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Starting in 2015, you will only be able to transfer 250,000 Membership Rewards to Delta miles per year and 200,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points to 250,000 Delta miles per year. See Delta FAQ.

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Delta imposed the rule on American Express and Starwood, but it’s so easy to work around that it’s no big deal.

Here’s what membershiprewards.com says about the new rule:

“Beginning January 1, 2015, the maximum number of Membership Rewards® points you will be able to transfer out of a single Membership Rewards account to one or more SkyMiles accounts will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year. Additionally, the maximum number of Membership Rewards points you will be able to transfer into a single SkyMiles account will also be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year.

You are able to transfer Membership Rewards points to a SkyMiles account without any annual limitations through December 31, 2014.”

  • What is the exact limit on transfers?
  • What are the workarounds to basically get unlimited Delta miles from Membership Rewards and Starpoints transfers?

Limits

Starting in 2015, each individual Membership Rewards account can only transfer 250,000 points to Delta miles (whether you transfer to one or more Delta accounts.)

Also, each individual Delta account can only receive 250,000 Membership Rewards (whether from one Membership Rewards account or many.)

The same rules will apply to Starwood Preferred Guest accounts except that the limit is 200,000 Starpoints, which transfer to 250,000 Delta miles since 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 miles.

Workarounds

Membership Rewards

The default is that all your Membership Rewards are put into one Membership Rewards accounts no matter how many cards you have that earn Membership Rewards.

You can instead ask for each card to have its own Membership Rewards account. You can have up to four American Express credit cards, so that would raise the limit to 1,000,000 points per year you can transfer to Delta accounts.

There is also a limit that each Delta account can only receive 250,000 miles per year AND you can only transfer Membership Rewards to Delta accounts with the same name.

Solve both these problems by adding other people as authorized users to your American Express cards and transferring miles to their Delta accounts.

Remember that you can always book anyone an award ticket from anyone else’s Delta account.

Starpoints

The name on the SPG and Delta accounts must match for a transfer to work. You can freely transfer Starpoints to anyone’s SPG account that has shared an address with your SPG account for 30 days.

Split your Starpoints into as many accounts as necessary that share your home address and transfer from their SPG accounts to their Delta accounts.

Book any awards you want from any Delta account.

Bottom Line

I think Delta is trying to stop those people who advertise steeply discounted Business and First Class tickets and then sell folks award tickets. Transfer limits may greatly reduce the number of miles those people can access.

Luckily for those of us that use only a few million Delta miles per year (or far fewer), these transfer limits have very simple workarounds.

The bottom line is that for you and me, these transfer limits will have basically no effect.

If you were confused by any of the workarounds, we can definitely help clients of the MileValue Award Booking Service get their points to Delta miles when necessary.

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