Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
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Starwood Preferred Guest is one of the most beloved hotel loyalty programs. One of its strong features is the program’s incredible versatility, as you can transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points to dozens of airline mile programs at a 1:1 ratio, rare for a hotel program.
Even more so, when you transfer 20,000 points, you get a 5,000 mile bonus, and you can get this bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer – it’s not limited to the first 20,000 points you transfer.
The downside is Starwood transfers aren’t instant, so you’ll want to be very sure you can make use of the mileage program before you transfer. Some programs like American AAdvantage and Korean Skypass will let you put awards on hold, but some of the most lucrative transfer partners like Alaska Mileage Plan and ANA Mileage Club won’t hold awards while you wait for the transfer to complete.
And while Marriott plans to acquire Starwood, it will be a while before this feature changes if that happens.
Here is the full list of SPG partner airlines with approximate transfer times. Please note, these transfer times are not guaranteed; the only thing that is guaranteed is that transfers will not be instant. For more on SPG and other programs transfer times read this post.
|Program||Ratio / Transfer time|
|Aegean Airlines||1:1 (9-12 days)|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1 (1-2 days)|
|Aeroplan/Air Canada||1:1 (4 days)|
|Air Berlin||1:1 (7 days)|
|Air China Companion||1:1 (1-2 days)|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||65:1 (2 days)|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1:1 (1-2 days)|
|Alitalia MileMiglia||1:1 unknown|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||1:1 (at least 7 days, completes once a week)|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1:1 (1-4 days)|
|Asia Miles Cathay Pacific||1:1 (2 days)|
|Asiana Airlines||1:1 (9-10 days)|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1 (4-5 days)|
|China Eastern Airlines||1:1 unknown|
|China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club||1:1 (3 days)|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1 (2 days)|
|Emirates Skywards||1:1 (4-7 days)|
|Etihad Airways||1:1 (4-7 days)|
|Flying Blue Air France/KLM||1:1 (1-13 days)|
|Gol Smiles||2:1 unknown|
|Hainan Airlines||1:1 (7 days)|
|Hawaiian Airlines||1:1 (1-2 days)|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1:1 (3-6 days)|
|Jet Airways||1:1 unknown|
|Korean Air||1:1 (7 days)|
|LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass||1:1.5 (2 days)|
|Lufthansa Miles and More||1:1 (4 days)|
|Qatar Airways||1:1 (3 weeks)|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||1:1 unknown|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1 (at least 7 days, completes on Mondays)|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||1:1 (10 days)|
|United Mileage Plus||2:1 (2-3 days)|
|Virgin America Elevate||1:1 (1-2 days)|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1 (within 24 hours)|
|Virgin Australia||1:1 (2 days)|
You can follow this link and enter your SPG username and password to go directly to the airline mile transfer page.
If you’re navigating the site, you can find it via the following steps:
1. After you log on to your SPG account click “Redeem Starpoints.”
2. Click “Travel”, under the suitcase icon.
3. Scroll half-page down until you see “Transfer Air Miles” and click on it.
4. Click “Transfer Starpoints to Air Miles.”
5. Select your airline, enter the FF# and the amount of points you want to transfer, tick the T&C box and click “Go.”
Pay attention to the following SPG rule, as it might be confusing.
Starwood Preferred Guests can transfer up to 79,999 of their Starpoints® per transaction per program within a 24-hour period to the frequent flyer programs listed below. Plus, for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred within the same transaction, Starwood will automatically add another 5,000 Starpoints! This means that up to 94,999 Starpoints can be transferred into your frequent flyer account.
What it really means is there’s a 24 hour limit of 79,999 points transferred to any given program.
But you shouldn’t be transferring exactly 79,999 points in one transaction or you will miss out on the 5,000 mile bonus at the 80,000 point level (since 80,000 is a multiple of 20,000 points). It’s always best to transfer Starpoints in 20,000 point chunks, so the maximum you should transfer any given day is 60,000 points, which will get you 75,000 points (3x 5,000 point bonuses).
And beware, transfers are not reversible. Once you transfer out, you can’t transfer back into SPG.
Some SPG partners are better to avoid. Transferring valuable SPG points to United and Gol at 2:1 ratio is not a good idea, and there is little in these programs that can justify this ratio.
Instead you can transfer to Air Canada or other Star Alliance partners like Singapore or Lufthansa to book United in the Americas, or to Delta to book Gol.
You might also avoid transferring points to airlines that add huge fuel surcharges if you intend to redeem miles on their own flights, like Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and a few others, as well.
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