UPDATE: SPG has merged with Marriott. See the new Marriott Airline Transfer Partners here.
With the SPG-Marriott merger coming up, I thought it would be a good time to review all the SPG transfer partners airlines. I am a big fan of Starpoints and one of the best features of the Starwood program is that in addition to using SPG points for free hotel award stays, you can also convert Starpoints to airline miles.
Starwood automatically adds another 5,000 Starpoints bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred to one of their many airline partners which makes the transfers more valuable. This means 20,000 Starpoints will convert to 25,000 miles for most airline partners.
List of SPG Transfer Partners Airlines
Currently, SPG has 34 airline transfer partners. Most of these transfer at a 1:1 ratio (meaning 1,000 Starpoints transfer to 1,000 miles) unless otherwise noted.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Exchange Ratio (Starpoints:Miles)|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1|
|Air China Companion||1:1|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||65:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1:1|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||1:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1|
|China Eastern Airlines||1:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1:1|
|LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass||1:1|
|LifeMiles® of Avianca||1:1|
|Miles and More||1:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||1:1|
|United Mileage Plus||2:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1|
Here is a link of all the SPG transfer partners airlines from the Starwood website.
For every 20,000 Starpoints transferred within the same transaction, Starwood will automatically add another 5,000 Starpoints so it is best to transfer points in increments of 20,000. This effectively increases the exchange ratio from 1:1 to 1:1.25 for most airlines. In general, you can transfer up to 79,999 Starpoints per transaction per program within a 24-hour period but you should cap your transfers to 60,000 rather than transfer the full 79,999 Starpoints as you are 1 point away from missing out on another 5,000 bonus.
Unfortunately, unlike some other flexible points currencies, transfers from SPG points to miles are not instantaneous so there is a risk the award you would like to book will be gone by the time the transfer goes through. The transfer time varies by airline but usually you have to wait at least 1-2 days and for some airlines over a week. In general, transfers to foreign airlines take longer than domestic airlines. A good place to research transfer times is on flyertalk.
Best and Worst Starwood Transfer Partners
As you can see, transferring to Air New Zealand is not really an option with a horrible transfer ratio of 65:1. I also would not transfer my Starpoints to United Mileage Plus or Gol Smiles because at a transfer ratio of 2:1 you receive only half the miles. (United is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner so you get a better exchange ratio and an instant transfer if you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United instead.)
The SPG transfer partners I personally find the most useful are Aeroplan, Flying Blue, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are also among the fastest to transfer to but there are also other ways to earn miles in those programs including credit cards. For example, there are also several versions of Citi and Barclays credit cards that earn American Airlines miles so it might make sense to earn AA miles from credit card sign up bonuses rather than using your Starpoints.
Many of the SPG transfer partner airlines are also transfer partners of other flexible rewards points programs (Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points) so you might want to transfer points to miles from other those programs instead of Starwood The benefit of transferring from SPG is the 5,000 bonus on transfers over 20,000 Starpoints, but American Express and Citi sometimes offer transfer bonuses larger than 25% for certain airlines. Transfers from the other flexible points programs will likely be faster than SPG transfers as well.
Overall, although SPG has a large number of transfer partners airlines and also adds a 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 points, the fact that transfers are not instant makes transferring Starpoints to airline miles less useful than it should be.
(For a step by step guide on how to transfer your Starpoints to airline miles see related post: How to Transfer SPG Points to Airline Miles.)