Not really sure what happened, but I had this scheduled to post over the weekend and it never did. Operator error? Anyway,in case you missed the news….
Starwood Preferred Guest has a valuable loyalty program for lots of different reasons. They have a slew of absolutely beautiful properties around the world. Even though they’re not as large as some of their competitors they have properties where you want them. When I talk to people about Starwood Preferred Guest to people who ask, I use the example that having 5 properties in a sleepy town isn’t really better than having 1. Similarly, in a place like Rome, you don’t necessarily need 5 hotels to satisfy your members.
The value some people miss is that Starpoints transfer at such a great rate to most airlines. Where every other hotel program charges a big price to transfer your hotel points to an airline (sometimes as high as a 10:1 ratio), Starwood Preferred Guest transfers points to most airlines at a 1:1 ratio, and even gives you a 25% bonus if you transfer points in 20,000 point chunks. With very few exceptions (United transfers occur at a 2:1 ratio), Starwood has a long list of transfer partners to help you fly around the world.
They’ve now added a valuable partner to the mix, Korean Air Skypass. The first thing most people are going to say is, “I’m not going to Korea. Why do I care?”. That’s what I thought the first time someone talked to me about Korean. But, there’s value. And, given the changes to some of the US airlines moving to revenue-based earning and redemption, Korean can still get you from the US to Europe for a steal.
Gary really enjoys Asia whereas I enjoy traveling to Europe. That makes my favorite award an 80,000 mile round-trip ticket from the US to Europe in business class. That’s less than my favorite airline, American Airlines, charges for a round-trip ticket in business class (100,000 miles). You’ll pay some fuel surcharges with Korean, but you’ll pay them if you redeem AAdvantage miles for British Airways flights.
This transfer opportunity was already available if you had one of the Chase cards that earned Ultimate Rewards points, like Chase Sapphire or Ink Plus. Although, that option is currently showing unavailable. Maybe it’s going away?
Now, it’s an added value for SPG members and folks who accrue points on their co-branded credit cards. And, like all other airline partners, you’ll earn a 25% bonus when you transfer 20,000 miles at a time.