Like clockwork, American Airlines and SPG have a transfer bonus in place. This has happened every year around this time for a while and now has a bit of a twist to it. However, even with the transfer bonus, the regular “alternative” is a much better option.
A New SPG Transfer Bonus Is Here – But the Alternative Is Better
It is amazing how things change in this space over time! A couple of years ago, this transfer bonus was an awesome thing because it meant you could fly in Etihad’s First Apartment by booking it from the Middle East <-> US with AA miles for only 90,000 miles. If you took advantage of a the SPG promo bonus, it worked out to transferring only 60,000 SPG Starpoints to travel in such luxury!
However, today, that same award costs 115,000 AA miles. Also, AA continues to be quite stingy with releasing their own (sub-par when compared to partners) business class seats as awards and even holding back on some economy routes as well. In short, AA miles are not at all what they used to be, though you can still get value from them with various partners (or even on the expensive AAnytime awards).
The New SPG Transfer Bonus
Here are the details for this new SPG transfer bonus to American Airlines:
- From September 1 through October 15, 2017, convert your Starpoints® to AAdvantage® miles and earn up to 30% additional AAdvantage® miles from the conversions. How this works:
- Earn 20% bonus with each conversion
- Earn an additional 10,000 AAdvantage® miles for every 100,000 AAdvantage® miles received from conversions.
- As always, for every 20,000 Starpoints® transferred within the same transaction, SPG® will automatically add another 5,000 Starpoints®. The 20% bonus will apply after this addition.
- Transfer link
Remember, you cannot transfer more than 79,999 SPG points in a 24 hour period and you want to transfer in blocks of 20,000 to take advantage of the 5,000 mile bonus. This means the most you would want to transfer at once would be 60,000 SPG points. That would give you 90,000 AA miles after the bonus. If you were to get up to at least 100,000 miles transferred during this promotion, you would get another 10,000 miles.
So, let’s use 80,000 SPG points for an example. If you transferred that (in two sets – like 60,000 and 20,000) you would end up with a total of 130,000 AA miles. That isn’t a bad transfer bonus offer at all! But, there is an alternative that could be the better option for most people – and it is available all the time!
Using SPG Points to Receive Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages
Because you can transfer SPG points to Marriott (at a 1:3 ratio), it always pays to see what kind of benefit you could get by transferring those SPG points over and using a Hotel + Air package. To get the bottom package of 270,000 Marriott points (which gives 120,000 AA miles and 7 nights at a Category 1 – 5 hotel), you will need 90,000 Starpoints to get started.
Once transferred to Marriott, you can go ahead and call Marriott (800-321-7396) and book a package. They will transfer your points to American Airlines and issue you a certificate for a Category 1 -5 hotel for a 7 night stay. Now, you get 7 nights at a hotel plus 120,000 AA miles. This means you get 10,000 fewer AA miles than you would with the SPG transfer bonus and you need to spend 10,000 more SPG points. So, how is this better?
For one thing, you are essentially trading those miles you would have received for 7 nights at hotel. Even though a Category 5 is still not high-end, you can still get huge value. If I had not made a mistake, I could have easily received over $1,200 in value from that 7 night stay! That is a lot more value than you would get with the extra AA miles!
But, Wait! There’s More…
Finally, there is one other little tidbit. Per zXFDz over at reddit, you can actually call Marriott and get a refund for those 7 nights if you would rather not use them. That will put 45,000 Marriott points back in your account which you can leave there or transfer back to SPG for 15,000 Starpoints. So, if you do this, you will have received 120,000 AA miles for only 75,000 SPG points – a much better deal than the SPG transfer bonus!