New (Better!) Way to Use Starwood Points to Fly United Airlines
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With the new way to transfer points between Starwood and Marriott accounts, folks can get a better ratio converting Starwood points to United Airlines miles by first transferring to Marriott points.
For example, if you transfer 10,000 Starwood points directly to United Airlines, you’ll only get 5,000 United Airlines miles because there’s a 2:1 ratio.
Instead, you could convert 10,000 Starwood points to 30,000 Marriott points (1:3 ratio). Then, transfer the Marriott points to United Airlines and you’ll get a much better deal for your points.
I’ll explain the math behind the points conversion and why United Airlines miles are great for Big Travel!
Transfer Starwood Points to United Airlines via Marriott
Link: Transfer Marriott Points to Airline Miles
Starwood and Marriott each have the options of converting points to airline miles. But the transfer ratios to each airline are not the same for both programs.
For example, when you transfer points directly from Starwood, you’ll get 1 United Airlines mile for every 2 Starwood points you transfer.
I typically don’t recommend converting Starwood points directly to United Airlines miles. Because the ratio is NOT good.
But now you can convert Starwood points to Marriott points. Then, transfer Marriott points to United Airlines miles.
For every 1 Starwood point you transfer, you’ll get 3 Marriott points (1:3 ratio).
For example, you could convert 8,000 Starwood points to 24,000 Marriott points. Then, convert the Marriott points to 10,000 United Airlines miles.
If you initially transferred the 8,000 Starwood points directly to United Airlines miles, you’d only get 4,000 United Airlines miles.
But adding the step of converting to Marriott points results in getting a better than 1:1 ratio for your Starwood points.Note: There are only 5 options for converting Marriott points to United Airlines miles. This means you can’t transfer Marriott points to United Airlines in increments of 1,000 points like you can with Starwood.
Hotel + Air Packages
Link: Marriott Hotel + Air Packages
Marriott also offers 7-night Hotel + Air Packages, which is an alternative way to convert your points to airline miles.
For example, you could transfer 90,000 Starwood points to 270,000 Marriott points (1:3 ratio). Then, book a 7-night stay at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel, like the Renaissance Malmo Hotel in Sweden.
With this package, you’ll also get 132,000 United Airlines miles. That’s enough for 2 round-trip coach tickets to Europe!
And you don’t have to book a hotel stay right away! You could use the 132,000 United Airlines miles for a different trip. Then use your 7-night stay 1 year from the date of issue.
Use United Airlines Miles for Big Travel
United Airlines miles are very useful because:
- They have more airline partners than any other US airline
- They never add fuel surcharges to award tickets
- It’s easy to search for award flights
Also, United Airlines lets you book one-way award seats. This means you could fly to one city and leave from another, or fly there using United Airlines miles and come home using another airline’s miles.
Earn Starwood Points
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
You can earn 25,000 Starwood points after completing the minimum spending requirements on the Starwood Preferred Guest personal card.
This means you could convert the sign-up bonus to 75,000 Marriott points (1:3 ratio). That’s enough to get 25,000 United Airlines miles and you’ll still have 19,000 Marriott points remaining.
Folks looking to book United Airlines award flights with Starwood points will get more for their points by first transferring to Marriott points.
Because the Marriott transfer ratio to United Airlines is more favorable than the Starwood ratio at 2:1. And remember you’ll get 3 Marriott points for every 1 Starwood point you transfer.
You can also transfer Starwood points to Marriott points to book Hotel + Air packages.
Will you book United Airlines award flights using this transfer method?
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