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The Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards from American Express come with 35,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 and $8,000 respectively in the first six months of card membership. These offers end tomorrow, April 5, 2017.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

The normal sign up bonus is 25,000 points per card. This is the highest sign up bonus we’ve ever seen on the cards, tied with the same bonus that was offered last year at this time. That is significant for two big reasons:

  1. You can only earn the sign up bonus on an American Express card once per lifetime, so sniping cards when they have a historically high bonus is a must.
  2. Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards are merging, and we don’t know what the future of their separate credit cards (issued by separate banks) will be. This could be the last time we see the 35k offer from Amex.

How Many SPG Points You’ll Get From the Bonuses on Both Cards

If you get both cards, you’ll have to spend $13,000 total in the first six months of cardmembership. In return, you’ll get one Starpoint per dollar spent plus a 35,000 point bonus on each card for a total of 83,000 Starpoints. For every 20k increment of Starpoints transferred to airline partners, you earn a 5k bonus. For example, transferring 83,000 Starpoints to Asiana, a 1:1 transfer partner, would reap 103,000 Asiana miles.

So just what can you do with 103,000 airline miles? Get inspired by reading The Best Four Airline Transfer Partners of SPG Starpoints.

Other High Value Usages of Starpoints

Transferring SPG points to airline loyalty programs is not the only wise way to spend them. You can also…

  • redeem them for Free Night Awards at SPG properties
  • redeem them for Points & Money Awards at SPG properties
  • redeem them for SPG Nights & Flights packages
  • transfer them to Marriott (1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards) for Marriott Hotel + Air Packages.
Starwood Cards = 23 Nights Here

Read more details about the first three bullet points in Highest 35k SPG Bonus Ends Next Week.

Today, I’m going to tell you a little more about the last bullet point, and the most recent opportunity made available to SPG members–transferring Starpoints to Marriott Rewards for the purpose of buying Marriott Hotel + Air Packages.

Marriott Hotel + Air Package Basics

The best value redemption of Marriott points is Hotel + Air packages. You redeem a certain number of Marriott points for seven free nights at a Marriott or Ritz Carlton hotel plus a certain number of miles in the airline program of your choosing. Here is the chart to convert Marriott points to Asiana miles.

Along the left, you see the Category of the Marriott hotel or Tier of the Ritz Carlton hotel where you’d get your seven free nights. Along the top, you see the number of Asiana miles you’d get. At the bottom, you see which airlines these prices apply to. All of the package prices apply for seven nights in a Marriott or Ritz + either 35, 50k, 70k, or 85k miles from any of those airlines.

You aren’t required to redeem your miles and hotel certificate at the same time–you’re essentially purchasing miles that will deposited into your desired loyalty account and a hotel certificate that, while it must be used at the same hotel for all seven consecutive nights, will last for a year after issuance. And if you decide you want a higher category or tier Marriott Ritz after you purchase the package, you can upgrade by just paying the difference in Marriott Rewards.

Which Airlines Belong to Which Package

  • Package 1Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, or Virgin Atlantic
  • Package 2Aeroflot, airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA LifeMiles, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Korean Air SKYPASS, LAN, Lufthansa Miles & More, Multiplus, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Saudia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways Voyager, TAP Air Portugal, or Turkish Airlines
  • Package 3Southwest
  • Package 4 = JetBlue or Virgin America
  • RewardsPlus Package = United (Marriott and United have a special relationship, so you’ll earn 10% more miles buying RewardsPlus Packages)

Check out all the charts for each of the Hotel + Air packages here. For comparison purposes, you can check how many Marriott Rewards are charged for Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels here.

Figuring Out If it’s Worth it to Transfer SPG Points for a Hotel + Air Package 

In general, the more miles a package offers, the better value it is. Follow the steps below to see if it’s worth it to you.

  1. First take your valuation of a SPG point, and figure out how many SPG points you’d need to transfer to Marriott for the potential package. For example, if you wanted to purchase seven nights in a Category 1 – 5 Marriott and 120,000 Alaska Airline miles (Package 1), you’d need 270,000 Marriott Rewards (so 90k SPG points).
  2. Multiply 90k by how much you value a Starpoint. In our case, that would be 90,000 x .025, which is $2,250.
  3. Take your valuation of the type of mile you’re buying and multiply that by the amount of miles you will receive. We value Alaska miles at 1.75 cents each, so in our case, that would 120,000 x .0175, which is $2,100. That is the estimated value of the miles you’re buying.
  4. Take the value of your Starpoints ($2,250) and subtract the value of the miles you are getting in return ($2,100). $2,250 – $2,100 = $150.
  5. You can see it like this: for the difference in the value of your Starpoints and the value of the miles you’re buying, you get seven nights in a the category/tier of hotel you chose. In our case, that means we’re essentially paying $150 for seven nights in up to a Category 5 Marriott.
  6. Whether it’s a good deal or not depends on that difference and how expensive your chosen hotel is. In the case of our example, without even checking out the price of Marriotts, I can say that yes, buying seven nights at a 1 – 5 Marriott for $150 is a good deal. Even if I didn’t use the hotel certificate, I could probably still come out on top if I were redeeming for a high value Alaska award.
USA to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji is just for 110,000 Alaska miles roundtrip
USA to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji is just for 110,000 Alaska miles roundtrip

The moral of that story is to figure out the value of the SPG points you’d be transferring and find the difference between that number and the value of the chunk of miles you’re buying. That difference is what you’re paying for the seven hotel nights.

Bottom Line

Tomorrow, April 5, is the last day to sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card or the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express if you want in on the elevated 35k sign up bonuses. There are multitudes of high value ways to redeem SPG points, which is one of the reasons why we value them so highly at 2.5 cents each.

If you’ve never earned the sign up bonus on one or both of the SPG cards and are therefore eligible, I strongly recommend considering them. If you have any questions or concerns before applying, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll get to them before the end of the day tomorrow.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

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