Reader Stephen M. emails to point out that transfers of points from Starwood to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer are back to 1:1.
They had previously been less valuable in transfers, requiring 2 Starpoints for a single Singapore miles (which also means that Starwood’s transfer bonuses were less valuable, with 1:1 transfer partners a 20,000 Starpoint transfer yields 25,000 miles… with 2:1 partners it takes twice as many Starpoints to generate the bonus).
This leaves United/Continental and Varig as the only airlines where transfers are not 1:1 or better (LAN is 1:2). Of course, there used to be plenty of programs where the transfer rates were 1:2, like Qantas which prior to that program’s award chart devaluation was a uniquely useful option. Plenty of people bought Inside Flyer subscriptions just for the bonus Starpoints, transferred them to Qantas and redeemed on British Airways for Concorde one way transatlantic and first class the other direction. Sadly those days are long gone.
With Continental/United, Chase bank clearly doesn’t like another card – in this case the Starwood American Express card – being a better way to earn miles than their own co-branded Visa/Mastercard products.
The return to 1:1 transfers from Starwood to Singapore is useful, there are times when actually flying Singapore on an award is desirable and there are plenty of routes where Singapore offers better availability to their own members than they do to Star Alliance partners. Singapore offers one-way awards and 15% (or better) discounts for online booking, and for some flights their award chart can be relatively reasonable. Of course, Starwood points don’t transfer instantly so you can’t set up an award and do the transfer in real-time, there’s always risk that availability disappears while you’re waiting for points to show up. And at the same time you don’t want to transfer points and let them sit — Singapore miles expire after three years regardless of additional activity in an account.
Still, improvements in the value of points are always welcome!