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Let’s run through the best airline transfer options while 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 cardmembership. These offers end 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.

Starpoints can transfer to 30+ different types of airline miles by logging into your account and going to this page.

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For every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, Starwood adds 5,000 bonus points. That means for 1:1 transfer partners, 20k SPG points in your account equals 25,000 miles.

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The best transfer partner for your Starpoints depends on your trip goal. There are scenarios under which at least a dozen of the partners would be your best option. However, I think there are four that are generally the best option for a large number of awards.

  1. Asiana Miles
  2. Aeroplan Miles during a frequent transfer bonus
  3. Alaska Miles

Plus, as of September 2016, you can transfer Starpoints to Marriott points at a rate of 1 to 3. Because of a partnership between Marriott and United, you can transfer from SPG to Marriott to United at a favorable rate of 18,667 SPG = 25,000 United, which is the fourth entry on the best partners list.

1. Asiana Miles

In my Top 11 Most Valuable Miles post, I have Asiana miles worth 2 cents each.

High Value Awards: USA to Southern South America in Business Class for 35k Miles and no fuel surcharges, USA to Europe in Lufthansa First for 50k Miles Plus Fuel Surcharges

To some regions, Asiana’s award chart is so under-priced that some awards are a good deal even after fuel surcharges. Plus, I love flying to South America, and no Star Alliance flights to South America have fuel surcharges, meaning I get the insanely good award chart without having to pay much cash out of pocket.

There is an Asiana credit card that earns a 30,000 mile sign up bonus, 3x on Asiana purchases, and 2x on gas and groceries.

2. Aeroplan Miles During a Transfer Bonus

I value Aeroplan miles only at 1.4 cents each because its chart is fair, but not cheap, and it collects fuel surcharges on many partners, but not nearly all.

High Value Awards: USA to Western Europe in Business Class or Southern South America for 55k miles and no fuel surcharges, USA to Asia in Business Class for 75k or 77.5k miles and no fuel surcharges

As you can see, those are not nearly as cheap as the listed Asiana awards, but Aeroplan has frequent transfer bonuses during which it offers extra miles for transferring in SPG points. One ran last year in March and April, and I expect it to run again next month.

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During that transfer bonus, 160,000 Starpoints = 255,000 Aeroplan miles, which is enough to offset the not-quite-cheap chart as long as you only fly partners with no fuel surcharges on Aeroplan awards:

  • United
  • Singapore
  • South African
  • Egyptair
  • Air China
  • Ethiopian
  • Avianca
  • TACA
  • Copa
  • Swiss
  • Turkish
  • Brussels
  • Scandinavian

Aeroplan is also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

3. Alaska Airlines Miles

I value Alaska miles at 1.75 cents each for the cheap award charts and variety of partners from oneworld, SkyTeam, and un-allied airlines.

High Value Awards: USA to Fiji to New Zealand or Australia for only 55,000 miles one way in Business Class with a free stopover in Fiji; 70k Alaska miles from the United States to Delhi with a free stopover in Japan on Japan Airlines First Class; Cathay Pacific First Class to Asia plus Business Class to South Africa for 70,000 miles total with free stopover

Alaska only collects fuel surcharges on British Airways flights and offers great chances to add stopovers or free one ways to one way awards.

Beyond SPG transfers, there are churnable Alaska Airlines credit cards to pick up the miles.

4. United Miles

I value United miles at 1.6 cents each. The best value United awards are somewhat less awesome than the other three types of miles on this list, but United has more good value awards than those programs.

High Value Awards: Economy awards worldwide, United Polaris (Business Class) awards, awards with a free one way

United is part of the biggest and best alliance–the Star Alliance–with the most award space. I find better award space on United’s partners to most parts of the world than I do on any other airline alliance.

United never collects fuel surcharges on awards. The ability to book flights on all of the Star Alliance without fuel surcharges is incredible. Aeroplan and Asiana above are both in the Star Alliance, but they both collect fuel surcharges on the majority of awards.

On roundtrip United awards, you can get creative and add free one way segments.

United miles are easy to collect in bunches. There are big sign up bonuses available on a half dozen cards that earn United miles or Ultimate Rewards, which can be transferred to United miles.

Do you have a different favorite transfer partner for SPG points? Share it in the comments.

Don’t forget the SPG personal and business credit cards are currently offering their biggest sign up bonuses ever–35,000 points each.

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.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

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