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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

Today’s newbie question of the day comes from TPG Reader Dave via twitter:

@thepointsguy — “If I transfer 25,000 miles to American Airlines, will I earn AAdvantage Gold status?”

The Starwood Preferred Guest program allows you to transfer Starpoints to miles with over 30 airline partners, including American Airlines. One of the best aspects of the program is that you get 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer 20,000 points, so you end up with 25,000 airline miles. Since that’s the threshold for earning American Airlines Advantage Gold status, you might think that merely transferring those points would be enough. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Note: With the current sign-up bonuses on the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card, you can earn a total of 60,000 points when you meet the minimum spend requirement on both cards, which, when transferred to AA, will net you 75,000 miles.

There are a lot of elite flyers out there, and you don’t necessarily have to fly to earn elite miles. You can also get them through co-branded credit cards — Delta in particular is known for giving out Medallion Qualification Miles like candy if you spend a lot on the co-branded Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card or the Delta Reserve Card from American Express. However, you generally need to fly if you want to earn elite status.

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You can transfer hotel points to Southwest to earn lucrative Companion Pass status. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

One (sort of) exception is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, which isn’t exactly an elite status, but is still an amazing benefit.  You can actually transfer certain hotel points into Southwest Rapid Rewards that count toward the 110,000 qualifying points you need to earn the Companion Pass. The transfer ratios aren’t great (sometimes as bad as 10:1), but it can still be worthwhile, especially since the pass is valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which you earn it, plus the entire following year.

A better option is Marriott’s Flight + Hotel awards, which allows you to effectively transfer at a much more favorable ratio when you book an extended hotel stay using points. I did this two years ago when I booked 7 nights at the J.W. Marriott in Cannes during the film festival, and my father came away with enough Rapid Rewards points to earn the Companion Pass. Best of all, his pass was valid for almost two full years, since we booked the trip early in the year.

If you fly Southwest, you need to know about this benefit. It’s almost too good to be true, and will likely end at some point, but until then, maximize it.

In the meantime, if you want airline elite status, then get your butt on a plane!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.