How Long Do Starwood Preferred Guest Points Transfers Take?

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How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?
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How Long Do Citi ThankYou Points Transfers Take?
How Long Do Starwood Preferred Guest Points Transfers Take?


If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

Starpoints aren’t a traditional transferable currency, in the sense that Starpoints are actually directly hotel loyalty program points. However, Starpoints are often considered to be the fourth transferable points currency, since they have many great airline transfer partners, and this is actually a good use of points.

So while I previously wrote a series about transferring points to the other three major points currencies, several people asked if I could write a similar installment about Starpoints, which is what this post is about.

The challenge is that Starpoints don’t transfer as consistently, so the best I can do is provide ranges of how long transfers take.

With that out of the way:

How many airline partners does SPG have?

Starpoints can be converted into airline miles in 35 different programs, plus they can be converted into Amtrak points. This is significantly more transfer partners than the other three transferable points currencies have.

Starpoints-Airline-Miles

At what rate do Starpoints convert into airline miles?

With the exception of a few programs, Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio. However, the ratio gets even better than that. You earn a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred, meaning that in reality 20,000 Starpoints converts into 25,000 airline miles. When converting points in the right increments, you’re getting 1.25 airline miles per Starpoint.

There are a few programs where Starpoints don’t convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio. Those include Air New Zealand (65:1), LATAM (1:1.5), and United (2:1).

Also keep in mind that sometimes we see additional bonuses on converting Starpoints into airline miles, which may be worth waiting for. For example, at the moment you can get a 20% bonus when converting Starpoints into Etihad miles, recently you could get up to a 30% bonus when converting Starpoints into Aeroplan miles, and last year you could get a 20% bonus when converting Starpoints into American miles.

SPG-American-Bonus

What’s the minimum number of Starpoints you can convert into airline miles?

There’s a minimum number of Starpoints that can be converted into airline miles:

  • Non-elite SPG members need to transfer a minimum of 2,500 Starpoints per transaction
  • Gold elite SPG members need to transfer a minimum of 1,500 Starpoints per transaction
  • Platinum elite SPG members can transfer just 1 Starpoint per transaction

This is a very cool privilege for Platinum members. Many points currencies expire after a certain amount of activity, so this is a great way to reset that expiration by transferring a single point.

What’s the maximum number of Starpoints you can convert into airline miles?

There’s also a maximum number of Starpoints you can convert into airline miles within a 24 hour period. You can transfer at most 79,999 Starpoints per transfer partner per 24 hour period.

In practice this means you won’t want to convert more than 60,000 Starpoints to a given transfer partner in a 24 hour period. That’s because you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. In other words, if you transferred 60,000 Starpoints, you’d get 75,000 airline miles.

Meanwhile if you transferred 79,999 Starpoints, you’d get a total of 94,999 airline miles. If you instead transferred 60,000 points, and then the next day transferred 20,000 points, you’d get 100,000 airline miles.

So if you can avoid it, don’t transfer more than 60,000 Starpoints to an airline partner in a day.

How long does it take to convert Starpoints to airline miles?

The downside to Starpoints in comparison to other transferable currencies is how long it takes to transfer points. While the other transferable currencies all have some instant transfer partners, Starwood doesn’t. So you’ll typically have to transfer points ahead of when you’re ready to book your trip.

Furthermore, while other points currencies typically transfer within a certain amount of time of when the transfer is initiated, most of Starwood’s partners seem to work differently. Some partners seem to process transfers on certain days of the week, some bi-monthly, etc. So below I’m truly just giving a range of how long transfers take — in reality they may take shorter or longer.

Below is a chart with how long it typically takes to convert Starpoints into airline miles:

SPG Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
AeroMexico Club Premier1 : 12 to 7 days
Air Canada Aeroplan 1 : 12 to 7 days
airberlin Top Bonus 1 : 17 to 14 days
Air China PhoenixMiles 1 : 12 to 7 days
Air France/KLM FlyingBlue 1 : 12 to 7 days
Air New Zealand Air Points 65 : 12 to 7 days
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1 : 12 to 7 days
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1 : 17 to 14 days
ANA Mileage Club 1 : 17 to 14 days
American Airlines AAdvantage 1 : 11 to 4 days
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club 1 : 17 to 14 days
British Airways Executive Club 1 : 12 to 7 days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 1 : 12 to 7 days
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Club 1 : 17 to 14 days
China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club 1 : 12 to 7 days
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles 1 : 11 to 4 days
Emirates Skywards 1 : 12 to 7 days
Etihad Airways Guest 1 : 12 to 7 days
Gol Smiles 2 : 17 to 14 days
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles 1 : 17 to 14 days
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank 1 : 17 to 14 days
Korean Air Skypass 1 : 17 to 14 days
LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms 1 : 1.52 to 7 days
Lufthansa Miles & More 1 : 12 to 7 days
Qatar Airways Privileges Club 1 : 12 to 7 days
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan 1 : 12 to 7 days
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 : 17 to 14 days
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus1 : 17 to 14 days
United Mileage Plus2 : 12 to 7 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 : 11 to 4 days
Virgin Australia Velocity1 : 11 to 4 days

Again, let me emphasize that these are truly estimates because of the odd schedule with which points transfer. This is based on a combination of me transferring points to each partner, and also the data points I’ve seen from others. So if you transfer points, it could take longer, or it could be faster…

Are there fees associated with transferring Starpoints?

