Updated on October 20, 2015
How to Prevent your SPG Points from Expiring
Starpoints (SPG points) are the most valuable hotel loyalty currency available. There are so many easy ways to keep your points alive that you will not have any excuses. Below are the best ways to make sure your points don't expire! While Hilton, IHG, Hyatt, and Marriott have gone through massive devaluations the past decade, SPG points have remained relatively unchanged and maintaining their high value.
Do Starwood Points “Starpoints” Expire? When?
Yes. If your SPG Membership is not “active” during a 12 month period, you can lose all your SPG points. According to the Starwood Website, your account is considered “Inactive” if during a 12 month period:
- you did not have an eligible stay at an SPG Participating Hotel
- you did not earn*, redeem, purchase, or transfer any Starpoints, or
- your account has been cancelled
*”earn or redeem” means any points posting to or being removed, transferred, or redeemed from an SPG account
Ways to Prevent SPG Starpoints from Expiring
Here are the many ways to prevent your SPG points from expiring, ranked top-down
1) Stay organized for free with AwardWallet.com
Stop using a notepad or a spreadsheet. AwardWallet is free and will keep track of everything for you. It helps me stay sane by tracking >100 account balances for me and my family. More importantly, it reminds me when I have points expiring.
2) Get a SPG American Express Card
As long as you spend $1 or more every 12 months on your SPG Amex credit card, your SPG account will continue being active.
While the 30K signup offer has now ended, you can still apply for the 25K signup offer. Keep in mind Amex issues both the personal and the business version of the SPG Amex card, so you can to alternate between the cards each year. Start off with the business version since you can re-qualify for the signup bonus after 12 months from cancellation date. The bonus on the personal card is only once per lifetime, but that doesn't stop you from getting the card again (without bonus).
3) Transfer SPG Points to an Airline
Check out the full list of SPG Airline Partners. SPG Platinum members can transfer a minimum of only 1 SPG point. Gold members have a minimum transfer of 1.5K SPG points and regular SPG members have a minimum transfer of 2.5k SPG points. Keep in mind the transfer times may take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks, or in one instance, a whopping 30 days!
4) Transfer Amex Membership Reward Points to SPG
Amex will give you a poor 3:1 transfer rate when transferring MR points to SPG points. If you are desperate, transfer the minimum 1,000 MR points to earn 333 SPG points and party on for another 12 months. Transfers are instant!
5) Redeem SPG Points for Merchandise, Gift Cards, Transportation, and other Partnerships
Check out the full list of merchants and partnerships. Generally speaking, using SPG points for anything but hotels or airline transfers is not good use. However, if you are able to find some cheap merchandise, it may be worth it to keep your SPG points active.
6) Redeem SPG Points for a Hotel Stay
This better be the the main reason why you are hoarding all those Starpoints – for hotel redemptions! Simply book a hotel stay, either full points or cash and points, and extend your point balance another 12 months. Points get deducted at the time of booking and not at the time of stay – do this only if you or friends and family actually plan to stay at a hotel. I am not 100% sure what happens if you cancel the reservation past the theoretical 12 month expiration mark.
7) Use Uber, Get SPG Points
Link your Uber account with your SPG account and earn SPG points each time you take an Uber ride. I have even been getting SPG points when I use a free ride credit! If you take Uber rides, this is a no-brainer.
8) Transfer SPG Points from 1 Account to Another
Be careful with this one! The last thing you want is an SPG account audit because of many or repetitive transfers between accounts. Starwood allows transfers between two SPG accounts so long as the address on file matches. If you change your address on file and request a points transfer within 30 days, they will request support for the new address. If you wait past 30 days, no questions asked! So in theory, if you have 2 separate SPG accounts that are about to go inactive, you can transfer points from 1 account to the other and keep both active for another 12 months.
9) Dine at an SPG Restaurant or Bar
Even if you are not staying at the hotel, you can earn points by dining or drinking at a Starwood restaurant or bar. Make sure you provide your SPG account number when you ask for the check. The last time I did this, I had to take the receipt to the front desk as I was leaving to get my points. The process took about 5 minutes. See the participating SPG restaurants and bars as well as discounts available to SPG members.
10) Audience Rewards
Buy Broadway shows tickets and earn SPG points. You can pay with cash (and earn points), full points, or a combination of cash and points.
11) Donate Points To Charity
Donate points to Clean The World, The American Red Cross, or unicef (The United Nations Children's Fund). You won't get a tax deduction but you'll sleep better knowing you've helped make the world a better place.
12) Fly with Delta
SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta Flights. I recommend everyone link their accounts anyway so you don't have to worry about it in the future. Plus, if you are SPG Platinum, you'll get Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Free upgrades (you'll be at the bottom of the upgrade list, but still on the list), and first checked bag free.
13) Book a Paid SPG Hotel
This one is obvious so it's ranked towards the bottom of the list. I would imagine most people who have soon-expiring points do not have any hotel stays planned.
14) Purchase Starpoints
I don't like recommending purchasing points unless there is a huge bonus. See this link for instructions on how to purchase SPG points.
My Account Has Expired. How Do I Reactivate It?
Accounts may be reactived by calling customer service or when a hotel transaction is posted to your account.