(LAST CHANCE!) 35% Off SPG Starpoints -and How to Turn Them into Business Class Bargains!

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Tomorrow (30th June 2017) is the final day to buy SPG Starpoints with a 35% Discount.

(UPDATE: Sale has now been extended until 14th July 2017! – which is great news if you don’t have an SPG account yet, as you can only buy Starpoints if your account has been open for at least 14 days.)

This is the best publically available offer I can remember seeing for Starpoints so I thought I’d post a quick reminder and mention a couple of examples of why you may wish to take advantage.

As always, you can purchase for your account (or receive as a gift) a maximum of 30,000 Starpoints per calendar year and your account must also have been open for at least 14 days.

If you buy the maximum of 30,000 Starpoints, you will pay a price of ~1.76p (2.28 U.S. cents) each.

You can click here to go to SPG’s webpage for buying Starpoints.

Convert 20,000 Starpoints into 25,000 airline miles

Very simple –  if you convert exactly 20,000 Starpoints to one of dozens of airline loyalty programmes that SPG partners with, you will receive 25,000 Miles in that programme. Popular options include, American AAdvantage, Singapore KrisFlyer, Alaska Mileage Plan, ANA, Asiana, JAL etc.

At 1.76p per Starpoint, you would effectively be paying 1.4p per Mile. This is an excellent price for exotic (or hard to accumulate) miles such as ANA or Alaska with great reward charts – and could be made even better if you aim for a Marriott Rewards Travel Package requiring the equivalent of 90,000 Starpoints.

I’ll just stick with the 1.4p per Mile figure, from the straightforward SPG to airline loyalty programme conversions, today though, to keep the numbers relatively simple.

Let’s take a look at my old favourite, Alaska Mileage Plan:

The Alaska award chart has some fantastic sweetspots on it, great partners, and some unique features that really help you to stretch the value you can get from your Miles. The most important aspects to understand are that there aren’t any ‘surcharges’ on most partners and that you can (usually) get a free stopover even on one-way awards!

Examples

Business Class to USA 

Starting with a fairly simple example, you could buy 50,000 Miles for ~£700, via SPGand use them to fly Business Class (one-way) on American Airlines to New York, stopover as long as you like, and then Business Class to Los Angeles – all on the same ticket!

On Off-Peak dates, you could do the same thing in Economy for 20,000 Miles, so ~£280.

If LA isn’t far enough, you can actually get all the way to Hawaii for the same prices!

It’s worth mentioning that AA is pretty stingy when it comes to award space these days so. Regardless of the airline, you should always check to see what award availability is like for the flights you want before purchasing Points/Miles.

Business Class to Hong Kong

You only need 42,500 Mileage Plan Miles to fly (one-way) in Business Class on Cathay Pacific between Europe and Hong Kong. At 1.4p per Mile, that works out at just under £600. To book the same flight with Avios, BA would charge 90,000!

Cathay Pacific Business Class

Hopping around Asia

Business Class on JAL from India to Tokyo (stopover as long as you like), then to pretty much wherever you like in Asia is just 25,000 Miles one-way – roughly £350.

Cathay Business Class USA to South Africa via Hong Kong (or vice versa)

62,500 Miles (one way) for Cathay Pacific Business Class with a stopover for as long as you want in Hong Kong =£875. For an extra 7,500 Miles (~£105) you could upgrade the USA-Hong Kong leg to First Class too!

Unfortunately, Cathay doesn’t offer a First Class cabin on the Hong Kong – Johannesburg leg, or that would be included too.

JAL Business Class

JAL Business Class USA to India via Japan (or vice versa)

60,000 Miles (one way) for JAL Business Class with a stopover for as long as you like in Tokyo = ~£840.

Similar to the example above, you could fly in First CLass on the USA – Tokyo leg for an additional ~£140 (10,000 Miles).

Bottom line

There are many, many other good uses of Alaska Miles – and of course there are dozens of sweetspots on the award charts of Starwood’s other airline partners too. Unfortunately, there isn’t time to go into everything here, but I hope I’ve given you some food for thought, and just let me know in the comments if you’ve got any questions.

Comments

  1. Martin says

    I’m looking to fly to Calagary in August but prices start from £900+ if I fly with AC or £1000+ with BA return. How do I work out the flight cost if using starpoints?
    Many thanks
    Martin

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Martin,

      I would look at the award availability for the relevant airlines for the dates you want, then look up which of their partners (that you can transfer to from SPG) has the best value award pricing for that redemption.

      So, for example, if you found award space on American, you could transfer Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan and it would work out as follows:

      30,000 Miles each way = 25,000 Starpoints (because you get 5,000 bonus Miles for transferring 20k+). You could buy 25k Starpoints for ~£440, so you’d be looking at about £880 + airport fees/air passenger duty etc, in total. The advantage of Alaska Miles would be that you could have a free stopover in each direction, but that might not appeal.

      Given Peak summer dates and travelling Economy, you would probably be better off sticking with cash, but perhaps looking at a creative routing. Maybe mixing cheap Norwegian/Wowair flights for the transatlantic and then a cheap connection to Calgary.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Calgary is going to be tricky with miles/Starpoints, especially on such short notice. Both BA and AC add substantial surcharges to their award tickets. A connecting option is going to be very difficult to find award space for. AA probably fly via Dallas and maybe UA via Chicago or Houston.

      Have you looked at the Canadian airlines Westjet and Air Transat from Gatwick?

  2. Mike G says

    I need to get a biz class ticket from London to HKG for February 2018, does anyone know whether there would be availability this far out?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Certainly should be yep. If the Alaska site is having problems showing availability, the BA site is decent for looking up award availability – then just give Alaska a ring. If you can’t find anything to/from London for the dates you want, it’s worth considering Cathay’s other European destinations too – Manchester, Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich, etc

      • Craig Sowerby says

        Well, the Alaska website is never going to show Cathay availability…

        Looking at the BA website is a good place to start, then call Alaska to book.

        Always a good idea to look at other European destinations, although with 5 or 6 flights a day to LHR/LGW, it’s still generally easier to get to London.

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