There are no fees associated with converting Starpoints into airline miles.

Can you transfer Starpoints to someone else’s airline account?

Nope. You can only transfer Starpoints to your own airline account. If you enter someone else’s account number, the transfer is likely to be rejected. Some report being able to transfer points to an airline account of someone with the same last name, but I wouldn’t count on it.

However, as I’ll explain below, you can sometimes transfer points to someone else’s SPG account, and then they can transfer the points to their airline account.

Can you transfer Starpoints to someone else’s SPG account?

Starwood allows members with accounts registered at the same address to share Starpoints — there’s no requirement to be related. The addresses on file for the accounts have to match for at least 30 days, and you can only transfer points in increments of 1,000.

Starpoints-Transfer

So you could transfer Starpoints to someone else, and then they could transfer them to one of their airline accounts.

I wouldn’t recommend abusing this benefit, though. In other words, don’t try changing your address (or changing someone else’s address) every 30 days so you can sneakily combine points. At some point they’ll catch on.

What credit cards earn Starpoints?

There are just two credit cards that directly earn Starpoints — the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. Each of these cards offers one Starpoint per dollar spent on everyday spend, making this one of the most valuable cards for non-bonused spend.

When you’re converting Starpoints into airline miles in the right increments, that’s the equivalent of earning 1.25 miles per dollar spent, which is great.

Should you convert Starpoints into airline miles?

There are more great uses of Starpoints than ever before. Part of the reason I value Starpoints more than any other points currency is because of their flexibility.

Starpoints can be redeemed for hotel stays, converted into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred, and can also be converted into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio. Converting Starpoints into Marriott points can be a great deal as well, both for hotel stays as well as for the purpose of converting those points into airline miles.

The best use of Marriott points is for Hotel + Air Packages, where you can redeem points for a set number of airline miles plus a set number of free nights.

Marriott-Hotel-Air-Packages

For example, you can redeem 270,000 Marriott Rewards points (equivalent to 90,000 Starpoints) for 120,000 airline miles plus seven nights at a Category 1-5 Marriott property. That’s potentially an incredible value.

So while direct airline mileage transfers from Starwood continue to be a good deal, also be sure you consider the value of a Marriott Hotel + Air Package.

Bottom line

On a per point basis, Starpoints are the points currency I value most. While Starpoints aren’t a traditional transferable points currency, converting Starpoints into airline miles can be a great deal. Just keep in mind how many other great uses there are for the points, and also remember that transfers aren’t instant. So you’ll want to transfer points well ahead of when you’re actually ready to book.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

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Comments

  1. I believe you can also transfer Starpoints via Marriott Rewards. Marriott allows up to 50,000 points to be transferred into or out of an account per year, or more if it is to satisfy a pending reservation. That’s the same as 16,666 Starpoints that can be transferred if both parties have their SPG and Marriott Rewards accounts linked.

  2. Household transfers are still possible? I thought that option was eliminated, though never tried it with my parents acccounts since I read it on FT

  3. Claim 1): “This is significantly more transfer partners than the other three transferable points currencies have.”

    Claim 2): “There are more great uses of Starpoints than ever before. Part of the reason I value Starpoints more than any other points currency is because of their flexibility.”

    First claim is patently false; the second has been long outdated.

    Chase UR points can be transferred (INSTANTLY in most cases), to all 62 primary members of the 3 global airline alliances without spending an extra dime. In some cases, UR points do not need to be transferred at all…

    Please see the reasoning here: https://goo.gl/5cAqSx .

    I kid you not. It will be an eye-opener for those who still think [have been brainwashed into thinking] that the starpoint is the alpha and omega of loyalty points currencies because of its superior “transferability” and “flexibility”. Think again! There are much better options out there now, like 3x UR/$, that beat the hard slog of earning 1 starpoint/$, in addition to offering greater [faster] “transferability” and “flexibility.”

  4. I initiated a transfer of SPG to Virgin Atlantic last night at around 9pm. Points showed up in my Virgin Atlantic account at around 9am today.

