30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles for 20,000 SPG Starpoints – Good Deal?

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American Airlines AAdvantage and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) have teamed up to offer a bonus when transferring Starpoints to AAdvantage, which means you can get 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage Miles for 20,000 SPG Starpoints.

SPG AA transfer

Technically the bonus is only 20%, which doesn’t sound terribly generous – but due to a great SPG quirk, if you transfer in blocks of 20,000 Points it ends up being more like 50%!

Whenever you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to (most) of SPG’s airline partners you get 5,000 bonus Miles – so 25,000 Miles in total. AA are applying the 20% bonus to that 25,000 figure, which means that you will currently end up with 30,000 AA Miles for just 20,000 Starpoints.

Should I transfer?

It depends.

AA has devalued some of the brightest spots on their award chart from a European perspective over the last couple of years, but I still find AA Miles to be a lot more valuable than Avios, for example, if used smartly.

I also value Starpoints very highly too though, for their flexibility and because you can transfer them to programmes with very generous award charts like Virgin America Elevate and Alaska Mileage Plan.

Etihad First Class 'Apartment'
Etihad First Class ‘Apartment’

Flying one way to the Middle East in Business Class now requires 42,500 AA Miles, or 62,500 in First Class, so ~ 30,000 Starpoints or ~ 42,000 Starpoints respectively.

Bearing in mind that you can redeem AA Miles on Etihad and experience what are probably the best premium cabins in the sky (at least in terms of the hard product) on their Airbus A380s, without any ‘surcharges’, that’s not a bad deal at all for a special trip.

I have a reasonable AA balance at the moment so am not transferring speculatively, but otherwise I might have been tempted.

Can I buy Starpoints to transfer?

Yes, you can buy Starpoints here for ~2.63p each (3.5 US cents), but don’t.

If you bought enough to transfer to AA in blocks of 20,000, it works out as essentially buying AA Miles for about 1.75 pence each.

I wouldn’t recommend purchasing AA Miles at that price, but there are occasions when it might make sense – particularly if you just need to top your Starpoint balance up a little bit to get to a multiple of 20,000.

Otherwise, AA are offering bonuses on Miles purchased directly with them at the moment, which can bring the cost per Mile as low as 1.43p each. There will be a full article about that tomorrow, but if you’re in the market for AA Miles, it’s an ‘ok’ price.


No need to hurry

You don’t need to make any hasty decisions because the transfer bonus is on until 14th September.

It’s also worth pointing out that you can put AAdvantage awards on hold for up to 5 days even if you don’t have any Miles in your account. That said, transferring from SPG can take up to 4 working days and the bonus Miles can take up to 7 additional days to post according to the Ts & Cs (I suspect they will post faster than that, and probably with standard Miles, but I can’t say for certain).


This a decent promotion and definitely one worth considering if you have lots of Starpoints. Just make sure that you have a specific purpose in mind for the AA Miles.

Anyone tempted to jump on this one?


  1. Adam says

    Cheers Joe for this article.
    Would you be able to include a quick example in your articles of how many AA miles you would need to transfer to Etihad for a Biz or first cabin flight, im still trying to get my head round the redemption AA table.
    Can you collect AA miles in the UK from their shopping portal?

    • Ian Macky says


      Joe answered your AA portal query that you posted on the Marriott piece I ran yesterday.

      Note that you can extrapolate this offer to include Amex Membership rewards. It basically allows you to convert 1 MR into .75 AA miles, by going 40K MR-> 20K SPG -> 30K AA. Poor value when you consider you can convert MR-Avios on a 1:1 ratio, but it may be useful if you are short some AA miles, and have a good MR balance.

      • Joe Deeney says

        Great point Ian about the Amex MR transfer possibility. I’d happily swap most of my Avios to AA Miles at a 1 : 0.75 ratio (even after the deval), so I don’t think that’s a bad deal at all actually!

    • Joe Deeney says

      Sure, I try to already and will aim to put more in. First things first though, you don’t (in fact can’t) ‘transfer’ AA Miles to Etihad. You use AA Miles to book Etihad (or any other partner). It’s just like using Avios to book BA partners.

  2. Jim says


    Could I ask how you actually hold an award for 5 days without any AA miles in one’s account?

    In the past, if I have been shy of the necessary miles for a Saver award, the shortfall in miles would be highlighted in red on AA.com and the site would seemingly try to re-direct me to the part of the site where I could purchase additional miles in order to then redeem for the award… is there a way to circumvent this “miles-purchasing bit” — if you had miles elsewhere which you were waiting to credit your AA account, I mean, and which were likely to do so within the next five days — so that you could hold the award for five days? Very interesting to know how to do this and if it can be done online, too.


  3. Ian Macky says

    It’s worth noting that this promo will in all likelihood be stackable with the SPG nights and flights promo I ran a piece on a couple of days ago.

    On the assumption that miles arrive from that promo into your AA account exactly the same as a normal SPG->AA transfer, then stacking the two together would mean that for 70K SPG points, you get 5 nights in a Cat 4 SPG hotel, plus 60K AA miles (50K from SPG, uplifted 20% by AA), which is pretty decent. SPG has around 350 cat 4 hotels worldwide. however the only one in the UK is the Aloft Excel.

    Add another 25K AA miles to that haul, and you have enough for a business return From LHR to Abu Dhabi on Etihad (booked with AA miles) with a 5 night stay in the Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi.

  4. Adam says

    Just taken a look at the AA eshopping portal. For $12 you can take out a Wall Street Journal e subscription and comes with 850 miles as a bonus. Roughly £9 for 850, might be of use to some.
    Cancel after sub runs out on the cheap rate or use a prepaid card so money cannot be taken afterwards.
    Some others but mainly US based except £130 for a genetics profile comes with 2300 aa miles, good if you were thinking if getting a genetic profile carried out anyway, i think they are this price usually.

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