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The Best Way to Transfer Starpoints to United

Aug. 21, 2017
3 min read
The Best Way to Transfer Starpoints to United
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One of the reasons transferable point currencies are so valuable is their flexibility. However, points and miles collectors can sometimes be frustrated to find poor transfer rates between points they have and miles they need.

Transferring points from Starwood Preferred Guest's Starpoints to United's MileagePlus can be one of these frustrating experiences. The standard transfer ratio is 2 Starpoints to just 1 United mile. Using the most-recent TPG valuations, that's getting just 0.75 cents of value from a currency we value at 2.7 cents per point. The good news is that there's a better way.

As part of the Starwood and Marriott merger, members are able to transfer points between their two loyalty program accounts at a 1 Starpoints to 3 Marriott point ratio. This opens a much better route for transferring points from Starwood to United, and it's through Marriott.

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Marriott points transfer to United miles based on a graduated scale, varying from 4:1 at the low end to nearly 2:1 when transferring the maximum amount:

Marriott to United transfer chart

However, you aren't limited to just these 8,000-112,000 point redemptions. You can transfer even more points — and get even more value — from Marriott's Air + Hotel Packages.

Marriott Hotel + Air United

Here's a chart combining these two options and comparing it against what you'd get transferring directly from SPG:

StarpointsMarriott pointsUnited milesvs. United miles
directly from SPG
2,6678,0002,0001,333
5,33316,0005,0002,667
8,00024,00010,0004,000
18,66756,00025,0009,333
37,333112,00050,00021,167
66,667200,00055,000*40,833
73,333220,00077,000*44,167
83,333250,000110,000*49,167
90,000270,000132,000*52,500

*Plus a seven-night stay at a Marriott category 1-5 hotel.

As you can see, for every transfer option on this chart, it's better to first convert Starpoints to Marriott points and then transfer to United.

Note that you're required to transfer points from Starwood to Marriott in increments of 1,000 Starpoints (yielding 3,000 Marriott points). Conversely, you can transfer points from Marriott to Starwood in 1,000 point increments (yielding 333 Starpoints). That means, for the 112,000 Marriott point option, you can transfer 38,000 Starpoints to yield 114,000 Marriott points; transfer 112,000 Marriott points to 50,000 United miles; then transfer your remaining balance of 2,000 Marriott points back to SPG to yield 667 Starpoints. So, you'll only have spent 37,333 Starpoints for 50,000 United miles, and you don't have keep points in a Marriott account you might not use.

What's your favorite United MileagePlus redemption option?

Featured image by United's new Polaris business class. Photo by Zach Honig.