With the boom of applying for AmEx SPG, I would like to talk about the SPG point system. Just like the Chase Ultimate Rewards serial, we still discuss it in two parts – how to earn and how to use. In this post we mainly discuss how to earn the SPG Starpoints, and in the next post we will mainly discuss how to use them.
1. Credit cards
For Americans, SPG’s co-branded credit card AmEx SPG is the primary source of SPG points. This card has two editions, Personal and Small Business.
Generally, the sign-up bonus of AmEx SPG is 25k Starpoints. However, this bonus will be rise to as much as 30k for about a month each year. Given that Amex won’t match offer, it’s better to apply for it during the period of 30k offer. For Personal edition, each person can only take the sign-up bonus once in a lifetime, while you can take the bonus every 12 months for Small Business edition.
Besides the public offer every year, we can get the 30k offer by making a dummy booking. The idea is simple: First, register a SPG account, then go to book a room at official website of SPG. After selecting a room, you will be transferred to a page requiring your personal information and credit card information. Now you should click the “Review Your Reservation” button. at the followed page, there must be an ad encouraging you to apply for SPG co-branded credit card, just like this:
If you see this, you can click “APPLY NOW” to apply for it. And you don’t need to pay for the previous booking, for you didn’t click “reserve”.
If the ad you see is not the 30k offer, don’t get discouraged, because most of us will still only find 25k offer by dummy booking. You can try again later or just wait for the public offer of 30k.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, you can also earn point by referring friends, like Chase Freedom and CSP. For each approved referral you could earn a referral bonus of 5000 Starpoints. This way, you can get 55000 points each year at most. Together with sign-up bonus, it’s really a considerable number. As now is the 30k offer time, shouldn’t you be convincing your friends in?
Those two editions of SPG card is roughly the same for daily spending: 2 points for every dollar spent at SPG, and 1 points for every dollar of other spending. Compared with other cards, earning SPG points is rather harder and slower.
And you might hesitate to keep the credit card because there will be an annual fee from the second year. It’s worth mentioning that you can get extra points once before canceling the card. You can call the customer service (the phone number is printed on the back of that card), show that you are hesitating to keep the credit card, and ask if there are some retention offer to change your mind. If any, they are always willing to provide it for you. There might be several options, like give you some points directly, or after you spend some more money. If there are nothing attractive or worth keeping the card, just cancel it. I’ve heard that by doing this somebody got 7k points which is roughly the same as the annual fee.
- earned by normal spending at SPG hotels
- Promotion Offer
- Best Rate Guarantee
- Compensation for complaints
Earning points by spending at SPG hotel is an approach everybody knows. For members of SPG, Preferred Plus can earn 2 points for every dollar spent at SPG, and Gold and Platinum will get 3 points.
This is much less than other hotels (5 or even 10 points for every dollar). But if you are always on a business trip, you can also get pretty much points with a year’s hotel spending.
Notably, in SPG, you can get the points earned by up to 3 rooms during the same period, including: Points, Nights and Stays. E.g., I booked 3 rooms from 8.31 to 9.2 (totally 2 nights) at SPG, and the cost of each night/room is $100. As a Preferred Plus membership, I can earn 100*2*2*3=1200 points together with 3 Stays and 6 Nights by doing this. Thus, if you live in SPG with friends, remember to put the rooms in your name. However, check-in of hotel at some states or countries are rather strict. For example, in China, you need to check in by yourself, and pay the room rate all by your own cards or cash to get all your points (I wish I did — it can also earn me some points).
Notably, you can earn the points only by booking at the official website. Bookings at third-party websites, like Priceline and Booking, are not eligible to earn points.
Although earning points by spending at SPG hotel is rather slow, you can always get kinds of Promotions from SPG. That’s awesome for earning points fast. As for me, I have got several offers as follows since registered at SPG this year:
- New Member Exclusive: Earn 2500 points on the first eligible stay and 5000 points for the second eligible stay within a specified period.
- Make it count: Earn1000 points for every two-night weekend stay before 8.31
- Amex Cardmember Exclusive: Earn 1000 points for a two-night stay between 7.30 to 8.30 (only once)
So far I have accomplished the first two promotions and earned 8500 bonus points in total. That’s far faster than just spending and using card. There are always many promotion offers, not only bonus points, but also bonus nights (Previously, there was an awesome offer give you 2 bonus nights for 2 stays). You can always check your mailbox to get the latest offer. But remember not to stay just for points, or you may waste money in SPG.
Then the Best Rate Guarantee (BRG). If you find an open price at some third-party websites lower than SPG’s official website while or within 24 hours after booking at official website, you can submit a BRG form to require SPG to match you a better price. Generally speaking, to encourage customers to booking at official website, SPG will give you some extra bonus after a successful BRG, like extra 20% off of room rate, or extra 2000 points for that stay.
That’s why I recommend you to book room at official website: you can not only eligible stays and points, even if there a lower price at other websites, you can get that price directly and also some extra bonus by BRG. As for the selection between extra 20% off or extra 2000 points, you can make a simple comparison: the value of 2000 points is approximately $40 to $50, if 20% off worth more money, choose 20% off, or choose 2000. After all, it’s all up to you.
If you’re not satisfied with the accommodation during the stay at hotel, like towels are dirty, air-conditioner don’t work or no hot water or so, remember to complain at reception or online. This will not only ensure your proper rights at hotel, but also always win you some bonus points from SPG. Of course, nothing is too extreme if you really had a hard time while staying at hotel. And let’s despise those who twist everything around just for points, points, points.
3. Other Ways
In addition to credit card and hotels, we can earn SPG points through its cooperation with some other companies:
- Cooperation between Delta, Emirates and SPG
- Cooperation between Uber and SPG
- Buy points immediately
SPG has two joint projects called with Delta, and World Rewards with Emirates. Every dollar spent for flight of DL or EK will earn you 1 SPG points. And you can also earn 1 DL/EK mile for every dollar spent at SPG hotel (you can only choose one for every stay beforehand). Don’t forget this if you will take those two airlines.
Similarly, SPG has cooperation with Uber. After registration by clicking here, every dollar’s spending at Uber will earn you 1 SPG points. And you can also earn 1 to 3 points (up to level of your SPG membership) for using uber while at SPG hotel.
The last one is BUY points immediately. You can buy points from SPG’s official website by paying 3.5 cents per point. You should buy 500 points at least and 20000 points at most every time. There might be some discount sometimes. Generally, one should buy points only when s/he has an urgent need for some points. But it’s all up to you.