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One of the best aspects of the Starwood Preferred Guest program is the fact that you can transfer Starpoints to any of 31 airline partners, making them extremely versatile both for topping up account balances, as well as giving you a 25% bonus when you transfer in increments of 20,000 points to most partners.
Starpoints transfer to most partners at a 1:1 rate (with the unfortunate exception of 2:1 to United), but until now, they also transferred at a rate of 1:2 to LAN’s LANPASS frequent flyer program. However, just last week, the transfer rate was reduced to 1 Starpoint to 1.5 LANPASS kilometers – a 25% devaluation.
There had been speculation about the reduction over the past couple of months and now the Starwood website confirms the new figures, stating that you can transfer up to 79,999 Starpoints into LANPASS Kms at a ratio of 1:1.5, although no official announcement was made.
LAN is the premier Oneworld carrier servicing South America with multiple hubs, such as Lima, Peru, Guayaquil, Ecuador, and Santiago, Chile, so Starwood points can be used to book flights or upgrades such as the one I took my mom on in Premium Business Class from Miami to Santiago and Santiago out to Easter Island in May for Mother’s Day.
Although it is now not as lucrative, a SPG to LANPASS transfer could still be a wise choice for expensive short-haul flights (of which there are a lot within South America) and certain other options. For flights operated by LAN, you can find the mileage chart here. But for example, for flights within the Argentina, Chile and Uruguay zone, a roundtrip economy ticket is 24,000 LANPASS kilometers. That would only require 16,000 Starpoints.
On LAN flights to/from the US to Southern South America (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay), you need 70,000 kilometers for economy roundtrip – which would only require you to transfer 42,000 Starpoints. A business class ticket requires 150,000 kilometers, so you’d only need to transfer 80,000 Starpoints (pretty much in line with transferring to American).
On the other hand, if you were just flying to Peru or Brazil from North America, you’d only need 48,000 LANPASS kilometers for economy or 100,000 for Business – meaning you’d just have to transfer 27,000 Starpoints for economy or 57,000 miles for business class – a pretty good deal.
Failing all else, you can still transfer Starpoints to American Airlines and use AAdvantage miles to book your LAN flights. Or possibly even better, you can transfer Starpoints (or Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards) to British Airways and book short-haul flights at sometimes lower mileage levels since BA’s Avios program is distance-based and shorter flights require fewer miles – sometimes far fewer than the LANPASS kilometers needed – and can come in very handy for flights like TPG Managing Editor Eric’s expensive short-haul from Buenos Aires to Iguazu earlier this year.