  5. @Lucky – I mean, we all know it to be true…can you (professionally) further explain why? 😉

  6. @ UA-NYC — I have better/more intellectually enriching things to do with my time than to argue with DCS… like watching Real Housewives. 😉

  7. Hey Lucky – First time commenter here! I’m under the impression that there is a limit on transfers between SPG accounts (30,000 per year??). As there is more overlap now than ever before with Marriott to SPG and multiple credit cards with large numbers of points opportunities, I think it would be helpful to readers to know this info if there is a limit. I believe it stacks (negatively) with points purchased as well. Any updated info would be helpful!!

  8. 3 weeks and day since I tramsfered points to Qatar Airways. Still not arrived in my account. Have read from various sources that the average time is 3 weeks.
    Luckily there is still award availability I want to use the miles from, just hope they arrive soon!

  9. Took 7 days to see the Starpoints to appear in my Alaska MileagePlus account. I transferred it on Friday, but didn’t see the points posted until the following Friday.

    Luckily I’m planning to travel on off-season, so there were a lot of award spaces on Cathay Pacific. I also had several backup dates in case the original flight wasn’t available. The waiting time isn’t great, but the bonus 5000 points per every 20K miles transferred is definitely worth it.

  10. LOL DCS linking to his own comments as if they are some kind of authority. @DCS Is that what you do in your papers, stuff them with references to your own writing? Even high school students know better.

  11. @Chancer – it is eternally amusing. Again, he’s the same person who claims that the success of the SPG AmEx caused the downfall of Starwood 😉

  12. Timely post! I just initiated a transfer to Alaska for a Cathay Pacific Award. SPG said ‘please allow 2-4 days for the transfer to complete’. Finding award availability and then waiting for points to transfer makes for an anxious few days…

  13. @Lucky sez: “@ DCS — Your logic is just so bad it’s almost funny…”

    Sorry, I was busy being an Ivy League Professor and could not come back here earlier to indulge myself, but @Lucky, in my world, when one makes a statement like that, we expect some sort of proof or the statement has no credibility, which it does not. Anyone else who followed the link (52 unique clicks so far, i.e. more than commented here) and UNDERSTOOD the logic, knows the logic is sound.

    Now give us YOUR logic or tell us why mine is “so bad”…

  14. @ DCS — To suggest that being able to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways Executive Club is the same as being able to transfer them to Alaska, American, Japan Airlines, etc., for the purposes of oneworld redemptions, just isn’t worth arguing.

  15. Then @Lucky went where the likes @UA-NYC and @Chancer dwell, i.e., in the gutter: ” I have better/more intellectually enriching things to do with my time than to argue with DCS…”

    LOL. The truth is, DCS has cleaned your clock. That’s why you are claiming to have no time to “argue” with him. It did not use to be that way; what happened? DCS’s cleaned the clock; knocked self-anointed travel gurus off their little pedestals…that’s what happened.

    Go back to our very first exchange, which like, “We have a HHonors fanboy!” wink, wink, wink. Go on, read the exchange and see who was in control and had better grasp of things when you were “wink, wink, wink”‘ing

    Where is SPG? Where is HGP? Which programs are still standing tall (HH, MR)? I’d predicted it all in that first exchange about 3 years ago and promised that I’d have the last laugh and I am now laughing very loudly…

    What a difference just 3 years make…et vive la difference!

    You want to do “intellectual”? Give me a buzz…

    G’day

  16. @Lucky: I agree that it “just isn’t worth arguing” because it is not close to anything that I suggested, unless it is another “travel guru dogma” that us common people are supposed to just accept. I can transfer US points to BA and book flight with any other member of the alliance. Not too hard to grasp.

    The starpoint is not what it’s claimed to be. Period. The huge hype is only to get clicks and signups. Here’s a blogger who benefited from the SPG AMEX, spilling the beans that would sound familiar:

    “Even with 35,000 Bonus Points, the SPG American Express Is Still Not That Great!”

    https://goo.gl/c7t5ut

  17. LOL – then “prove” your statement that the SPG AmEx caused the “downfall” of Starwood, since not a single stock analyst anywhere has said that made a material contribution. Or “prove” your statement that all a 4pm guarantee does is not let a hotel let you stay a minute past that (funny, the Sheraton Park Lane London had no issue with me staying til 6pm a couple weeks ago).

    And the blogger you link to actually makes a compelling case for the card JUST for the sign-up bonus – he found over $1K in hotel value from it. Case closed. SPG is still standing tall and firm – you’re just too ignorant and dogmatic to realize it.

    I wonder if Dean Choi knows he has such an anti-intellectual in his building spilling lies and mistruths on the Internet…

  18. I moved 90k spg to marriott and was going to use the 270 marriott it became but did not. The transfer was instant

    I moved them back a few days later and that was instant.

    Transfers between family members take about 5 days

    DCS you are an idiot. Why do you bother existing? I am way better

    And the blokes that do this blog know their sh*t too so shut up and stop trolling

  19. Perhaps our Ivy League professor is actually a Poison Ivy League professor since some think what he has given here is just a rash…

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