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Did you know there’s a way to use your Starwood points to get cheap award flights within the US, even to Hawaii?
When you transfer Starwood points to Singapore Airlines, you can book certain award flights on United Airlines for fewer miles! Because Singapore Airlines and United Airlines are Star Alliance partners, and have access to each other’s award seats. And sometimes they charge different amounts for the exact same routes!
This is a great trick to know, especially given the increased sign-up bonus on the AMEX Starwood cards. Because you can earn enough for a round-trip coach ticket to Hawaii!
I’ll show you the best deals when using your Starwood points for domestic flights. And explain how many miles you can save!
About the AMEX Starwood Cards
Through April 5, 2017, you can earn a total of 35,000 Starwood points on the personal and small business versions of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express cards after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
You’ll also get perks like:
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, 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
- No foreign transaction fees
- Terms & limitations apply
Plus, the $95 annual fee is waived the first year on both cards!
Cheaper US Flights on United Airlines With Singapore Airlines Miles
For every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to airline partners, you’ll get 5,000 bonus miles.
And because Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, along with United Airlines, you can sometimes book United Airlines award flights with Singapore Airlines miles for less than United Airlines charges.
Using United Airlines miles within North America (including mainland US and Canada) for United Airlines award flights, you’ll pay:
- 25,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight
- 50,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class award flight
- 70,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award flight
With Singapore Airlines miles, you’ll only pay:
- 25,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight
- 40,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class award flight
- 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award flight
So round-trip coach award on United Airlines cost the same with both United Airlines miles and Singapore Airlines miles. But using United Airlines miles for Business or First Class tickets, you’d pay 10,000 miles MORE for the same flights.
For example, I found a decent number of Business Class award seats from between New York and Charleston, South Carolina, through the end of July 2017.
If you want to experience Charleston’s southern charm, 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!
Just remember, 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!
Use Fewer Miles to Hawaii!
When you’re planning a trip to a popular spot like Hawaii, it’s especially great when you can save miles!
Using 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
With Singapore Airlines miles, you’ll pay:
- 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
So the exact same United Airlines flights will cost fewer miles with Singapore Airlines!
You’ll save 10,000 miles on coach tickets (45,000 miles – 35,000 miles). And 20,000 miles when you fly First or Business Class!
Those miles can really add up, especially if you’re booking more than one flight!
Plus, United Airlines charges low taxes and fees, usually ~$11 per person for a round-trip award flight.
How to Book Singapore Airlines Award Flights
1. Transfer from Starwood Points to Singapore Airlines Miles
First, log-in to your Starwood account, then select the drop-down menu under your name, and click “Redeem Starpoints” under “Starpoints & Awards.”
Then select the “Travel” button.
From there you’ll see the option to “Transfer Air Miles.”
Click the “Transfer Starpoints to Air Miles” link.
When you click “Transfer Starpoints to Air Miles,” a pop-up will appear that allows you to select the airline you want to transfer your Starwood points to. You’ll have to enter your frequent flyer number and the number of Starwood points you want to move.
Then click “GO!”
Here 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
And it takes ~1 to ~2 weeks for your transfer request to complete. So this is NOT a good way to book last-minute flights.
2. Call Singapore Airlines to Book United Airlines Flights
Link: How to Use ExpertFlyer
After the transfer is completed, find saver award seats on United.com and 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 to Use Your Starwood Card Sign-Up Bonus to Get to Hawaii
It costs only 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles to get to Hawaii in coach, round-trip.
Because you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus when you transfer 20,000+ Starwood points to one 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!
And you’ll still have 5,000 Starwood points left in your Starwood account.
If you want a Business Class flight to Hawaii (that costs 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles), you could apply for both the personal and small business Starwood cards.
Or, you could convince a friend or family member to share their Starwood points. Because it never hurts to ask. 😉
And don’t forget, you can move points from the other transferable points programs to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. Including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points.
Use Starwood Points for Flights With NO Blackout Dates
Need flexibility in your travel plans? Book any airline you want on any date through SPG Flights.
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!
And with the limited-time 35,000 point sign-up bonus on the AMEX Starwood cards, you can earn enough points for a free round-trip coach ticket to Hawaii!
You’ll save 10,000 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.
If you’re booking multiple award tickets, that can really add up!
Have you booked United Airlines flights with Singapore Airlines miles? Let me know in the comments!