.
Starwood is partnered with more than 150 airlines, and maintains a no date blackout policy if you book through the company’s own website and deal in Starpoints – which is a little sneaky, seeing as you’ll pay more in Starpoints for a flight than you would if you converted your points to airline flyer miles and then proceeded from there.
Starwood also offers crossover deals with Delta and Emirates, meaning you can do things like earn Starpoints on flight purchases in addition to the miles you rack up, and earn miles by spending on certain hotel room rates.
It’s a deal that almost makes it worthwhile to join Starwood just for the air miles, and how often would you say that about a hotel loyalty scheme?
Which is just as well, as Starwood isn’t as straightforward a program on the ground as it is in the air.
The Preferred Guest service doesn’t let you accumulate points as quickly through hotel stays as its competitors do, and it can take an awful lot of points to get a free night at some of the high end hotels on offer. So if you’re thinking of sleeping at the Four Points on your next few business trips in order to get a little free time at the St. Regis, that 3-day stay is going to have be closer to a 3-month stay.
Also, while it is possible to share points across accounts, everyone has to be living at the same address to be eligible. As an upside, it’s very easy to donate your points to the Red Cross or UNICEF.
And there is one more little fly in the ointment here. Marriot International officially bought Starwood in April this year, so there’s some uncertainty over the Starwood Preferred Guest program over the long haul.
Might be best to convert those points to miles sooner rather than later.
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