Starwood Starpoints To USAirways Transfer Bonus, Should You Do It?

Update: The deadline to initiate the transfer from Starwood to USAirways and still qualify for the bonus is this Saturday, 03/31:

Originally posted on 03/12:

Related:
-USAirways Star Alliance Award Chart

-Getting to Israel with Starwood Starpoints

Transfer Offer:

The blogosphere is all talking about the new Starwood to USAirways transfer bonus running through 03/31/12.

A 20,000 Starpoint transfer to USAirways normally takes about a week and earns 25,000 miles.  For transfers made until the end of this month USAirways will add 50% more miles, for a total of 37,500 miles per 20,000 Starpoints transferred.  Don’t count on it happening too quickly though, USAirways says it can take 6-8 weeks for them to add the 50% bonus.

Value:

Is it worth it? Well that depends on how you value Starpoints and how you value USAirways miles. Personally I’d peg a value of about 2.2 cents on Starpoints and 1.7 cents on USAirways miles, though that number will be highly variable for different people.
As 20,000 Starpoints becomes 37,500 USAirways miles, let me break it down like this for transfers of Starpoints in 20K increments:
(SPG=Starwood Starpoints, US=USAirways miles, cpp=cents per point, cpm=cents per miles)
-If you value SPG at 1.8 cpp then it’s like getting US at 0.96 cpm.
-If you value SPG at 2.0 cpp then it’s like getting US at 1.07 cpm.
-If you value SPG at 2.2 cpp then it’s like getting US at 1.17 cpm.
-If you value SPG at 2.4 cpp then it’s like getting US at 1.28 cpm.
-If you value SPG at 2.6 cpp then it’s like getting US at 1.39 cpm.
-If you value SPG at 2.8 cpp then it’s like getting US at 1.49 cpm.

USAirways occasionally sells their miles for 1.9-2 cents each instead of the usual 3.76 cents each (after fees). Even if you value your Starpoints at 3.5 cents each this promotion would still be getting USAirways miles at less than 1.87 cents each. (3.5 cents if the top amount that Starwood charges for Starpoints, though Starwood themselves often has sales to drop that down to 2.8 cents each)

In summary I think it’s a pretty good deal no matter how you value your Starpoints. Look at the mileage uses section below and see how you can take business or first class trips that would normally cost $5K, $10K, or even $20K for less than the cost of buying a coach ticket at a cost of about 1.17 cents per mile (i.e. 90,000 miles round trip to Hong Kong in business class for $1,050 at a cost of 1.17 cents per mile if you value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each)

Borrow Points:

Don’t have enough Starpoints?  If you have a Starwood credit card you can call up American Express and borrow Starpoints!

Another option would be to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points into USAirways miles via Starwood.  For this month only you can transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards points into 500 Starpoints.  So that would mean 40,000 Membership Rewards points transfer into 20,000 Starpoints which transfers into 37,500 USAirways miles.  In other words you will earn .9375 USAirways miles for each Membership Rewards point.  That’s not incredible, but it’s not the worst usage of Membership Rewards points.  You can also borrow Membership Rewards points by calling American Express.

Promo vagaries:

There is an unclear rule in the promo terms that says, “Dividend Miles members will earn only one bonus when they transfer hotel points into Dividend Miles during the promotion.” Apparently this means that you will only earn the 50% bonus for the first transfer made during the promo period, though that vague statement can also be read in different ways. To be safe though you’ll probably just want to make a single transfer.

Transferring more than 60K Starpoints:

20,000 Starpoints will earn 37,500 miles, 40,000 Starpoints will earn 75,000 miles, 60,000 Starpoints will earn 112,500 miles. You can transfer up to 79,999 Starpoints in a day, which would earn 142,499 miles, but you only earn 1.5 miles per Starpoint on the last 19,999 Starpoints transferred instead of 1.875 miles per Starpoint on the first 60,000 Starpoints transferred. Still that’s better than the normal 1.25 miles per Starpoint on transfers of 20K.

What if you want to transfer more than that? Well you can transfer Starpoints into anyone’s USAirways account, and the limit of 1 bonus is on the USAirways account, not on the Starwood account, so you can make 60,000 point transfer into multiple USAirways accounts and get the full bonus on each account.

Mileage uses:

USAirways is a Star Alliance member so you can use their miles on all partner airlines. While you can’t search for Star Alliance awards on USAirways.com, you can search for Star Alliance awards on other sites like United, Air Canada, and ANA and then call USAirways to book those flights. Remember that partners can only book saver awards.

