The Starwood American Transfer Bonus Didn’t End! Extended Through August 31

While the most obvious thing to do with Starwood points is use them for hotel stays, I think the most valuable thing to do with them is transfer them to airline miles.

That’s because:

  • They transfer 1:1 into most airline programs (indeed, more airline transfer partners than Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards)
  • You get 5000 bonus miles when you transfer points into 20,000 miles.

When transferred in 20,000 mile increments, you’re getting 1.25 airline miles per Starpoint with most transfer partners. That means a Starwood is worth at least 25% more than any of their airline partners. I consider them worth even more than that given their option value and their reputation as a store of value (they have less of a history of devaluations than most programs, although far from zero).

The downside is that points do not transfer instantly from Starwood to airline partners. In my experience Starwood transfers to American take 3-4 days. Fortunately American still lets you hold awards under most circumstances for 5 days, so you can lock in an award before making the transfer.

American AAdvantage is offering a 20% bonus on transfers from Starwood. The offer was supposed to end but has been extended through August 31. That means 20,000 Starwood points will convert to 30,000 miles through the end of the month.

Offer Extended! Earn more miles toward your next trip with the American Airlines AAdvantage® and Starwood Preferred Guest® programs.

Now through August 31, 2015, convert your Starpoints® to AAdvantage miles and earn a 20% bonus on the amount of AAdvantage miles you receive from the conversion.

American will be adding that extra 20% within 7 days from the time the transfer posts to an American account. That means the extra bonus won’t show up in time to ticket award reservations held prior to making a transfer. So it’s more a play for future award booking, or for awards you’re confident will remain available, rather than one for locking in an award and then transferring.

It’s a way to leverage those Starpoints for Etihad first class awards, for instance.

You never want to transfer more than 60,000 Starpoints to an airline in a day if you can avoid it. That’s because Starwood won’t post more than 79,999 miles to an airline in a day. 60,000 Starpoints posts 75,000 American miles (and then you’ll get 15,000 more American miles later with this promotion). By capping your transfers at 60,000 in a day, you maximize your 5000 mile bonuses for transferring points to miles.

If you want to transfer more than 60,000 Starpoints just split your transfer across multiple days.

I consider Starwood Starpoints the most valuable rewards currency. This transfer bonus is big, and very tempting, but I have too many American miles as it is. They ran it last July and I didn’t take advantage of it then. I’m going to hold onto my Starpoints this time as well.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. Are you sure 75,000 AA points is the maximum that will post? I don’t want to try it out personally and potentially lose the 5k bonus per 20k but their fine print seems to contradict your numbers – surprising since you’re usually spot on. Did the limits change or is the fine print bogus? If it’s a fine print problem maybe you can get SPG to rectify. Thanks

    quote from fine print on their transfer page from SPG to AA:
    With American Airlines, you can transfer up to 79,999 of your Starpoints® into AAdvantage® Miles at a 1-to-1 ratio. And for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred within the same transaction you’ll earn 5,000 bonus Starpoints, which will be automatically added to your transfer up to a maximum of 94,999 miles per eligible transfer.

    For complete details about the AAdvantage program, visit

  2. @Gary sez: “I consider Starwood Starpoints the most valuable rewards currency.”

    LOL. That is only if you can earn enough starpoints @ 1/$ without going broke! If all you have is the SPG AMEX and you put ALL your spend on it, then you might earn enough starpoints to where the oft repeatedly “most valuable rewards currency” canard may have some validity. But, just repeating a bogus or long-outdated claim does not make it come true!

    If one wants air miles rather hotel points, then the Chase UA cards (either the Explorer or the United) would be better than the SPG AMEX, because one would earn more miles with Chase UA cards that can be redeemed to fly almost anywhere with the 27 carriers of the *A network, without bothering to with transferring anything. I’d shown in this very space that one earns more points with the Chase UA Explorer card than with the SPG AMEX, meaning that one would do even better with the Chase United Club card…really. 😉


  3. Let’sget be real, OW availability sux. Searching a month for award availability from NY, its, SFO, lax to EDI, or entirety of next match/April to tyo has nothing in F or J

  4. @Mike, Gary is right, please re read his post and relate it to the fine print. If you transferred 79,999 SPGs, you would lose the 5k bonus on last 19,000 points because it is not a transfer of 20,000 starwood points. That’s why you should only transfer 60k SPG points at a time that will transfer as 75,000 miles. 79,999 is a daily limit, you can daily transfer of 60,000 SPGs for maximum benefit. A transfer of 79,999 points shows you a total of 94,999 miles in the fine print. I transfer of 80,000 points would net you 100,000 miles….do the math yourself.

  5. @Norita – ah – obviously and of course. Just didn’t follow through the math all the way and correctly…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *