Awesome Redemptions you can Book by Buying SPG Starpoints

Simon Calder

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I recently wrote a reminder that the current 35% SPG Starpoints sale is finishing today (29th December 2017), and mentioned that I’d be sharing some of my ‘greatest hits’ redemptions to show why you might want to take advantage of the sale.

As I demonstrated in that post, through the Starpoint sale,  you can effectively purchase a vast range of different frequent flyer miles for 1.4p each. For some types of miles (like BA Avios) that’s far too expensive, but for more ‘exotic’ miles, it can make a lot of sense. Have a read here for the details.

My original intention was to run a series of posts highlighting some of my favourite redemptions, but then Christmas snuck up on me and now it’s already the 29th of December! Therefore, I’ve put together a less detailed list instead – feel free to ask any questions in the comments if something is unclear.

I’ve already written about how 50,000 Alaska Miles (40,000 SPG Starpoints) could get you to Hawaii one way in Business Class, with a free stopover in the continental US en route. It really is a tremendous redemption though, so if you haven’t had chance to read that post yet, I would recommend giving it a quick look.

Here are some of my other favourites, starting with a few more utilising Alaska Miles:

Business Class to Hong Kong

You only need 42,500 Alaska 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 Avios!

Cathay Pacific Business Class

Intra-Asia using Alaska Miles

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.

As part of a ’round the world’ trip, a redemption like this could be incredible!

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).

AA Miles for Etihad First Class

Moving away from Alaska Mileage Plan (although there’s plenty more to discuss there!), let’s briefly switch our attention to American AAdvantage. AA Miles aren’t as valuable as they used to be, but you can still use them to book Etihad’s incredible new Business Class for 42,500 Miles, or the outrageous First Class ‘Apartments’ for 62,500 Miles. At 1.4p per Mile, that’s ~£600 for Business Class one way, or ~£875 for First Class. There aren’t any surcharges when redeeming AA Miles for Etihad flights.

Yes, Etihad First Class has a 1-1 layout on its massive A380s!

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles have lots of great uses and are certainly worth considering buying at an effective 1.4p each – although I would advise transferring American Express Membership Rewards Points across at a 1:1 rate, rather than buying, ideally.

For example:

45,000 KrisFlyer Miles for SIA Business Class between Istanbul and Singapore (and the rest of Zones 1, 2 and 3, really is a fantastic price. The fact you can connect to pretty much anywhere in South East Asia for free just sweetens the deal even further. Positioning to Istanbul is relatively cheap and easy (8,500-10,000 Avios in Economy if you can’t find a cheap flight).

Singapore Airlines Business Class

Even better (though less practical) is that flights between Zones 1-3 and Cape Town/Johannesburg are also just 45,000 Miles in Business. That’s a ~12 hour flight! If you could work it into a big ’round the world’ style trip, that’s a truly amazing deal! At 1.4p per Mile, you’re looking at about £630. Remember there are no surcharges when redeeming KrisFlyer Miles on Singapore Airlines these days.

Business Class between Europe and the Middle East for 25,000 Miles (~£350) one way on Star Alliance partners.

Fly a quarter of the way around the world for 12,500 Miles (~£175)Note that the Business Class price is now 28,000 Miles rather than 17,500, in the new award chart.

30%+ off KrisFlyer redemptions with ‘Spontaneous

Bottom line

This is all just the tip of the iceberg – I’ve not even mentioned United MileagePlus (via SPG transfer to Marriott and then Marriott Travel Package) JAL, ANA or Asiana Miles for example.

The beauty of buying SPG Starpoints though is that you can transfer them wherever you want them, when you need to. Buying a specific type of Miles carries substantial risk (availability, devaluation, change of plans, etc), but opting for Starpoints instead helps mitigate that. Suffice to say that having a stash of SPG Starpoints can be very, very useful.


    • Joe Deeney says

      Usually pretty good (particularly a couple of days before travel), but bear in mind that Alaska doesn’t let you book JAL redemptions between Europe and Asia, so if that’s what you search for you won’t see anything come up at all.

      • Craig Sowerby says

        Yep. As long as you are willing to position to a JAL destination in the US – as near as I can tell you can’t have a stopover in the US, even when flying there with AS – and have some flexibility on dates, you can usually pick up an F or J award.

  1. Mark Robbins says

    Great article on using SPG points. Would I be able to use Alaska miles to book a redemption on Cathay Pacific in first class from BKK to LHR via HKG and have a 3 night stay in Hong Kong? Would that route be permissible for the 70,000 Miles that is shown in the Alaska reward chart as I would be going east (BKK -> HKG) and then travelling west (HKG -> LHR) or does that not matter?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Cheers Mark! – Unfortunately, the Alaska award chart only allows redemptions to/from Europe on Cathay to start or end in Hong Kong, so it would price as 2 separate awards: 1 Asia-Asia and 1 Hong Kong-Europe. If, for example though, you were starting or ending in the US rather than in Europe, it would be absolutely fine to stopover in Hong Kong on a one-way award to/from anywhere in the Asia region.

      Basically, the Alaska chart has plenty of quirks – some good, some bad.

  2. Pangolin says

    SIA IST-SIN in J for 45K looks like the outstanding deal to me from the list above.

    I’d say that SPG Starpoints are always worth buying up to the maximum allowed limit (30K but sometimes 10K extra allowed later on) when the 35% discount offer is active.

    • Joe Deeney says

      It’s a cracker – especially now the fuel surcharges are gone. It just feels slightly ‘wrong’ transferring Starpoints to KrisFlyer when you can do Amex MR at 1:1 though, even when the the logical value of doing so is clear (if you don’t have any Amex MR).

      • Pangolin says

        Yeah, but I’m all out of MR points and now that I don’t bother putting the Amex Plat in my wallet I generally earn only Starpoints (via the SPG Amex), IHG points (via the IHG Premium & Curve) and Avios here and there.

  3. Sharat says

    Hi Joe,
    Great advice on SPG points. Checking into my account I find that I can only buy them in USD and not in GBP, as I live in UK I would incur currency exchange charges. I can usually pay in GBP when paying for hotels though.
    Is there any tweak that I am missing?

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