-Domestic: United operates premium service 3 class planes between JFK and LAX. While United themselves charges 70,000 miles round-trip for lie-flat First Class on their 3 class p.s. planes, USAirways only charges 50,000 miles for First Class within the US and Canada even on United’s 3 class planes. Dividing that 1.875 means that it will cost the equivalent of about 26,667 Starpoints to go round-trip between JFK and Los Angeles in first class. Or fly in coach round-trip for 25,000 miles, or about the equivalent of about 13,333 Starpoints.

-Hawaii: While United charges 80,000 miles in First on 2 class planes or BusinessFirst to Hawaii or 100,000 miles in first on a 3 class plane, you can go on the same United flights in BusinessFirst or first on a 3 class plane for just 70,000 USAirways miles. Dividing that 1.875 means that it will cost the equivalent of about 37,333 Starpoints to go round-trip to Hawaii an any premium class. Or fly in coach round-trip for 40,000 miles, or about the equivalent of about 21,333 Starpoints.

-Israel: It takes 80,000 USAirways miles to fly to Israel round-trip in coach and 120,000 in business class. Dividing those numbers by 1.875 means that it will cost the equivalent of about 42,667 Starpoints to go round-trip to Israel in coach or 64,000 in business class.

-North Asia (China, Japan, etc): It takes 60,000 USAirways miles to fly to North Asia round-trip in coach and 90,000 in business class. Dividing those numbers by 1.875 means that it will cost the equivalent of about 32,000 Starpoints to go round-trip to North Asia in coach or 48,000 in business class.

-Australia: It takes 80,000 USAirways miles to fly to Australiaround-trip in coach and 110,000 in business class. Dividing those numbers by 1.875 means that it will cost the equivalent of about 42,667 Starpoints to go round-trip to Australia in coach or 58,667 in business class.

-Off-Peak awards: USAirways also has off-peak award pricing when flying on USAirways. Fly bwteen North American or Hawaii to Europe or South America for 35K in coach (about 18,667 Starpoints) or 60K in business (about 32,000 Starpoints) or fly between the US48/Canada and the Caribbean for 25K in coach (about 13,333 Starpoints) or 50K in business (about 26,667 Starpoints)

Other things to know before investing in USAirways miles:

-Besides for the dozens of Star Alliance partners you can also use USAirways miles on Bahamasair, Jet Airways, Hawaiian, and Virgin Atlantic.
-It’s worth noting that USAirways and United are in the same alliance, but that doesn’t mean you can just combine their miles. They’ll be happy to book you on each other, but you are subject to the rules of the airline that you have the miles with.
-Although United allows you to book one-way awards with their miles (even for travel on USAir), USAirways does not allow you to book one-way awards with their miles (even for travel on United).
-Although United allows free date changes on awards at least 21 days in advance of the new flight you want, USAirways charges $150 for all changes once you ticket your award.
-Although United allows changes to award tickets at anytime, you can’t make changes to award tickets on partner airlines booked by USAirways once you depart on your first flight.
-USirways and United never charge fuel surcharges, but USAirways does charge a processing fee of $25 for awards in the Continental U.S./Alaska/Canada, $35 for Latin America/Caribbean, and $50 for awards to Hawaii/Europe/Middle East/South America. Still that’s better than the hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges that many foreign carriers charge to use their miles. The nice thing is that at least USAirways does waive the phone fee for Star Alliance awards as those can’t be booked on their website.
(In other words USAirways miles are not as good as United miles, but as there’s no good way to convert Membership Rewards or Starpoints into United miles anymore it’s sort of a moot point. You can still get United miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards points)
-USAirways will hold an award for you for 3 days, and if you make changes to the award it gets extended for another 3 days each time, definitely a nice feature.
-USAirways does allow a free stopover and will allow you to cross over the Atlantic or the Pacific. Their agents are pretty flexible about booking crazy routings, so that’s definitely a plus.

So, will you be transferring points?

HT: Yosef, via DDF

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61 Responses to “Starwood Starpoints To USAirways Transfer Bonus, Should You Do It?”

  1. Al Says:
    1

    Dan,

    Besides not allowing one way awards, US Airways does not allow ANY change to a partner award ticket once travel has begun. This is a huge drawback. If you ever need to return early, your ticket is essentially worthless. I learned the hard way.

