Are Starwood Nights & Flights Packages A Good Deal?

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Starpoints are extremely valuable due to how versatile they are — they can efficiently be redeemed for hotel stays, and also for airline mileage transfers. A couple of days ago I wrote about the value of converting Starpoints into airline miles, which is one of the best uses of those points, in my opinion.

But there’s another redemption option which is worth talking about, which is basically a hybrid between redeeming Starpoints for hotel stays and converting them into hotel points — it’s called Nights & Flights.

How does SPG Nights & Flights work?

Nights & Flights lets you book a five night hotel stay and also transfer 50,000 airline miles to one of Starwood’s airline partners at a fixed cost.

Starwood-Nights-Flights

This is only valid at Category 3 and 4 Starwood hotels, and only for airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio from Starwood (which includes all airline partners other than Air New Zealand, LAN, and United):

  • 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, meaning the same availability is required as for a Free Night award. 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.

Singapore-A380
Transfer Starpoints to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to redeem for a Suites Class award

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 credit of 20,000 Starpoints for a Category 3 property and 30,000 Starpoints for a Category 4 property.

Why is this a good deal?

You usually receive 5,000 bonus points when transferring 20,000 Starpoints to an airline partner.

For hotel redemptions, keep in mind that the fifth night of an award stay is always free with SPG. That means the free nights alone would cost the following number of Starpoints:

  • Five nights at a Category 3 would require 28,000 Starpoints
  • Five nights at a Category 4 would require 40,000 Starpoints

Starwood-Hotel-Categories

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 Starpoints to an airline partner, you’d pay 68,000 Starpoints.

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

Le-Meridien-Mauritius
Le Meridien Mauritius is a Category 3 SPG property

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 Starpoints to an airline partner, you’d pay 80,000 starpoints.

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

St-Regis-Chengdu
The St. Regis Chengdu is a Category 4 SPG property

What hotels are eligible for Nights & Flights?

Nights & Flights is only valid at Category 3-4 hotels, so obviously this only makes sense if you want to spend five nights at one of those properties. For a list of eligible properties, see Starwood’s category listings:

Altogether there are nearly 700 Starwood properties around the world in the above two categories.

There are definitely some popular options on these lists. For example, for Category 4 hotels you have the Walt Disney World Dolphin (great for family vacations to Orlando), the Palacio del Inka and Hotel Paracas in Peru (which I’ve heard great things about), the Sheratons and Westins in Berlin and Munich, and many more.

Palacio-Del-Inka
Palacio del Inka in Cusco, Peru

Aren’t Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages a better value?

Starwood is in the process of merging with Marriott, which leaves a lot of questions for members of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards. A lot of people are trying to decide when to redeem points, because both programs have their respective strengths.

One great use of Marriott points is their Hotel + Air Packages, where you can redeem points for a combination of free nights and airline miles. There are pros and cons to these redemptions.

The biggest benefit is that you can redeem for all categories of hotels, so it’s good for someone who wants to book a stay at a high tier property. The value is also great, even better than Starwood in terms of the number of points you can save. For example, here are the rates for some of their airline partners (keep in mind that on a per point basis, Marriott Rewards points are worth significantly less than Starpoints):

Marriott-Hotel-Air-Packages

The catch is that you can only redeem in seven night increments, which is even longer than Starwood’s five night packages. If you’re not someone who likes staying in one place for a long time, this option isn’t great for you.

Still, all things considered I do think Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages are a better value than Starwood’s Nights & Flights packages.

But there’s not really a point in comparing them yet, since we don’t yet know when or at what rate Starpoints will convert into Marriott Rewards points (or if they will at all, given the competing bid).

Bottom line

Starwood’s Nights & Flights packages can represent a great value, assuming you’re otherwise considering staying at a Category 3-4 property. I do wish they expanded it to more categories of properties.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to redeem one of these packages if it doesn’t otherwise meet your requirements, but there’s value to be had for sure.

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

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Comments

  1. Having stayed at the Palacio del Inka I can vouch that it is a great hotel in a wonderful part of Cusco. I would however avoid this hotel for one reason, it has no air conditioning. While it doesn’t get super hot in Cusco, the lack of air conditioning and therefore airflow made the room very stuffy and uncomfortable even when it was in the 60s outside. Just a heads up!

  2. Marriott has 5-night + flight packages as well. They aren’t advertised online, but several blogs have confirmed that you can book them by calling.

  3. Another warning for palacio,
    Amex still codes it as Hotel Libratador. Got jiffed since I didn’t get bonus points by using my SPG Amex,

  4. Anyone know if the points would trigger the current Aeroplan transfer bonus to net an additional 10,000 points?

  5. seth – check out the T&C. Let’s say you book a category 3 + 50,000 airlines miles for 60,000 SPG points. Then you cancel the hotel booking. SPG will give you back 20,000 points (while the airline miles transfer is not reversed). That means that those 50,000 airline miles are the equivalent of 40,000 SPG points plus 10,000 transfer bonus points.

    T&C: https://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/account/starpoints/redeem/allOptions.html#roomsNightsAndFlights

  6. Also, you can obtain SPG’s Nights & Flights with only two credit cards vs. Marriott’s minimum of 200k miles for Nights & Flights redemption and max of 80k bonus points/card. Purchasing 40k Marriott points will cost you $500

  7. Ali, yes, but nights and flights is best if you’re going to get to the 250k/270k level. The advantage is that you are converting Marriott points (worth perhaps .6-.7 cents to airline points worth at least double that. The more you transfer, the better the deal. My 120k transfer to SW will occur Jan 1. I get $1,800 worth of SW points + a 2 year companion pass, if the rules don’t change. I doubt if I will use all 7 nights somewhere, but it’s still a great deal.

  8. @Ali – Actually, with the additional authorized user bonus (7.5k) and minimum spend (3k), you can get 5 nights + 70k miles from two Marriott cards (180k points). You just have to call and ask about the 5-night packages not advertised online.

  9. Harold – if you’re going for companion pass then yes it is a great way to obtain if you can find a decent category 5.

    tda – I’ve read mixed reviews on obtaining the 5-night packages with some able and others being told it is reserved for Marriott vacation owners. If you are able to obtain then the question is what is the comparability between categories at SPG vs Marriott.

    I have stayed at Marriott’s exclusively last year in earning for the Marriott Nights & Flights, but recently switched to SPG. My reasoning is that we’ll get something better than 1 for 1 SPG to Marriott points when the acquisition goes through. Since I would be getting the same 5 points/dollar with either cc at brand, I would ultimately get a better return in Marriott points. All of this is predicated upon successful merger. We’ll see if the recent bid derails talks.

  10. I’ve never been able to redeem for these, because for international you have to redeem at least 30 days before your hotel stay (domestic is 14 days). I’m seldom able to plan that far in advance.

  11. Can you transfer to Southwest and it count towards the companion pass using star wood flights and night I know it works with Marriott but star wood …?

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