Reminder: Amex/Starwood and US Airways Promos Ending March 31

by on March 29, 2012 · 27 comments

in American Express, Starwood, US Airways

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Just a friendly reminder that two current promotions are ending this Saturday, March 31.

1) American Express Membership Rewards to Starwood 50% bonus. This means you get 1 Starwood for every 2 Amex points, instead of the normal 3 Amex to 1 Starwood ratio. While I’d love to see a 1:1 transfer ratio, I’m not going to hold my breath for that. I find Starwood points to be extremely valuable – especially when I use them for Cash & Points. I’m currently writing this post from Le Meridien Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia where I used 1,600 points and $30 per night when the regular room rate was $150 a night. So 1,600 SPG points saved me $120, or 7.5 cents each. Not only that, Starwood now counts award and cash & points redemptions towards elite status and I got a 500 point amenity, free daily breakfast and an upgrade to a nice suite. Plus they just launched new benefits for 50, 75 and 100 nights so I’m really digging Starwood right now and am trying to get towards the 75 night level. Even though I prefer using Starpoints for expensive European stays, it made a lot of sense in this case so I recommend taking a deeper look at the Starwood Preferred Guest program if you haven’t in the past.

2) The second promotion ending Saturday is the US Airways 50% bonus on hotel transfers. I generally recommend using hotel points for hotel stays, but with this promotion you can take advantage of the Amex to Starwood 50% and in essence convert Amex points to US Airways at a near 1:1 ratio. US Airways has a pretty good frequent flyer program with great redemptions like 40,000 roundtrip offpeak awards to Europe in coach, 90,000 mile roundtrips to China/Japan/Korea/Hong Kong in business class and 110,000 miles roundtrip in business class to Australia/New Zealand. Those same redemptions with current Amex Membership Rewards Star Alliance partners Aeroplan, ANA and Singapore may very well cost a lot more in miles and fuel surcharges/fees.
SPG poinst normally transfer to US Airways 20,000 points = 25,000 Dividend miles, so with this promo you get 37,500 miles.

Whether you take advantage of these promotions or not depends on your current point balances and what you want to get out of your points. I personally have about 750,000 American Express Membership Rewards points and lots of airline miles in assorted programs, so I wanted to increase my Starwood balance. I decided to move 200,000 Amex to Starwood and instantly got 100,000 SPG points in my account. I have plans to do New Zealand/Australia in the spring and I want to take advantage of the US Airways 110,000 mile awards so I transferred 40,000 SPG to US Airways, which will net me 75,000 Dividend Miles. I already have a nice balance there from the past couple Grand Slams and Buy Miles promos, so I’ll have enough miles for me and a couple companions if I so choose to be nice to my friends.

I feel good about it because I padded my Starwood and US Airways accounts and still have enough Amex to take advantage of any other transfer bonuses that may come up (like the current British Airways 50% bonus until May 31, 2012). I always preach that diversification is the key towards getting max value from miles and points and I feel that I’ve accomplished that in a smart way by leveraging these promos to lower my exposure to Amex Membership Rewards (wow, I’m starting to sound real Wall Street!)

What are your plans with these promos?

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.

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  • PJ

    could you be a bit more specific on US Airway’s off peak seasons to Europe and to Far East ?

  • thepointsguy
  • Mario

    How did you get sooooo many MR points, that can’t be from signup bonuses?

  • thepointsguy

    Half, or more, from sign-ups. The other amount is from referrals and spend and bonuses. I’m sure there are many other TPG readers with far more Amex points!

  • Stinger101

    It’s actually only 35k off peak in coach to Europe.

  • Eric

    What is a better value, transferring to BA Avios or to SPG?

  • xina

    I do half to BA Avios and half to SPG. I like the short-haul Avios redemption.

  • thepointsguy

    Totally depends on what awards you want. If US-Europe/Australia or for hotels go SPG

    If short haul/north America/south America/Aa go BA

  • xina

    Can I transfer my MR points to someone’s SPG Account? I checked the Amex website, it seems I can’t do that, but I’d like to confirm. Thanks!

  • thepointsguy


  • Corey

    Hi Brian,

    Can you share any of the things folks have told you about Hong Kong? I’m there right now and would love any of the readers suggestions or to meet up.

  • clearedcustoms

    Does US Airways officially allow the Asia stopover on a US to Oceana itinerary at 110k in business or is that considered a YMMV award? Also, if I topped my US Airways account and my girlfriend’s do you think they’d let us fly on a single record locator?

  • PJ

    you might have to add on the recipient as an authorized user ; that was my experience when I transferred 50K with 20K rebate to my daughter’s delta account.

    Sapphire Preferred can take UR from anybody on this planet as I know

  • arcticbull

    US Airways does allow a stopover at the inbound airline’s hub city, although they tend to be a bit flexible there (that’s the YMMV part). I don’t see why they wouldn’t, since mileage requirements are determined by the most expensive transited region, in this case AUS/NZ, and you’re following their hub stop rules. Good luck!

