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Starpoints normally cost ~2.46p (3.5 cents), so with the 35% Starpoints discount, you’re looking at about 1.6p (2.275 cents) each.
As usual, your SPG account has to be at least 14 days old to participate and you can only purchase a maximum of 30,000 Starpoints per calendar year (fairly easy to get around if you want more).
Starpoints can be transferred to a vast array of airline partners at a generous 1:1 rate – with an additional 5,000 Miles bonus when you transfer in blocks of 20,000. For example, if you bought 20,000 Starpoints for ~£320, you could transfer them over to Alaska Mileage Plan and receive 25,000 Alaska Miles. In other words, your cost per Alaska Mile would be just ~1.28p per Mile, which is very good.
Used smartly, discounted Starpoints can unlock some tremendous redemption values in Business Class and First Class across a range of different airlines – here are some of my favourites.
Transferring to Alaska Mileage Plan
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 1.28p per Mile, that works out at about £545. To book the same flight with Avios, BA would charge 90,000 Avios!
Intra-Asia on JAL
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 £320. That’s just one example out of many possible options – you can really have some fun with this one, as I explained in more detail here.
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 =~£800. For an extra 7,500 Miles (~£96) 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 = ~£770.
Similar to the example above, you could fly in First Class on the USA – Tokyo leg for an additional ~£128 (10,000 Miles).
Remember that there are no surcharges when redeeming Alaska Miles for flights on Cathay or JAL, so you’d only need to add on relatively minor taxes/airport fees in most cases (flying from the UK does, of course, attract hefty Air Passenger Duty!).
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 A380 Business Class for 42,500 Miles or the outrageous First Class ‘Apartments’ for 62,500 Miles, for travel between the Europe and the Middle East (+ Indian Subcontinent) regions. At 1.28p per Mile, that’s ~£545 for Business Class one way, or ~£800 for First Class. There aren’t any surcharges when redeeming AA Miles for Etihad flights.
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles have lots of great uses and are certainly worth considering buying at an effective 1.28p each – although I would advise transferring American Express Membership Rewards Points across at a 1:1 rate, rather than buying, ideally.
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).
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 1.28p per Mile, you’re looking at about £580.
Remember there are no surcharges when redeeming KrisFlyer Miles on Singapore Airlines these days.
Other KrisFlyer highlights include:
Business Class between Europe and the Middle East for 25,000 Miles (~£320) one way on Star Alliance partners.
Fly a quarter of the way around the world for 12,500 Miles (~£160). Note that the Business Class price is now 28,000 Miles rather than 17,500, in the new award chart.
Another option you might want to consider is the 25% conversion bonus that Aeroplan (Air Canada) is offering at the moment. 20,000 Starpoints ordinarily gets you 25,000 Aeroplan Miles, but until 16th April 2018 you’d end up with 31,250!
Return Business Class flights between Western Europe and the USA require 110,000 Miles, and include 2 free stopovers (+ destination), which could be an excellent deal if you’re looking to book a big trip. Make sure you stick to redeeming for Swiss, Brussels, Turkish, United or SAS though to avoid heavy surcharges.
Remember that the 35% SPG Starpoint discount ends tonight!
What’s your favourite redemption sweet spot?