The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotel family includes the brands Sheraton, Le Meridien, W, Four Points, St. Regis, Westin, Luxury Collection, and Aloft. Starwood points are the most valuable hotel points because their low-level hotel redemptions start at 3,000 points/night, their “cash+points” redemptions are a great value, and points are transferable to airline partners at an awesome 4:5 ratio (or 2:5, in the case of LAN airlines, as you can see below).
Special deals: SPG points are firstly valuable for redemptions at lower-tier Starwood hotels. For example, it is not uncommon to find a category 2 hotel, bookable at 4,000 SPG points/night, which would normally cost $150+ nightly. The “cash+points” option for this same room would be $30+1,600 points. These are fantastic values! In most major cities I have been, I have been able to find and take advantage of these cheap category 1, 2, and 3 hotels.
The other best use of Starwood points is transfer to SPG airline partner programs. Many airlines accept SPG point transfers at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer 20,000 points, which ends up being a 4:5 ratio transfer. The full list can be seen here, but here are a few key programs: Air Canada, Alaska, AAdvantage, British Airways, Delta, Hawaiian, US Airways. Amazingly, LAN miles can be transferred at a 1:2 ratio, or 20,000 to 50,000(with the doubled bonus). I haven’t done this, but it can have serious value, as described by Jared at Online Travel Review (link).