How To Transfer Starwood Points Between Accounts

I often rave about SPG Starpoints, as I find the points to be incredibly valuable for hotel stays, and really appreciate how versatile Starwood points are in general.

One of the great lesser-known benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest program is actually the ability to transfer points to another member of your household. I’m frequently asked questions about the transferability of SPG Starpoints, including:

  • Can you transfer SPG points between accounts?
  • Can you transfer SPG points from your account to a mileage account in someone else’s name?

Many people aren’t aware that Starpoints can actually be transferred between accounts, assuming the accounts are registered at the same addresses. To be clear, there’s no requirement to have the same last name or be related, but you must have the same address on file with Starwood, and they must have matched for 30 days.

How to transfer SPG Starpoints

There are two ways to make a transfer:

If you choose to fill out the online form you’ll first have to log-in into your account. Then you’ll be prompted to enter the number of points you want to transfer, and the SPG number and last name on file for the account you want to transfer points to.

Starwood-Points-Transfer

Terms of transferring Starpoints

In order to be eligible for a household transfer the accounts must have been registered at the same address for 30 days. This is an important distinction, as even if you want to transfer SPG points to your spouse you have to have had the same addresses listed for 30 days.

The transfer can take up to five business days, though in practice is usually complete within a few days — it’s never instant, though.

While technically accounts only have to be registered at the same address for 30 days to be eligible, I wouldn’t recommend abusing this. In other words if you change addresses every 31 days you can expect they’ll request verification of your address.

Why is transferring Starpoints between accounts a valuable option?

There are lots of benefits to being able to transfer Starpoints between accounts:

  • Top off an account so you have enough for an award. Perhaps this is the single most obvious benefit. If you want to redeem for a free night award that will cost 20,000 Starpoints and have two accounts with 10,000 Starpoints each, transferring the points would give you enough for that redemption.
  • Taking advantage of elite status. Say my dad and I want to take a trip together and redeem Starpoints for the stay. I’m a Starwood Platinum member while he isn’t. If he transferred the points to my account we would get Starwood Platinum benefits for the stay, and can even use a Suite Night Award to confirm an upgrade in advance.
  • To make airline transfers. One of the best uses of Starpoints is converting them into airline miles. They can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re really earning 1.25 miles per dollar spent. See below for an additional section on this specifically.

How to use this to fully take advantage of airline transfers

For me the single best use of the household family transfer option is for maximizing airline transfers. Almost everyone in my family has Starpoints thanks to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express.

So the first major benefit I get out of household transfers is that if one of my parents need to convert points into miles, they’ll transfer them to one of my airline accounts where I have elite status, so that they can avoid change and ticketing fees.

Furthermore, being able to transfer points between SPG accounts is great for being able to transfer to airline programs in “round” numbers. Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, and you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

Say for example my mom has 15,000 Starpoints while my dad has 25,000 Starpoints. If my mom converted those 15,000 Starpoints into airline miles she’d get just 15,000 airline miles. If my dad converted those 25,000 Starpoints into airline miles he’d get 30,000 miles (considering the 5,000 point bonus). That’s a total of 45,000 miles.

If instead they transferred 40,000 Starpoints over at once that would get them 50,000 miles, since they’d be transferring in increments of 20,000, so there’s potentially a huge value in being able to pool the SPG points.

Similarly, if you only have one SPG account, and want to top off multiple airline accounts to redeem miles for a family vacation, you can transfer SPG points to each person, and then transfer directly to their airline account. Again, it’s worth keeping in mind that any account you want to transfer to has to be open and registered at the same address for that 30 day minimum, so if you anticipate needing to transfer points to your household members it’s probably a good idea to open the account in advance.

What other questions can I answer about transferring SPG points?

(In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone approved through the above links. All are for the best available offers. Thanks for your support!)

Comments

  1. Andy says

    @Lucky,
    Thanks a lot. Great advice!

    May I directly transfer my spg points into my wife’s US Airways account? Does SPG compare the name verus airline account’s name?
    Thanks,
    Andy

  2. says

    @ Andy — No, you can’t. You’d first have to transfer to your SPG account and then to your US Airways account, as the names have to match.

  3. Andy says

    @Lucky,
    my wife does not have a starwood account. Does Starwood offer some referral program so that I can earn bonus points when my future reservation is booked via my wife’s account? Marriott has, I know, 2,000 pts per stay for both parties, up to 10,000 pts.

  4. Ivan Y says

    I think for our two accounts transfers took 5-7 calendar days, so I’d recommend doing it in advance (just like SPG->airline transfers which aren’t instant either).

  5. Juan Pedro says

    I think that it is worth mentioning that the transfer to United Mileage Plus has a 2 to 1 ratio.

  6. Andy says

    @Lucky,
    I just opened my wife’s SPG account today (1/30/14). Do I have to wait until 3/2/14 to request transfer spg points from my acocunt into her account, or can I start requesting the transfer on 2/24/14, 7 days before 3/2/2014? Thanks,
    Andy

  7. Tom says

    Lucky, you mentioned the account names have to match when going from SPG to an airline account. I have a suffix in my name (Jr) and not all my frequent flyer accounts have the suffix (just depends on if the airline had the suffix option when I registered – not all did many years ago). Would this present a problem for SPG transfers to my airline accounts and if so is there anything I could do to prevent it?

  8. says

    @Andy I guess I was not clear enough: I transferred my SPG points straight to my wife’s US Air acct and it went through.
    @Tom nothing to worry about

  9. Venessa says

    I know the amex gold rewards card can transfer points 1:1 to spg. So would it be possible to transfer the sign up bonus from amex of 25,000 points to spg then transfer 20000 from spg to aeroplan and get the bonus 5000 then use the 15000 remaining points plus the 5000 bonus transfer points to then transfer 20000 points to aeroplan again and recieve another 5000 bonus points?

  10. says

    @ Venessa — You actually can’t convert or transfer Membership Rewards points into SPG points at a 1:1 ratio. The ratio is 3:1.

  11. Kelvin says

    Thanks for the info Lucky! I have 2 questions:
    1. Can my brother, who lives in a different country, transfer his miles to my SPG account?
    2. Would transferring my airlines miles into SPG help avoiding my existing SPG points from getting expired?

    Thanks again!

  12. lucky says

    @ Kelvin — You have to be in the same household (and have the same address), and I don’t believe there’s a way to transfer miles into SPG – only the reverse.

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