September 2nd, 2011

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Update: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express

I love my American Express points, but I use them exclusively for airline transfers, especially when there are transfer bonuses.

The Starwood ratio is 3:1, which means 1,000 Amex points normally only gets you 333 Starpoints – not a good deal in my opinion. While Starpoints are more valuable, I don’t believe they are 3 times as valuable – maybe 1.5 times.

However from September 1- 14, 2011, American Express is running a 25% transfer bonus, so 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 417 Starpoints. This isn’t earth-shattering, but the first thing that popped into my mind was that this is at least a somewhat better option for people looking to beef up their American Airlines Million Miler status before their new stricter qualification rules go into place December 1, 2011.

membershiprewards.com -> Use points -> Hotels -> SPG

American Airlines isn’t a transfer partner of American Express, so the best way to transfer your Amex points into American miles is via Starwood. Once they are Starwood points, you can then transfer to American and you get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points transferred.

So essentially you want to get your Amex points into 20,000 Starwood increments. I’ll do the math for you – 48,000 Amex points transfers to 20,000 Starpoints, which transfer to 25,000 AA miles. Not the best use of Amex points, but if you need to top up your AA account before million miler status qualification is restricted to flights, this could be an option.

It could als0 be an option to get some Starwood points for the US Airways Grand Slam promo – you’ll need at least 800 Starpoints to get a “hit,” but only Platinum members can transfer in increments less than 1,000 points. So everyone else still would have to transfer 3,000 Amex to Starwood to get 1,251 Starwood points, 1,000 of which can be transferred to US Airways to qualify as a hit. 36 hits and you’ve got 100,000 bonus US airways miles – enough for a US to Europe award in business class.

Frankly, the most effective way to accrue a bunch of Starwood points is just getting a Starwood American Express Personal or Business Card. The current offer is 25,000 points: 10,000 upon first purchase and 15,000 extra when you spend $15,000 within the first 6 months.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.