Aug142012

SPG Points-to-Miles 31 Airline Partners

SPG points-to-miles transfer rate is what draws many consumers to Starwood hotels and the SPG American Express credit card. There are currently 31 airline partners participating in SPG points-to-miles transfers.

China Eastern and Etihad Airways are two new airline partners in 2012 participating in SPG points-to-miles transfers.

31 SPG points-to-miles transfers participating airlines

  1. Aeroplan – Air Canada
  2. Air Berlin
  3. Air China
  4. Air New Zealand – Air Points (65 Starpoints = 1 Air Point)
  5. Alaska Airlines
  6. Alitalia
  7. All Nippon Airways ANA
  8. American Airlines
  9. Asia Miles – Cathay Pacific
  10. Asiana Airlines
  11. British Airways
  12. China Eastern
  13. China Southern
  14. Delta
  15. Emirates
  16. Etihad
  17. Flying Blue – Air France/KLM
  18. Hawaiian Airlines
  19. Japan Airlines
  20. Kingfisher – King Club
  21. LAN – LANPass (1 Starpoint = 2 miles)
  22. Mexican Frecuenta
  23. Miles & More (Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, LOT Polish)
  24. Qatar Airways
  25. Saudi Arabian Airlines
  26. Singapore Airlines
  27. Thai Airways
  28. US Airways
  29. United Airlines (2 Starpoints = 1 mile)
  30. Varig (2 Starpoints = 1 mile)
  31. Virgin Atlantic

 

Of the 31 SPG points-to-miles airlines,

  • 27 airlines exchange at rate 1 Starpoint = 1 mile.
  • LANPass 1 Starpoint = 2km. LanPass (Chile) uses kilometers and this exchange rate is even more favorable than 1 point =1 mile.
  • United Airlines and Varig Smiles have unfavorable exchange rates with SPG transfers at 2 Starpoints = 1 mile.
  • Air New Zealand is 65 Starpoints = 1 mile exchange rate.
  • SPG Airline Direct Deposit is the better earning option if you want to earn United, Southwest Airlines, Air New Zealand, Varig, El Al, or Iberia miles/points.

Earning 1 Starpoint for every $1 on all non-hotel spend categories with the SPG American Express credit card means you can earn 1 mile per dollar in credit card charges with 28 different airlines.

The rate improves when you transfer 20,000 points and get 25% more miles. At the 20,000 points transfer level the SPG member receives 25,000 miles with most airline partners.

The drawback to the SPG points-to-miles transfer bonus is that it only applies to a block of 20,000 points to get the 25% bonus.

20,000 Starpoints is Sweet Spot with SPG Points-to-Miles Transfers

  • 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 miles.
  • 39,000 Starpoints = 44,000 miles.
  • 40,000 Starpoints = 50,000 miles.
  • 55,000 Starpoints = 65,000 miles.
  • 60,000 Starpoints = 75,000 miles.

The opportunity to earn Starpoints with the SPG American Express credit card at the rate of 1.25 miles per $1 in spend is a decent credit card rebate when you transfer points in 20,000 points blocks. The real value though is the option to transfer those points into frequent flyer miles with any of 31 airlines. There can be real value in Starpoints when you want a miles upgrade or award with a variety of airline choices.

Reality Check

Transferring Starpoints to frequent flyer miles is primarily a selling point for big credit card spenders. $20,000 in credit card spend to earn 20,000 points is a threshold I have probably hit twice in 13 years of having the SPG Amex card. I have earned more than 90% of my Starpoints, perhaps 500,000 points over the past decade staying at Starwood Hotels. Earning Starpoints from my SPG American Express credit card spend is negligible earning for me.

No Minimum Points Transfer SPG Platinum Benefit 

The most useful feature of SPG points-to-miles transfers over the years for me has been the option as an SPG Platinum member to transfer as few as 1 Starpoint to an airline miles program to receive a partner activity promotion bonus with a frequent flyer program.

I think I earned over 10,000 Northwest miles transferring just a few Starpoints into Northwest WorldPerks to qualify for bonus miles.

Minimum Points-to-Miles Transfer Requirement for SPG Members

  • SPG base member = 2,500 points
  • SPG Gold Elite = 1,500 points
  • SPG Platinum elite = no minimum transfer requirement
  • only one transfer transaction is allowed per 24 hour period.

Earning Miles instead of Starpoints with Airline Direct Deposit

Etihad Airways as a new SPG airline partner has a promotion for bonus miles with Starwood Hotel stays when the member has chosen Etihad miles with SPG Airline Direct Deposit.