    ReplyReply
  2. y Says:
    2

    spoke with lady i know at us airways promo department and she said that it is only on first transfer 🙁
    however she is an airline worker and half the time they are wrong

    ReplyReply
  3. John Says:
    3

    Nice comprehensive post. What do you think will happen if I open a 2nd USairways account and transfer 60,000 starwood into each of my accounts and then merge them after the bonus points post? Think I can get away with that? Or should I play it safe and just transfer them into my wife’s account?

    ReplyReply
  4. TZvee Says:
    4

    how do i open an us airways account? i am in israel and i want to fly this summer to somewhere from here… i.e. greece or spain or even china… how would i go about that dan? any suggestions? is it kiday to transfer my starpoints to usairways? or do i do it to a partner airline. also i have a lot of time till the summer so i dont mind waiting it out. can i transfer for me and my wife? or do i transfer one big amount of points…ok thanks in advance for all ur help!

    ReplyReply
  5. Dan Says:
    5

    @Al:
    Indeed, USAirways awards are not good if you may need to make changes.

    @John:
    You probably could get away with that, but you’re right, it is somewhat riskier then just transferring 60K to yourself and 60K to your spouse so only do that if you absolutely need all the miles in one account.

    @TZvee:
    https://membership.usairways.com/Create/AccountInformation.aspx

    Read the post, look at their award chart that I linked to in the related links section, and decide if it’s worthwhile or not. If you want to transfer more than 60K you probably should transfer to your wife unless you want to use John’s strategy. You’ll have to call them to book any partner awards.

    ReplyReply
  6. dan read this Says:
    6

    dan, i’m almost positive it says in the t&c, that it must be same name on starwoods as us air to get the bonus!!! contrary to what you wrote

    ReplyReply
  7. Rebbi Says:
    7

    Posts are really getting more and more lomdish!

    ReplyReply
  8. john read this Says:
    8

    im almost positive it says in t&c that account has to be open a certain amount of time to be elegible. i dont have time to read everything right now but iirc

    ReplyReply
  9. Akiva Says:
    9

    Dan, thanks as always for all the info. Does a deal like this come around every year or is this a rare occurance?

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    @dan read this:
    Please do not make things up, that is simply not true.

    @Rebbi:
    😀

    @john read this:
    Again, you are back with a new name making even more things up. It’s not a nice thing to do.

    @Akiva:
    Last year there was a deal for a 25% bonus for USAirways (though it was higher if you had a USAir credit card or elite status) and 2 years ago there a 25% bonus for AA, but 50% is very good.

    ReplyReply
  11. dml Says:
    11

    @dan read this:
    I also think that the names on the accounts have to match in order just to transfer from SPG to any account.
    if so, does SPG & USairways allow accounts for minors?

    ReplyReply
  12. Dan Says:
    12

    @dml:
    It’s up to the airline to accept or reject transfers to other people.
    According to all reports USAirways does accept Starpoint transfers to other people.
    In fact most airlines accept them, AA is one of the ones that rejects them and sends the points back to Starwood, but even AA usually accepts them as long as the last names are the same.

    The other option if transferring Starpoints for free to someone else living at your address, but if they’re not already registered at your address for 30 days that can be hard to do unless you have proof from something like a credit card bill at the same address.

    ReplyReply
  13. TZvee Says:
    13

    @Dan:
    i just looked i cant get any flights anywhere! its nuts theres to china that goes thru LAX haahaa i have to travel a million miles to get to the other side instead of traveling direct. also i was just thinking its prob just easier to transfer enough points for my wife and i to my account. its prob to much of a hassle

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    @TZvee:
    You really need to just slow down and read the post. You can’t book partner tickets on usairways.com

    They have dozens of alliance and non-alliance partners that they can book you on but you need to do your own research on other more capable partner websites (I mentioned a few in the post though those aren’t comprehensive) to find those flights and then you need to call to book.

    ReplyReply
  15. al Says:
    15

    how is this cheshbon?
    i got 61k starwoods in one account. i can prob get .02 for each point= $1,200
    60k starwoods= 112,500
    112,500 x .016= $1800
    far better than the $1200

    so whats the down side of transfering all to us airways and selling out?

