Fly to Asia in Business Class for $114 With Purchased Starpoints and the SPG Business Amex
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One of the questions we get quite often: Does it ever make sense to buy points/miles? The trouble with that question is that it depends on what you’re going to do with the points or miles.
While it’s always better to earn them through credit card spending and bonuses, there are some buy points/miles promotions that are really tempting to take advantage of once you know how to maximize them. And there’s one of those that ends today.
The Buy Points Promotion: Through midnight Eastern on March 16, you can buy Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints with a 35% discount when you buy at least 5,000 points. This drops the price to 2.28 cents per point vs. TPG‘s valuation of 2.7 cents per Starpoint. You can buy up to 30,000 points per account per calendar year.
Maximizing Starpoints: While Starpoints can be used for free nights at Starwood hotels, that’s just one of their many uses. You can also get good use out of Starpoints by redeeming them for SPG Moments and by transferring them to Marriott for Hotel + Air Packages. If you’re looking for award flights, Starpoints transfer to numerous airlines at a 1:1 rate. Even better, if you transfer 20,000 points, you’ll get an additional 5,000 bonus airline miles.
Earn More Starpoints: Since you’re limited to only buying 30,000 Starpoints per calendar year, you’re going to want to rack up some more Starpoints for some of the best redemption options. Well, you’re in luck; the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card From American Express bonus just increased to 35,000 points. At current TPG valuations, that bonus is worth $945.
Flying in Style: Cathay Pacific business class is known as one of the best premium-cabin products. Whether you fly the Airbus A350-900, Boeing 777-300ER or the upcoming Airbus A350-1000 — which will launch from Washington DC — you’re going to get an excellent lie-flat business-class seat and solid service.
Extending the Trip: In addition to offering reasonable award rates, one of the perks of Alaska’s Mileage Plan program is getting a stopover — even on a one-way award. That means you can fly from the US to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, visit Hong Kong for as long as you want and then fly to another destination in Asia for no additional miles. As long as you stay in Asia and stick to flying Cathay Pacific, a one-way award flight costs just 50,000 Alaska miles.
Putting It Together: So, what does all of that mean? When you put all of this together, you can get excellent award options. Let’s walk through it.
Fly to two destinations in Asia in business class for $1,067 before taxes/fees:
By maximizing the Starpoint buy points promotion and topping off your Alaska account by buying Alaska miles, you can get a one-way award flight from the US to Hong Kong and a second Asian destination for just $1,067 before taxes/fees on the award flight.
Start by buying 30,000 Starpoints for $683. Transfer the 30,000 Starpoints to Alaska to get 35,000 Alaska miles. Then buy 13,000 Alaska miles and get 2,600 bonus miles for $384. You’ll end up with 50,600 Alaska miles which can be redeemed for a one-way Mileage Plan award on Cathay Pacific to Asia.
Fly to two destinations in Asia in business class for $114 before taxes/fees:
Instead of buying Alaska miles, you can slash the cost of the above option by applying for the SPG Business Credit Card instead. Since you’ll get 35,000 Starpoints from the bonus, you only need to buy 5,000 Starpoints for $114 to end up with 40,000 Starpoints. After the 5,000 bonus per 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you’ll get 50,000 Alaska miles from transferring the 40,000 Starpoints. That’s enough for a one-way Mileage Plan award on Cathay Pacific to Asia before taxes/fees on the award flight.
Fly to three destinations in Asia and back to the US in business class for $1,185 before taxes/fees:
So, the options above get you to Asia in style. But, unless you’re planning to stay in Asia, you’re going to have to get home. While you can buy a one-way economy flight home or use award miles you have in another program, what if you want to fly both ways in business class while adding yet another destination?
Start by buying 30,000 Starpoints for $683. Apply for SPG Business Credit Card to earn another 35,000 Starpoints. Those 65,000 Starpoints transfer to Alaska Mileage Plan with a bonus to net 80,000 Mileage Plan miles. Top off your Alaska account by buying 17,000 Alaska miles and get 3,400 bonus miles for $503. You’ll end up with 100,400 Alaska miles.
While you could fly Cathay Pacific both ways, your stopover options are quite limited this way. Thankfully, Mileage Plan also partners with Hainan for business-class awards to/from Asia. This will let you make a stopover in Beijing or Xi’an before flying back to the US.
If you want to open your options up a little more, you can buy more Alaska miles with the current 40% bonus to net 110,000 total miles. That will get you a one-way award to/from Asia on Cathay Pacific for 50,000 miles plus a one-way award to/from parts of Asia on Japan Airlines. This will let you stopover in Tokyo or Osaka on the way to or from Asia.
Buying Starpoints with a 35% discount can make a lot of sense for smart airline redemptions. In this article, we just scratched the surface by showing you how you can use this buy-points promotion to fly to Asia in business class using Alaska Mileage Plan awards. There are dozens more options when you start looking at JAL Mileage Bank awards.
Unfortunately, you don’t have much time to take advantage of the current SPG 35% off promotion, as it ends Friday, March 16 at midnight. While this is the best discount we’ve seen, we might see a similar promotion return in the future.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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