SPG Nights And Flights

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Starwood Preferred Guest has an interesting redemption option called “Nights & Flights,” and while I’ve touched on the value a few times, I don’t think I’ve ever written about the program in detail.

SPG-Nights-Flights

How does SPG Nights & Flights work?

Effectively, Nights & Flights is a discount on five night hotel award stays, combined with a transfer bonus to an airline partner. This is only valid at Category 3 and 4 Starwood hotels, and only with airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio.

  • 60,000 SPG points can be exchanged for five nights at a Category 3 and 50,000 airline miles
  • 70,000 SPG points can be exchanged for five nights at a Category 4 and 50,000 airline miles

Nights & Flights awards can only be booked over the phone, and the hotel you’re interested in has to have standard rooms available over your dates. The Starwood agent will book your hotel room for you, and will then manually initiate the airline transfer. You must book 14 days in advance if you’re transferring to a US airline, and 30 days in advance for international airlines.

It’s worth noting that award availability doesn’t have to be available with your airline partner. You can transfer points to an airline and use them for an award down the road, if you prefer.

However, the transfer cannot be reversed. If you cancel your hotel stay, you will receive a refund of the points used for the hotel stay, but NOT the points transferred to the airline. So you’ll only receive a Starpoint credit of 20,000 for a Category 3 and 30,000 for a Category 4.

Why is this a good deal?

Let’s break down the math.

Typically, you receive a 20% transfer bonus when moving 20,000 point increments to an airline partner. 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points becomes 25,000 airline miles; 40,000 becomes 50,000, etc., provided the airline is a 1:1 transfer partner (and most are).

For hotel redemptions, keep in mind that the fifth night of an award stay is always free with SPG.

  • So five nights at a Category 3 would require 28,000 Starpoints
  • And five nights at a Category 4 would require 40,000 Starpoints

Those are already good values on their own, but through SPG Nights & Flights you save even more.

For a Category 3 property, a Nights & Flights award costs 60,000 SPG points. If you were to book a five night award stay and transfer 40,000 points to an airline partner (before the 20% bonus), you’d pay 68,000 starpoints.

Nights & Flights saves 8,000 Starpoints in this case.

For a Category 4 property, a Nights & Flights award costs 70,000 SPG points. If you were to book a five night award stay and transfer 40,000 points to an airline partner (before the 20% bonus), you’d pay 80,000 starpoints.

Nights & Flights saves 10,000 Starpoints in this case.

What hotels should I stay at?

The Category 4 hotels are the better value, and there are a few properties in particular that I think seem interesting for a longer stay, or that I’ve had good experiences at:

For Category 3 hotels, my struggle is that the rack rates are often so inexpensive it doesn’t seem worthwhile to redeem points. I’ve had surprisingly good stays at a few of them, though five nights seems a long time to spend at most of the hotels in this category:

Le-Meridien-Cairo-Airport-64
With the exception of the Le Merdien Cairo Airport, of course, because I could live there.

And there are also a ton of hotels in the US that might be valuable in some situations, so it’s worth checking out the full lists:

This is of course a great use of points earned through the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Each offers a 25,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 within six months, so if you get both cards and complete the minimum spend you’d have 60,000 Starpoints, which is enough for a Category 3 Nights & Flights package.

Bottom line

In general, this is only something I’d do if you were already looking at staying at one of the included hotels, or were already planning on transferring points to an airline partner.

In those situations, this can be a great way to stretch your SPG free nights.

Has anyone redeemed for Nights & Flights before? Where did you stay?  

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I have booked a nights and flights redemption for the end of January. We will be flying from ANC to MCO rt on Alaska and staying five nights at the Swan. It’ll be great to get away from Alaska in the coldest part of winter and hang out in sunny Florida. All it took was two credit card apps and a bit of patience. The first two Starwood employees I talked to did not know what nights and flights was. I had to describe it to them and direct them to the right place.

  2. SPG needs to add a cat. 5 redemption as most hotels have moved up a cat. (I find this redemption is only good only good value for hotels in Asia & South Africa)

  3. can you upgrade a nights and flights booking to suites if available as one could a regular award reservation (and pay the difference)?

  4. @ avi — You’re talking about the hotel stay? No, you have to book a standard room, though you can use suite night awards to upgrade, for example.

  5. Hi lucky i dont really get it, so for example i’m interested in staying at westin seattle which will require me to redeem 40.000 points for 5 nights stay, but using this program itd require me to redeem 70000 spg points? So theres 30000 difference?

  6. My husband and I used Nights and Flights for a stay at Hotel Elephant, Weimar Germany this summer.
    Thought we got a great value. We were upgraded to a junior suite even though we have no status with SPG. The hotel is very nice with a great location right on the town square. Weimar has short train connections to some other nice places to explore. We didn’t see any other american tourists while there, although plenty of Germans tour this area. Highly recommend.

  7. @ Lucky — I believe your math is correct everywhere but the bonus percentage is actually 25 🙂

    P.S. Given that SQ KF is a partner with Amex MR and Chase UR, I’d consider Lufthansa Miles & More instead, especially if you want to book LH F in advance. I believe SPG is the only program that can transfer into M&M.

  8. Hello Lucky,

    A little confused about something. I contacted an SPG agent and she said the 50,000 miles that gets deposited into your airlines’ account has to be used during the same days as your 5-night stay otherwise they will rescind the miles, is this true? How can they just take miles back after it’s been deposited into your account? I thought I could do a 5-night stay at a cat 3 for 60K and just hold on to the 50K miles for a rainy day while I use a different set of miles for my flight to get to the destination, but they’re saying I have to use the 50K miles otherwise they’ll take it back. Could you advise? 🙂

  9. @ Brandon — Definitely not true. Once the miles are in your frequent flyer account, you can use them whenever/however you’d like.

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