    ReplyReply
  16. TZvee Says:
    16

    yes u are right dan, i skimmed thru it thinking i understood it all, sorry for that. i will re read it – i will do the research – didnt realize that, thanks – but after i do find a flight with the airline i should call US and they will book it for me thru them? or call the allience and they will book me with my US points? ok thanks so much again

    ReplyReply
  17. dml Says:
    17

    @Dan:
    Thx very much. so would you recommend that i set up usairways accounts for my kids and transfer 42667 to thier accounts? we would like to take a family trip to Israel.

    ReplyReply
  18. easy Says:
    18

    @al: One downside is if you use starpoints for anything else besides flights like hotel stays…

    ReplyReply
  19. yudel Says:
    19

    is anyone else having a problem opening a dividend (us airways) account? I keep on getting error messages

    ReplyReply
  20. Hopeful Says:
    20

    Do you think they’ll have something like this for aa soon?

    ReplyReply
  21. Chaim Says:
    21

    do the miles expire?

    ReplyReply
  22. Dan Says:
    22

    @TZvee:
    For the 3rd time, it’s all in the post.

    @dml:
    Makes sense to me.

    @Hopeful:
    I doubt it.

    @Chaim:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/19537

    ReplyReply
  23. Hopeful Says:
    23

    Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  24. TT Says:
    24

    @Al. Where r u getting 1.6 for us air. ??

    ReplyReply
  25. Mark Says:
    25

    In general, I cannot find a saver-rate business first ticket available on United anymore. Tis is looking months in advance to either Israel or Hong Kong.

    ReplyReply
  26. shalom Says:
    26

    do they charge a extra fee to book within 21 days of travel

    ReplyReply
  27. TZvee Says:
    27

    sorry dan!

    ReplyReply
  28. Dan Says:
    28

    @Mark:
    Airlines often release saver seats within a month of the flight. At any rate there are many Star Alliance airlines to choose from that have better business class than United.

    @shalom:
    Yes.

    @TZvee:
    Don’t be sorry, just read before asking what’s already been answered 😉

    ReplyReply
  29. A Says:
    29

    Is ther any way to combine us airway accounts?

    ReplyReply
  30. Josh Says:
    30

    I am planning a safari to S. Africa NEXT summer, obviously to early to book flights now. I looked at the us Airway award chart and if I change the 60k SPG I will have enough for a ticket to Africa in business. I looked at United, ANA and Air Canada for random dates to see routing (I assume it’s 110k no matter how I get there as long as I book through US Airways)and there don’t seem to be any consistent awards tickets to get there, especially on business. Is there a better way to figure out if it’s worth it, or should I just look into oneworld instead? Thanks

    ReplyReply
  31. Mark Says:
    31

    Thanks Dan. So why arte all my banked Continental points that much better than UsAir?

    ReplyReply
  32. Dan Says:
    32

    @A:
    Sure, if the names are the same.

    @Mark:
    Not sure what you’re asking.

    ReplyReply
  33. Yoko Says:
    33

    @al:

    Who’s giving you .016 per US Air mile?

    ReplyReply
  34. al Says:
    34

    @Dan:
    so does that mean that i could make 2 accounts for myself and call them up and say ooops, i made 2 accounts, can i combine?
    or would they alllow a husband and wife to merge accounts?

    ReplyReply
  35. Josh Says:
    35

    How come you skipped over my comment, I read the post so many times, so I wouldn’t ask any dumb questions, did I still ask a dumb question?

    ReplyReply
  36. Dan Says:
    36

    @al:
    You can always merge 2 accounts under the same exact name.

    @Josh:
    Your question belongs on http://www.dansdeals.com/forums

    ReplyReply
  37. Josh Says:
    37

    Thanks, guess it was a dumb question in the end.

    ReplyReply
  38. a l Says:
    38

    so it would work if i “accidentally” made 2 accounts for myself and called and ask them to merge it?
    also do you have to register for the 50% bonus or will it happen automatically if i make the transfer before the date?

    ReplyReply
  39. aussie Says:
    39

    Qatar and Royal Jordian, while showing on the partner page, still cannot be booked with US DM. And Virgin is only available for economy redemptions. (See first 2 notes at the bottom of their award chart)

    ReplyReply
  40. Robert Hanson Says:
    40

    If you have a Starwood credit card you can call up American Express and borrow Starpoints!

    How many can you borrow, and what is the procedure for paying them back? Is there a charge for this?

