Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

Month: March 2014

How to Transfer Starwood Preferred Guest Points to Your Spouse

We’re currently working on a hotel points 101 blog, similar to the nuts and bolts post we did on airline frequent flyer programs last month. But before that, we thought we’d share a little simple trick that we recently used for a room reservation for an upcoming trip to Hong Kong.

We really like Starwood hotels, and we REALLY love their loyalty program. You may already know that hotels, similar to airline alliances, allow you to earn and redeem points at multiple properties, with one currency. For example, earning Hilton HHonors points doesn’t just limit you to Hilton properties; you can also use those points for redemption at anything from a Waldorf Astoria to a DoubleTree! So it also goes with Starwood. Starwood Preferred Guest points can be used at Four Points, Sheraton, aloft, W Hotels, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, element, Westin, and St. Regis hotels and resorts.

Starwood is also generous in other ways, as you can transfer your points to airline miles at a 1:1 ratio with 28 airline frequent flyer programs, and with four other airline programs at different ratios. But here is where it gets really good: Once you earn 20,000 points and decide to transfer that, Starwood pitches in a bonus 5,000 points. So 20,000 points isn’t just 20,000 AAdvantage miles, it’s now 25,000!

But all this is pretty well known by folks who have a Starwood Preferred Guest account. What isn’t always well known is this: you can transfer your points, at no charge, to people registered at the same address as you. Usually if you try and transfer hotel points or airline miles from one account to another, you pay a pretty hefty fee. Not with Starwood. Simply make sure each account is registered at the same address for at least 30 days, and then initiate the process through the steps we’ve outlined below. Once you transfer the points, note that it takes up to five business days to complete.

So why is this beneficial? Let’s say you and your partner both travel separately. Or you and a parent or you and whoever the heck would be willing to share points with you both travel. You each gain points on your individual trips and when it comes vacation time, neither of you have enough for a room redemption. What to do? This is what happened to Laura and I as we began booking rooms for Hong Kong this December. I only had 945 points, but I am a Starwood Gold Member, so with my elite status, I can get us perks like late checkout at 4pm, potential upgrades, and more. Laura had the remaining points we needed for a 16,000 point redemption. So we transferred Laura’s points to my account so that we could utilize my elite status on the room reservation.

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a similar position, we’ve taken screenshots below to show you step by step how to go about making a transfer, from the membership page.

How to transfer Starwood Preferred Guests Points to Someone at the Same Address as You

First things first, go to www.starwood.com

Starwood Preferred Guest Points

Once at the SPG membership homepage, scroll down and on the right, click “redeem/transfer points”

SPG Membership HomePage

Now, scroll to the bottom of this page until you find “transfer to another member” and click on that.

Transfer Points SPG Screen

Finally, you’re in the homestretch! Enter the SPG Member # you want to transfer to and the number of points you want to transfer. Remember, it can take up to five business days to transfer.

Transfer SPG Points to a Friend or Loved One

And you’re all set! Again, if you have two people under one roof traveling, SPG becomes a great option for the transfer flexibility, something you won’t find in many other places! If you found this blog helpful, don’t forget to join us on Twitter and Facebook, or just sign up on the right hand side of this screen to receive email or RSS updates!

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Lessons Learned from a Volcano

In our first post, we talked about how the idea for this blog came around. We were on a day-long hike up and over a volcano in New Zealand, when we first started to envision a blog that focuses on what we love to do the most. But lest you think that we are accomplished hikers, who easily scamper up and down formidable pieces of nature while deep in conversation without a bat of an eye, I’m going to share with you what was happening that day when we weren’t talking about the blog.

I hadn’t really asked Patrick if he wanted to do this day-long hike. I just slid it into the itinerary when he wasn’t looking, and then we promptly forgot about it until we were actually driving to the national park. In hindsight, I should have done a bit more research. As we drove from Lake Taupo to Tongariro National Park, all of the trappings of civilization fell away, and we saw the volcano in the distance growing nearer and nearer. About 20 minutes away from the lodge, we realized that we might need food…or else we would be stuck paying the outrageous hotel restaurant prices. $30 for a pasta dish? No thank you.

When we returned to the hotel with our spoils from the closest gas station (20 miles away), we ran into the final group of hikers returning from the day’s trek. These slackers, who were returning 12 hours after departing that morning didn’t quite seem like slackers. They grasped onto their hiking poles as they hopped out of the van, with calves the size of my head, and they talked about how tough it was on their knees to go downhill for such a long time. We listened sympathetically, and absorbed none of what they were saying.

We awoke the next morning at 5:30am to whip up a quick breakfast and to prep for the hike. Patrick was ready in no time. I struggled out the door, throwing on my warmest long sleeve, sneakers untied, and hopped onto the van. The other 15 people in the van stared at us as we drove away…five minutes late. As we settled into our seats, and started to look around, we realized that we appeared a little different. Everyone else had hiking boots, walking sticks, waterproof pants and jackets…we had on sneakers, some basic running gear…your typical “urban walk in the park” outfits.DSC00795

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Frequent Flyer 101

In December of 2013, Laura and I traveled to New Zealand in style: our seat turned into a bed. This was a follow up to an epic OneWorld Explorer trip we did back in 2012, that took us from Los Angeles to Honolulu to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Bali to Bangkok (where we then took trains through Thailand, Malaysia, and ended in Singapore) before flying back to LAX. And all of it was done flying in business class, for less than $300…You still with me?dafc7afe3e4a11e38ab422000aa80430_8

So how do you do this? Two ways: be filthy rich, OR take a serious look at earning miles. There are a ton of ways to earn miles. There is the classic butt-in-seat miles approach (flying), credit card bonuses (jackpot), and even getting miles for doing nothing more than eating at your favorite pizza place (every mile counts). We’ll hit all of these in posts over the next few weeks.

But to get anywhere, you’ve got to have a frequent flyer account. Like. Right. Now. So this post is for the beginners of beginners. Not sure where to start? We’ll do our best to avoid the jargon and complexities and will cut right to the point.

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