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Soooo Close but Short Miles for Your Flight? Dip Into Your Starwood Points!

Soooo Close but Short Miles for Your Flight? Dip Into Your Starwood Points!

Million Mile SecretsSoooo Close but Short Miles for Your Flight? Dip Into Your Starwood Points!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

UPDATE: The Starwood American Express credit card offers in this post are no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

It can be frustrating when you’re SO close to having enough miles for an award ticket.  And are looking for a way to quickly earn more miles.

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
Don’t Get Mad When You’re a Few Miles Short for an Award Flight! Just Transfer Over Some Starwood Points!

If you’re new to miles and points, you’ll probably experience this at some point.  And when you do (newbie or award booking pro), you can always transfer Starwood points to get your award flight!

I’ll explain!

Earn Starwood Points With the AMEX Starwood Card

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the Starwood Preferred Guest® 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

When to Transfer to ~30 Airline Partners!

One of the best perks about Starwood points is that you can transfer your Starwood points to ~30 airline partners, including:

 Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfer Partners 
AegeanAeroMexicoAir Canada
Air ChinaAir New ZealandAlaska Airlines
AlitaliaANAAmerican Airlines
Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)Asiana AirlinesBritish Airways
China EasternDeltaEmirates
Etihad Flying BlueGol Smiles
Hainan AirlinesHawaiian AirlinesIberia
Japan AirlinesJet AirwaysKorean Airlines
LifeMiles (Avianca)Miles & More (Lufthansa)Qatar Airways
Saudi Arabian AirlinesSingapore AirlinesThai Airways
United AirlinesVirgin AtlanticVirgin Australia

The minimum transfer requirement is 2,500 Starwood points.  Unless you have elite status with Starwood.

If you have Starwood Gold status, the minimum transfer amount is 1,500 Starwood points.  And if you have Starwood Platinum status, there is NO minimum transfer requirement.

Keep in mind it can take up to ~4 weeks for the points to transfer.  

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
Tick Tock! It Can Take Up to ~4 Weeks for the Transfer to Complete, Depending on the Airline Partner

Although, in my experience it usually only takes ~2 weeks, depending on the airline.

Some Starwood transfer partners, like Delta, Flying Blue, or Singapore Airlines, are transfer partners of other programs including AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou, whose points are easier to earn.  So check if you can transfer the points you need from another program before you dip into your Starwood stash!

Let’s look at a few award flights that merit using your Starwood points!

1.   Trip to Europe on Air Berlin With British Airways Avios Points

A great use of British Airways Avios points is to book award flights with low fuel surcharges on their partner Air Berlin.  Because they’re airline partners, they can access each other’s award seats!

Air Berlin gets you to Germany with low fees.  Then you can hop around Europe with budget airlines or by train.

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
Fly From New York to Dusseldorf Round-Trip in Coach for 40,000 British Airways Avios Points and $96. If You Need More Avios, Transfer from Starwood Points!

You can also transfer to British Airways Avios points from Chase Ultimate Rewards and AMEX Membership Rewards.  But if you don’t collect those points, or don’t want to use them, transferring Starwood points could be a good option.

Remember starting October 1, 2015, you’ll get a less favorable transfer ratio when you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways.

2.   Off-Peak Award Flights on American Airlines

Starwood points are the only flexible points that transfer to American Airlines.

You can use American Airlines miles for off-peak award flights to:

  • Mexico and the Caribbean for 12,500 American Airlines miles each way
  • Central America and northern South America for 15,000 American Airlines miles each way
  • Hawaii for 17,500 American Airlines miles each way
  • Southern South America for 20,000 American Airlines miles each way
  • Parts of Asia for 25,000 American Airlines miles each way
Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
If Heaven Is a Place On Earth, It’s Probably in the Caribbean! Fly There Off-Peak in Coach for Only 12,500 American Airlines Miles Each Way

Be sure to check out my series about how to book award flights with American Airlines miles!

3.   Alaska Airlines to Fly on Cathay Pacific

I’ve written how you can use Alaska Airlines miles on fantastic airline partners like Cathay Pacific.

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
I Had a Great Time in Cathay Pacific First Class!

According to Alaska Airline’s partner award chart, you can fly from North America to Asia in First Class for 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles each way!

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
Alaska Airlines Has a Very Reasonable Award Chart for Travel on Cathay Pacific

And Starwood is 1 of the only points programs that transfers directly to Alaska Airlines!

3.   Award Flights on Delta Airlines

I’ve written about how Delta miles are a great way to get to Europe.

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
Delta Charges Only 30,000 Delta Miles Each Way to Europe in Coach, Even From the West Coast!

You can fly from anywhere in the mainland US, Alaska, or Canada to Europe for 30,000 Delta miles each way, with very low fuel surcharges.

AMEX Membership Rewards transfers directly to Delta, but you’ll have to pay an excise fee when you transfer to domestic airlines.  If you want to avoid the fee, or don’t have AMEX Membership Rewards points, you can top off your Delta miles with Starwood points instead.

4.    Flying Blue Promo Awards

I always let you know when you can get a good deal with Flying Blue promo awards, which change at the beginning of each month.

Soooo Close But Short Miles For Your Flight Dip Into Your Starwood Points
Sometimes You Can Get up to 50% Off Award Flights to Europe With Flying Blue Promo Awards

Some months, you can get a fantastic deal, like 25% to 50% off award seats.  But be aware Flying Blue has high fuel charges on award flights.  So make sure the discount is worth paying the extra fees on your award ticket.

Flying Blue is also a transfer partner with AMEX Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points.  If you need more Flying Blue miles, or don’t have other points that transfer to Flying Blue, Starwood points can help top your account off to get that perfect award flight!

Other Uses of Starwood Points

Starwood points are fantastic because there are so many ways to use them.  In addition to award flights, you use them for:

Check out my top Starwood hotel picks in Europe, the US, the Caribbean & Mexico, Asia & Australia, Central & South America, and US beaches!

But the best way to use your Starwood points is for memories and experiences that are meaningful to YOU! 🙂

Bottom Line

You can transfer Starwood points to ~30 airline partners for award travel.

This can be a lifesaver when you’re very close to having enough miles for an award flight!

Some of my favorite airlines are part of Starwood’s program!  Keep in mind it can take up to ~4 weeks for the transfer to complete, although in my experience, it’s usually around ~2 weeks.

And remember the minimum amount you can transfer if you don’t have elite status with Starwood is 2,500 Starwood points.

This is a great way to snag an award flight when you need more miles!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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