    ReplyReply
  41. New DD'er Says:
    41

    Dan,

    With my new 25,000 SPG from signing up for the consumer card, I am thinking of flipping them into US Airways for this bonus. However, I have no idea what I will want these points for when I actually go on vacation, i.e. hotels/flights. If I transfer them to US Airways, can I ever transfer them back to SPG if I need the points for hotels rather than flights?

    ReplyReply
  42. harry Says:
    42

    @New DD’er:

    No you can’t

    ReplyReply
  43. Aaron Says:
    43

    Isn’t one of the big Dow sides of us airways that you can only book round trip tickets?

    ReplyReply
  44. Dan Says:
    44

    @Aaron:
    That would depend on how often you fly one-way somewhere.
    Still this is a cheap way of getting Star Alliance miles that have no fuel surcharges no matter how you value your Starpoints.

    ReplyReply
  45. Mow Says:
    45

    Just did it 120000 spg points to 2 diff accounts thats 225000 usairways points That’s at least 2.6 per spg point maybe even 2.8 great value

    ReplyReply
  46. Wb Says:
    46

    Dan, do you think if I do 60k from SPG on back to back days I’ll get a single 50% bonus on both xfers? Not sure how to read the t&c…

    ReplyReply
  47. Tt Says:
    47

    So if they could be used for virgin and get than I could make flights to india.

    How’s the availablity??

    ReplyReply
  48. al Says:
    48

    transfered them on the 21st. still nothing. should i be concerned?

    ReplyReply
  49. manny Says:
    49

    did any1 get their bonus points yet?

    ReplyReply
  50. Avi Says:
    50

    I transferred 40K to 4 accounts, mine, wife and kids.

    I need 80K per europe ticket, and will have 75K in each. Any good advice on getting the other 20K

    I have 460K sapphire that i would like to keep. But i have 20K on united left(spent 60K going to Europe 2 weeks ago) and a few on Continental.

    80K southwest and 35K spg.

    Tips? other then just tranfering spg.

    ReplyReply
  51. Dan Says:
    51

    @Avi:
    Why do you need 80K for a Europe ticket?

    Hate to break it to you, but you should’ve transferred 42,667 SPG per account if you wanted 80K US in each account.

    ReplyReply
  52. @dan Says:
    52

    I realized after transferring 🙁

    I think if necessary i will transfer 20K spg to 1 account and distribute the 25k across 4 accounts

    ReplyReply
  53. Dan Says:
    53

    @@dan:
    Not that simple to just distribute points once they’re in someone’s airline account. Best to just transfer 5K to each account if you need 80K.

    ReplyReply
  54. Opinions Says:
    54

    “USAirways – No expiration as long as you redeem or earn at least 1 mile every 18 months.”

    Does trasneferring miles from starwoods count as earning 1 mile?

    ReplyReply
  55. Dan Says:
    55

    @Opinions:
    Yes, it counts as activity for both SPG and USAirways.

    ReplyReply
  56. New DD'er Says:
    56

    Dan,

    I truly need to buy you a chanukka present at some point. Question. I am considering transferring 60 SPG to take advantage of this award transfer. (BORROWING SOME OF THESE: WILL I HAVE THEM IN TIME FOR 3/31?)I also have roughly 85k UR points for hotels. If I do this transfer, I will have 112k US airways miles.

    Am I better set up for a vacation with 85k UR for hotels and 112k US Airways miles for flights, or I am better equipped for a vacation with 60k SPG and 85k UR?

    ReplyReply
  57. Dan Says:
    57

    @New DD’er:
    That depends on where you’re trying to vacation.

    ReplyReply
  58. New DD'er Says:
    58

    Well I suppose the question is better refined as this: Are UR points GENERALLY as versatile as SPG when booking hotel rooms? Meaning if I transfer away my SPG, will I have a harder time booking hotels in say Israel, Europe, or Hawaii with only UR points?

    Again I realize this is a really general question, but I am asking in a typical scenario. Please humor me.

    ReplyReply
  59. Dan Says:
    59

    @New DD’er:
    That basically boils down to Hyatt vs. SPG.
    SPG may have some less expensive options, though at the high end Hyatt is generally much cheaper for much more expensive properties. SPG also has more properties than Hyatt.

    ReplyReply
  60. New DD'er Says:
    60

    Thank you Dan

    ReplyReply
  61. ya Says:
    61

    I just read that to redeem us airways you need to pay a 25-50$ fee. Should that be another con with us airways?

    ReplyReply

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