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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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):
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).
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?