In absolute terms, SPG points are the most valuable loyalty currency out there. You can earn them with the SPG Personal American Express and SPG Business American Express, which has an increased bonus of 25,000 points with each card. This ends October 18th, so I strongly recommend applying as this will likely be the last chance to get this improved offer. Here are someone of the best SPG redemptions available. For more information, see my SPG American Express Application Guide.
Best SPG Redemptions
If you’ve already gotten the cards, you will likely be sitting on five if not six figures of SPG points. A free night starts at only 2,000 points, but the redemptions with the best value numerically will cost between 35,000 – 90,000 SPG points. The retail values I use reflect the best available cash prices for the same hotel booking or flight award. Most people (including me) would never pay these prices to begin with, so keep in mind the values are just a calculation. Nonetheless, I still value SPG points at 2.25 cents apiece.
1. Fifth Night Free
If you’re just starting out with miles and points, you don’t necessarily have to dive into a complex redemption. One of the most simple redemptions for SPG are on hotels. If you redeem points for five nights, you’ll get the fifth night free automatically.
With a free night ranging from 2,000 to 35,000 points, the sweet spot is with non-peak Category 5 properties. This costs 12,000 points a night. The next category is a huge jump to 20,000/25,000 points a night. Category 5 is high enough to have many excellent properties, many of which are luxury hotels. Even if you are picking a standard Westin or Sheraton, you can always get outsized value during peak dates – holidays, city-wide conferences, sports championships, and more.
My favourite example close to home of is the Westin Whistler during ski season. You have to book pretty early to secure your dates, but you get fantastic value with your points especially when rates skyrocket. With the fifth night free, each night costs 9,600 SPG points. Compare this to a non-refundable rate of 381 USD (475 CAD) plus tax, and an insanely higher flexible rate, and you’re saving a ton of money even if you were going to book a cheaper property during your ski trip.
SPG Points Required: 48,000 / Retail Value: 4.0+ cents
2. Marriott Hotel and Air Packages
One tremendous boon with the upcoming Marriott and Starwood merger is that SPG points now transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. A great Marriott redemption option is with Hotel and Air Packages. The best value is converting 270,000 Marriott points to 120,000 Airline Miles and a 7-night Category 1-5 hotel certificate. Participating airlines include: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
I value most airline miles at 1.5 cents or more, which means the miles are worth at least $1800. This is even higher if you redeem for a business or first class flight. My first choice of airline with this redemption is Alaska, with many great international partners.
The hotel certificate can be used separately from your airline miles. By cherrypicking the property, you can also maximize your booking. One of the best properties in Category 5 is the JW Marriott Phu Quoc resort in Vietnam. A seven night stay starts at $2,000 USD but is free with your redemption! Otherwise, there are hundreds of other properties in Category 5 and below.
SPG Points Required: 90,000+ / Retail Value: 4.2 cents
3. Etihad First Class with Asiana Club
Etihad First Class, especially on the Airbus A380 aircraft, is one of the best commercial airline experiences in the world. It’s at least 3 times the size of a business class seat, and one of the few times I wish the flight was longer. The cheapest way to redeem for this flight is with Asiana Club miles, an SPG airline transfer partner.
If you love First Class flights, this redemption might be one of the cheapest because getting both the SPG Personal American Express and SPG Business American Express gives you enough miles to book Abu Dhabi to London on Etihad First. Departing from the Middle East, a one-way First Class award to Europe is only 40,000 miles (35,000 SPG), and one-way First Class to North America is only 80,000 miles (65,000 SPG).
A one-way ticket from Abu Dhabi to Europe runs at $7,132, which is an absolutely stunning value. For more information on how to book, see my guide about Booking Etihad First Class with Asiana Club.
SPG Points Required: 35,000+ / Retail Value 20.3 cents
4. Emirates First Class with Japan Airlines JMB
While Etihad First Class is by far a more sophisticated product, Emirates First Class has great name recognition. Even a lot of non-travel friends I have know about the Emirates Shower Spa on the A380. In my experience, these flights make for very stellar Instagram pics.
The cheapest way to book Emirates First Class is with Japan Airlines Miles. Their award chart is distance-based, so a journey between 10,000-12,000 miles, such as New York – Dubai – Delhi, is 85,000 SPG points (105,000 JAL Miles) in First Class. With the retail price of this ticket running over $10,000, you can get a huge return on your miles. To book, see my guide on Booking Emirates with JAL Miles.
SPG Points Required: 105,000 / Retail Value: 9.5 cents
Two other great SPG redemptions I would bring up are Category 1 Redemptions, which start at just 2,000 points on weekends. Some of these properties can still run up to $100 a night, so even with “cheap” redemptions you can still get more than 4 cents in value per mile.
The other airline transfer partner I would recommend is Alaska MileagePlan, which has a great number of international airline partners with fantastic rates. For just 50,000 miles, you can fly Cathay Pacific Business Class to Asia with a stopover in Hong Kong. That’s cheaper by most normal redemptions by at least 30% (e.g. Aeroplan 75,000+ miles one-way).
The SPG Personal American Express and SPG Business American Express earn valuable points towards these fantastic redemptions. By obtaining both cards and completing the minimum spend, you will earn 53,000 SPG Points. That’ll let you do some of these redemptions and gets you pretty close to the others. To get enough points for the other redemptions, you can always top up your balance with Membership Rewards at a 2:1 ratio. These cards earn Membership Rewards points:
- American Express Business Platinum Card: Get up to 75,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Business Gold Card: Get up to 40,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Platinum Card: Get up to 60,000 Membership Reward Points!
- American Express Gold Rewards Card: Get up to 30,000 Membership Rewards Points!