    [edit] As for the single PNR when miles are pulled from multiple accounts, I have no idea, but I doubt it. Shouldn’t make a difference though, should it?

  • clearedcustoms

    That makes sense. Thanks for the confirmation. I’m planning LAX-ICN-SYD for two. I’m new to US Airways redemptions so I wanted to get all my ducks in a row before transferring and purchasing points.

    I agree that they will probably create two PNR’s as we’d be drawing from two accounts. Hopefully it won’t be an issue to get seats together. That’s all.

  • arcticbull

    So US Air is actually kind enough to allow a 3-day hold on award tickets without the points in your account. The transfer will take a while (a week or so) but try calling up and asking them whether it’s valid. They’re pretty friendly.

    Also, you can get your PNRs cross-referenced so they know you’re traveling together even on different itineraries. Just call the operating carrier as soon as you’re ticketed and do advanced seat selection, and problem solved! The cross-linked PNRs help in case of IRROPS/rebooking.

    One last thing to keep in mind is that they won’t allow changes to award tickets after travel has begun, and all changes prior are $150 unless there is a schedule change. Good luck!

  • Ozaer N.

    I have dilemma…I was hoping to transfer MR pts into Delta to book tickets to MRU, but that went up in smoke with this so called Delta glitch…and my MR points is about to expire. I do favor trips to Malaysia, so it a good idea to transfer to SPG and then do the US Airways offer? Its almost 1.1 quickly to the points transfer from MR to SPG?

  • Bohemiana

    My little brain can’t process all this…

    I want to confirm: I can transfer my 20k Sapphire Preferred points to Starwood for 10k? Or I can transfer to BA Avios for 20k miles? Is there a timing issue for Avios (a cut off?)?

    Also, was I stupid to recently use AA miles from LA to Hawaii rather than doing a Membership Rewards transfer to BA and using Avios miles? (It cost 35k me for an AA ticket to Hawaii)

    The truth is other than the Hawaii trip I recently booked, we have no other travel plans so maybe I should keep my MR points for a better transfer deal.

  • PJ

    no go from Sapphire Preferred to Starwood ; yes Sapphire to BA

    right if you can find AA open the availability when you are booking on British Airway website then you are better off with Avios

    DONT transfer Ultimate Rewards into BA if you have Amex MRs . 50 % bonus from Amex to Avios is a sweet deal I will certainly transfer 100K plus to Avios by May 31st unless Amex to Aeroplan can be done with 20 % + bonus as in last December

    If Delta runs the “trasnfer 50K amex get back 20K” promotion again, I will certainly jump on it.

    I need to get out AMex MRs if possible to dodge 5 X175 annual fees

  • thepointsguy

    No Sapphire to Starwood- just American Express. Sapphire Preferred points transfer to BA at 1:1

    I wouldn’t say stupid, but it would have cost less to use BA miles on that route.

    I wouldn’t recommend transferring if you don’t have any travel plans.. but if you have more AA short/mid haul flights coming up, its generally cheaper to use Avios- especially at this 50% bonus

  • thepointsguy

    MR to SPG is instant. SPG to US Airways could take a week or two. As long as you initiate the transfer by 3/31 you will get the 50% bonus.

    Hopefully the Delta AF/KL partner issue will be fixed soon… highly recommend Mauritius.

  • thepointsguy

    No single PNR if booked from two accounts in my experience.

    As for stop, it has to be a Star Alliance hub as outlined here

  • thepointsguy

    Check out the comments on this post

    Email me at tpg at if you want to meet up

  • J and the Boys

    I’m amazed at the Cash & Points deal you got in Siam Reap. Do you have any tips on finding good Cash & Points deals with SPG?

  • Tim

    OK not sure what I did wrong?!?!?!

    Sent over on 53,000 03/30/2012 and today 04/02/2012 only 53k posted.

    I sent over 53,000 from SPG expecting to have a 50% bonus added….but nothing just my 53,000 in my USAir account.

    Also I was expecting 63,000 (which included the 10k bonus (5k + 5k) but that didn’t happen either?!?!

    Please explain…

    From my email

    Frequent-flyer account number: XXXXXX
    Number of Starpoints transferred: 53,000
    Bonus Starpoints applied to transfer:* 10,000
    Transfer ratio: 1 : 1
    Total frequent-flyer miles/points: 53,000

  • thepointsguy

    That’s weird- its a miscalculation- should be 63,000 miles and the 50% bonus may take a couple weeks to post so I wouldn’t worry about that

  • Ddenison

    Apparently bonus points are not posting until June 15th which would have been good to know prior as I did the transfer for an upcoming flight and am now still 7,000 points short.

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