Last Chance: 20% Bonus On SPG To AA Transfers

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One of the things which makes the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express valuable is that Starpoints are so flexible. They can efficiently be redeemed for hotel stays, SPG Moments, or can be converted into airline miles.

The ratio of converting Starpoints into airline miles is usually already lucrative, though it has been sweetened even further.

20% bonus when converting Starpoints into AAdvantage miles

In early July, Starwood came out with a promotion whereby they’re offering a 20% bonus when you convert Starpoints into airline miles.

The promotion was slated to run through August 7, 2015, then was extended through August 31, 2015. I don’t expect it to be extended a second time, so this is your last chance to take part in the promotion.

Starpoints-AAdvantage

The great thing about Starpoints is how flexible they are — they can be redeemed efficiently for hotel stays, and can also be converted into airline miles in any of about two dozen programs. The points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus. That means if transferring in the right increments, you’re ordinarily earning 1.25 AAdvantage miles per Starpoint.

AAdvantage-SPG

However, through the current promotion you receive 30,000 AAdvantage miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer, or 1.5 AAdvantage miles per Starpoint. That accounts for the 5,000 point bonus when converting in increments of 20,000 points, plus the 20% bonus on top of that.

The bonus points should post to your AAdvantage account within seven business days of the initial conversion activity posting. There’s no limit to the number of bonus points you can earn through the promotion, and no registration is required.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-777-39
Redeem American AAdvantage miles for Cathay Pacific first class

Tips for maximizing this promotion

There are a few tricks you’ll want to keep in mind if you do choose to convert Starpoints into AAdvantage miles:

  • You can only make one mileage transfer per Starwood account every 24 hours, up to 79,999 SPG points at a time. Given that the 5,000 point bonus is only for transfers in increments of 20,000 points, in practice you’ll just want to transfer 60,000 Starpoints per day, should you take advantage of this promotion. So if you want to transfer more than 60,000 Starpoints, ideally you’ll want to transfer some tonight, and then the rest tomorrow, etc., to maximize those bonuses.
  • The name on the AAdvantage account has to match the name on the Starwood account. That being said, do keep in mind that SPG allows you to transfer points between members of the same household. So if you want to transfer your Starpoints to the AAdvantage account of someone else living at your address, you’ll want to transfer the points to their Starwood account first.
  • American allows five day holds on award tickets, so if you have a specific use of miles in mind, you can always place the ticket on hold and then transfer Starpoints, as they typically post to AAdvantage accounts within a few days.

Etihad-A380-First-Class-20
Redeem American AAdvantage miles for Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

Is this a good deal?

I conservatively value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, which is why I consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express to be among the most valuable cards for everyday, non-bonused spend.

Assuming a valuation of 2.2 cents per Starpoint, and assuming you transfer in the right increments (meaning at a 1:1.5 ratio, by transferring in increments of 20,000 Starpoints), that’s like picking up AAdvantage miles for ~1.47 cents each. That’s a fantastic deal, especially with a short term use of miles in mind.

However, it’s important to note:

  • Part of what makes Starpoints so valuable is that they’re pretty devaluation-proof. You have so much flexibility with Starpoints, given that they can be converted into airlines miles in any of about two dozen airline programs, can be redeemed for hotels, etc. If you’re holding onto points without an immediate use in mind, there’s huge value to having them in a flexible points currency.
  • While American AAdvantage miles are extremely valuable now, I wouldn’t count on the current redemption rates sticking around forever, given that American’s award chart is now considerably more lucrative than those of Delta and United.

So I’d say converting Starpoints into miles can be a great deal if you have a near term use of AAdvantage miles in mind. For what it’s worth, American and Starwood offered an identical promotion last year at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again at the same time next year, though wouldn’t expect to see it more often than that.

Qatar-Airways-A350-Business-Class-30
Redeem American AAdvantage miles for Qatar Airways A350 business class

Bottom line

One of the best uses of Starpoints is for airline mileage transfers. One of Starwood’s best airline mileage transfer partners is American. So getting an extra 20% on mileage transfers is pretty huge, if you ask me. If you have a specific or short term use in mind I’d absolutely take advantage of this promotion.

If you don’t think you’ll have a use for the miles in the next six or so months, I’d probably not take advantage of this promotion, and instead keep your Starpoints as flexible as possible.

If my AAdvantage mileage balance weren’t huge I’d absolutely be considering taking advantage of this promotion.

Have you taken advantage of (or do you plan on taking advantage of) the 20% bonus on transfers from SPG to American?

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Comments

  1. Shoot, I’m still waiting for the Starwood business card to come. I applied on the 25th and requested for a rush delivery. Not sure if my 5k immediate spend will post 30k SPG points in time for me to transfer to AA by the 31st.

    I already transferred 20k SPG points to 30k AA miles from my Starwood personal card, was hoping to transfer another 40k for a grand total of 90K AA miles.

  2. @Lucky,

    Thanks for this reminder. I have been pondering on whether to take this promo or not. Is there any chance that they will run this promo again next year?
    I’ve been thinking to transfer my SPG to AA to redeem it on Etihad First Class Apartments, do they have SFO – SYD route? If so, how many mileages needed and does the award availability wide open next year? I’ve been wanting to go to Australia by Etihad’s aspirational First Class apartments.
    Really appreciate your response as it would really help me before I decide to pull the trigger to transfer my SPG to AA.

  3. I did the deal……I want to take a trip to Europe in first class. I have most of my miles with USAirways, which is now American. Yes, SPG points are hard to earn, but I thought this was a good deal. When traveling abroad, I tend to stay at more “local” establishments or B and B’s. In the USA, I find myself using Priceline more and more for hotels, which means I’m not earning the points like I used to.

  4. @ sfoflyer — They offered something similar last year, so it’s certainly possible.

    In terms of pricing, you’d pay 150,000 AAdvantage miles each way to fly first class to Australia via the Middle East.

    You’ll want to look at availability this way: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/06/04/search-etihad-award-space/
    And can read more about redeeming AA miles in general here: http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/04/12/how-to-redeem-american-aadvantage-miles/

    Does that help at all?

  5. @Tiffany

    It helps a lot! thanks so much!
    Question, 150k AAdvantage miles is for 2 separate awards? SFO – AUH and then I can stop over in AUH for as long as I want then continue to SYD?

  6. @ Tiffany

    I saw from US to South Pacific (Australia) only cost 72,500 miles. So 150,000 miles must be for round trip, isn’t it?

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