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How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?
How Long Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfers Take?
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.
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.
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 Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|AeroMexico Club Premier||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|airberlin Top Bonus||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|Air China PhoenixMiles||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Air France/KLM FlyingBlue||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Air New Zealand Air Points||65 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|ANA Mileage Club||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1 : 1||1 to 4 days|
|Asiana Airlines Asiana Club||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|British Airways Executive Club||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|China Eastern Airlines Eastern Club||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1 : 1||1 to 4 days|
|Emirates Skywards||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Etihad Airways Guest||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Gol Smiles||2 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|Korean Air Skypass||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms||1 : 1.5||2 to 7 days|
|Lufthansa Miles & More||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Qatar Airways Privileges Club||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan||1 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus||1 : 1||7 to 14 days|
|United Mileage Plus||2 : 1||2 to 7 days|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1 : 1||1 to 4 days|
|Virgin Australia Velocity||1 : 1||1 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.
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.
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.
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.