UPDATE: The Starwood American Express credit card offers in this post are no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!
There’s a way to use your Starwood points to get cheap award flights within the US (even Hawaii!).
That’s because United Airlines and Singapore Airlines are partners, and have access to each other’s award seats. But sometimes they charge different amounts for the exact same routes!
I’ll highlight the best deals. And show you how many miles you can save!
About the AMEX Starwood Cards
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
Until September 14, 2015, there’s an increased sign-up bonus on the AMEX Starwood cards. You’ll get:
- 30,000 Starwood points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (personal card), or
- 30,000 Starwood points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (small business card)
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels)
- 1X Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
- Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding in-flight)
- For small business cardholders, access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) for cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd party bookings are excluded).
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- $95 annual fee, waived for the 1st year
- No foreign transaction fees
- Terms & limitations apply
Get Cheaper Flights in the US on United Airlines With Singapore Airlines Miles
You can transfer Starwood points to ~30 airline partners. When you transfer at least 20,000 Starwood points to airline partners, you’ll get 5,000 bonus miles.
Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, along with United Airlines.
And with Singapore Airlines miles, you can book award flights for less than United Airlines charges for their own flights!
For example, a round-trip Business Class flight within North America (which includes the mainland US, Alaska, and Canada) is 40,000 Singapore Airlines miles. And a round-trip First Class flight costs 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles. Round-trip coach awards cost the same with both United Airlines miles and Singapore Airlines miles.
United Airlines charges 50,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class flight within North America. And 70,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class flight. In both cases, you’ll save 10,000 miles by booking with Singapore Airlines!
For example, I found lots of Business Class award seats to New Orleans from Chicago throughout the rest of the year.
If you want to visit the Crescent City, you can transfer Starwood points to Singapore Airlines miles to get a discount on your flight! You can get the same price on any Business Class award flights within the continental US, Alaska, or Canada!
Note: Do NOT transfer your Starwood points directly to United Airlines because they have a 2:1 transfer ratio. So it’s not a good use of your points!
Even Better Discounts to Hawaii!
Saving miles is great, especially when it’s to a desirable tourist destination like Hawaii.
With United Airlines miles to Hawaii, you’ll pay:
- 45,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight
- 80,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class award flight
- 100,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award flight
Compare that to Singapore Airlines miles, which cost:
- 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight
- 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class award flight
- 80,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award flight
You can book the exact same United Airlines flights using less miles with Singapore Airlines.
So you’ll save 10,000 miles when you fly coach. And 20,000 miles when you fly First or Business Class! When you book more than 1 flight, those miles can really add up!
Even better, there are very low taxes and fees on United Airlines flights, usually ~$11 per person for a round-trip award flight.
I found lots of Business Class award seats from Seattle to Honolulu in January on United Airlines. You’ll pay 60,000 Singapore miles and ~$11 for the same flights!
How to Book Singapore Airlines Award Flights
1. Transfer from Starwood Points to Singapore Airlines Miles
First, transfer Starwood points to Singapore Airlines miles.
To get started, log into your account, then select “Redeem Starpoints” under “Starpoints & Awards.”
Click the “Travel” tab, then scroll down until you find “Transfer Starpoints To Air Miles.”
On the screen that pops up, select Singapore Airlines, then fill-in your Singapore Airlines frequent flyer number (free to join!), and how many Starwood points you want to transfer, and click “Go.”
There are a minimum number of Starwood points you can transfer, depending on your elite status level with Starwood:
- Starwood Platinum members do NOT have a minimum requirement with most airlines
- Starwood Gold members have a minimum transfer requirement of 1,500 Starwood points
- Regular members have a minimum transfer requirement of 2,500 Starwood points
Be aware that it take ~1 to ~2 weeks for your transfer request to complete. So this is NOT a good way to book flights immediately.
And keep in mind that you can also transfer to Singapore Airlines from AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points. So it’s easy to earn Singapore Airlines miles with lots of different points programs!
2. Call Singapore Airlines to Book United Airlines Flights
Link: How to Use ExpertFlyer
After the transfer completes, you can find United Airlines award flights on United.com.
Write down the flights you want. Then call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333 to book.
Remember you can use ExpertFlyer to alert you when there’s an award seat available so you don’t have to remember to check!
How Your Starwood Sign-Up Bonus Gets You to Hawaii, a Simple Example
As I showed you, it’s only 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles to get to Hawaii in coach, round-trip.
But the sign-up bonus is 30,000 Starwood points! Not exactly.
Remember, you’ll get AT LEAST another 3,000 Starwood points from meeting the required minimum spending to earn that bonus. (If it’s the AMEX Starwood personal card. Or 5,000 Starwood points for the small business version.) So you’ll actually have 33,000 Starwood points in your account.
You’re 2,000 Starwood points short, darn! Not exactly.
Folks familiar with Starwood know the great thing is Starwood gives you a 5,000 mile bonus whenever you move 20,000+ Starwood points to 1 of their airline partners.
So when you transfer 30,000 of your Starwood points over to Singapore Airlines, you’ll find 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles in your account! Say “Aloha” to that beautiful beach vacation!
And back in your Starwood account you’ll still have 3,000 Starwood points remaining.
For folks looking for Business Class flights to Hawaii that cost 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles, keep in mind you could get approved for both the personal and small business Starwood cards.
Or if someone who lives in your house also has Starwood points, you might convince that generous person to transfer their points to your account.
Or…you could add Singapore Airlines miles to your account by transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citi ThankYou points into their mileage program.
Other Flight Options With Starwood Points
Don’t want to mess with blackout dates or can only travel on very specific dates? Book any airline you want on any date through SPG Flights.
|Ticket Price||Starpoints Required|
|up to $150||10,000|
|$150 to $215||15,000|
|$215 to $280||20,000|
|$280 to $345||25,000|
|$345 to $410||30,000|
|$410 to $475||35,000|
|$475 to $540||40,000|
|$540 to $605||45,000|
|$605 to $670||50,000|
|$670 to $735||55,000|
|$735 to $800||60,000|
|$800 to $865||65,000|
|$865 to $930||70,000|
|$930 to $995||75,000|
|$995 to $1,060||80,000|
|$2,880 to $3,140||235,000|
|$4,960 to $5,220||395,000|
|$9,000 to $10,160||775,000|
That’s because you might pay more Starwood points for your flights than if you transfer to a partner airline. So be sure to check the cost of your flights and do what’s best for you!
You’ll save 20,000 miles on domestic First or Business Class round-trip flights. And when you fly to Hawaii, you’ll save 10,000 miles on a coach award flight, and 20,000 miles for First and Business class. Those discounts can really add up, especially if you’re booking multiple award tickets.
Remember you can set alerts for award seats with ExpertFlyer.
Let me know if you plan to book a United Airlines flight with Singapore Airlines miles!