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For a limited time, Etihad Guest Members receive bonus Etihad Guest Miles for each stay, based on the room booked in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • Earn double Etihad Guest Miles on standard rooms.
  • Earn triple Ethad Guest Miles on superior rooms.
  • Earn 3,000 bonus Etihad Guest Miles on suites.

To receive your bonus Etihad Guest Miles, select Etihad Guest Miles as your earning currency of choice.

Offer is valid for booking until 31 August 2012. Packages are valid until 31 December 2012. Etihad Guest and other airlines Earn Your Dreams T&C. This deal applies to other airlines too and the booking date is listed as Dec 31, 2012 in the generic SPG Earn Your Dreamswebpage.

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SPG Airline Direct Deposit for United Mileage Plus, Air New Zealand, El Al, Iberia and Southwest Airlines.

SPG points-to-miles transfers are not a good exchange rate for United or Air New Zealand.

Southwest Airlines, El Al and Iberia do not even participate in the SPG points-to-miles transfer program.

SPG Airline Direct Deposit allows a SPG member to earn Starpoints at the normal rate including promotion bonuses and these Starpoints are automatically converted into airline miles at a 1:1 exchange rate.

An SPG member enrolled in SPG’s Airline Direct Deposit for United Mileage Plus who stays at Starwood Hotels and earns 20,000 points through stays and promotion bonuses will earn 20,000 UA Mileage Plus frequent flyer miles. This is a far better option for earning UA miles as an SPG member than the 12,500 UA Mileage Plus miles for 20,000 Starpoints through the SPG points-to-miles option.

SPG Airline Direct Deposit Terms

Base members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program will earn 2 Starpoints for every eligible US$1 spent and elite members will earn 3 Starpoints for every eligible US$1 spent. All Starpoints will convert to miles at a 1:1 ratio unless otherwise noted as an exception. The exceptions are as follows:

i. Air New Zealand Airpoints: All members earn a flat 20 Airpoints per stay for hotels outside of Australia and New Zealand. All members earn a flat 40 Airpoints per stay for hotels within Australia and New Zealand.

ii. El Al Israel:All members earn a flat 12 El Al points per stay.

iii. Iberia Plus:All members earn 1 mile for every 10 Starpoints earned.

iv. Air China:All members earn 1.6 miles for every 1 Starpoint earned.

v. LAN Airlines:All members earn 1.6 miles for every 1 Starpoint earned.

vi. Southwest Airlines: All members earn 600 Rapid Rewards points per stay. (The actual SPG terms still show 0.5 credit). Southwest Airlines link.

 

Loyalty Traveler SPG AMEXStar Sweepstakes Reminder

This is the final 24 hours to enter the Loyalty Traveler’s SPG Amex Stars 50,000 Starpoints Sweepstakes sponsored by Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express.

Entry deadline is 12 noon Wednesday August 15.

 

SPG American Express card pitch:

For a limited time from August 7 through September 4, 2012 newly enrolled SPG American Express cardmembers can earn 10,000 points upon first purchase and an additional 20,000 bonus points with $5,000 in card spend within first six months. The $65 annual fee is waived the first year.

http://bit.ly/SPGAMEXCard 

Disclosure:The SPG American Express card link is a generic card application link. Loyalty Traveler does not receive compensation if you apply for the SPG American Express card through the link provided.

Loyalty Traveler original post link: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/08/14/spg-points-to-miles-31-airline-partners/

Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Pingbacks

  1. […] Then, I signed up for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express.  With this card, I get 10,000 points after my first purchase and another 20,000 if I spend 5,000 in the first five months.  The beauty of SPG points is that they aren’t just for rooms, but, like AMEX’s Membership Rewards and Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer to airlines programs 1:1 – and SPG has many more airline partners. […]

Comments

  1. First off, great write-up as usual, Ric. Do you think the Starwood program favors frequent flyer transfers or are they hoping you burn Starpoints on low-redemptive value hotel stays?

    Just trying to get a sense of overall strategy from the program heads.

  2. We have always used Starwood points for hotel stays. next spring we plan to take our family to France. Where do we begin? What is the best airline to transfer points? We’re debating if we should just use our points for hotel nights in Paris (20-25,000 points per night) or use them for airfare. Any help is appreciated.

  3. @Dwight – There are occasional discount flight awards from airlines. That would be something to watch for, along with Cash & Points awards that can save 60% starpoints on hotel nights with $150 per night for a category 6 hotel.

    In general I think transferring points to airline miles is usually not as good a value as saving points for hotel nights. That really depends on your Starpoints balance.

Comments are closed.