Starpoints Transfer Conundrum - Advice Please!

Discussion in 'Starwood Preferred Guest' started by JoeD, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Hi,

    It's the last day to transfer Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan at an enhanced rate (via Virgin America Elevate), and I can't quite make up my mind about the best way to play it, so any thoughts greatly appreciated!

    I can transfer a chunk of Starpoints across to Virgin today so that I would end up with 70,000 Alaska Miles in my account (which is what you need for some of the awesome First Class one-way stopover awards, and is plenty for Biz Class to Hong Kong/USA etc if that's what I decide to use them for instead.

    Given the Points I already have in my Elevate account, I'd need 66,425 more Alaska Miles in total. That's a smidge over 41,000 Starpoints.in total say say 42,000 to be safe.

    The effective transfer rate from SPG to Alaska is therefore ~ 1 to 1.6

    That's an incredible deal, and I'm seriously tempted. It also leaves me with enough Starpoints to transfer to other airlines, book some nice hotels etc as and when I want to..

    BUT - if I instead put all my Marriott and Starpoints together, I could have just about enough for a Marriott flights and hotel package.

    90,000 Starpoints would get me 120,000 Alaska Miles (or Avios, Air Canada, Delta etc, or 132,000 United Miles!) + a 7 night stay at any Category 1-5 Marriott.

    Just taking into account the Miles, the effective transfer rate to Alaska in the above example is 1 Starpoint = 1.334 Miles, or 1.46 United Miles (which I also value very highly, though not quite as much as Alaska Miles).

    In other words, if I transferred the same 90,000 Starpoints to Alaska today via Virgin (you can't do that much in a day and I wouldn't want to anyway, but theoretically) I would end up with 143,000 Alaska Miles, so the flights and hotel package is essentially exchanging 23,000 Alaska Miles (say 20,000 Starpoints) for a 7 night Category 1-5 Marriott stay.

    That would seem like a great deal, as a week at a Category 1-5, is, in theory, worth up to 175,000 Marriott Points (~58,300 Starpoints).

    I don't normally stay in one place for a week though, and there aren't that many nice Category 1-5s these days. I'd personally probably get about half the theoretical 'value' in reality, which makes the 2 ideas pretty much even - hence my current confoundment!

    The other advantage of flights+ hotel package is that I wouldn't be committed to any particular airline programme at this point, but could wait to see what I need.

    On the other hand, Alaska is almost definitely what I'd transfer to anyway and I would be totally committed - as in I'd have used pretty much all my Points, whenever I did make the transfer.

    Nice 'problem' to have for sure(!!!) - but wondered what you guys would do?

    I can argue it both ways but need to make a decision soon, so any thoughts very much appreciated!
     
  2. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie New Member

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    As I wrote in my blog post on Marriott Travel Packages the key to making it work is having a good use for the seven-night hotel stay. If not, you're probably better off hanging onto your SPG points or converting them directly from SPG.

    Don't forget the SPG Nights & Flights, which is 60K SPG points for 5 nights at a SPG Category 3 + 50K miles, or 70K SPG points for 5 nights at a Category 4. You obviously can always spend 40K SPG points on 50K miles, so you end up paying 20K SPG points for 5 nights in a Category 3 (versus the usual 28K) or 30K for the Category 4 (versus the usual 40K).

    In your scenario, if you are paying 20K SPG points for 7 nights at a MR Cat 1-5, you could also spend them on 5 nights at an SPG Cat 3. Most of the time I would prefer the latter...

    The other thing, to add yet more complication, is that you can buy Alaska miles during promo periods for roughly 2 cents each. But there are other airline programmes with really attractive deals (or miles with a hard expiry) where it can be close to impossible to just buy miles. I'm thinking of ANA, JAL, LH M&M (for the monthly promos) So I also try to hang on to enough SPG points to be able to top up those accounts.

    Of course, the fact that there are so many potentially brilliant uses of SPG points is one of the reasons to try to stay loyal to SPG rather than another chain where you only really have the option of free nights and they can devalue you overnight...
     
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  3. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Cheers! - Great points.

    I transferred a little over 40k in the end. I couldn't resist the Alaska Miles at that rate, and hate blowing all my Points at once - particularly given how flexible Starpoints are.
     

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