Update: On April 16, 2018 Marriott made big announcements on the upcoming combined program for Marriott, SPG, and Ritz-Carlton. The programs will combine on August 1, 2018. Between then and February 2019 there will be interim opportunities to earn points, redeem points, and new and changed credit cards from American Express and Chase. From February 2019 the program will be in full effect. See our Complete Guide to SPG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton Changes for analysis of the changes and the latest on upcoming announcements, such as where hotels will be on the new award charts.
The Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program is often thought of as a hotel rewards program. But it’s so much more!
SPG points or “Starpoints” can also be redeemed for flights and train travel! The best redemptions come from point transfers to partner airlines and Amtrak in addition to deals at SPG hotels and resorts around the world.
Try one of these amazing redemptions and your Starpoints won’t go to waste.
Table of contents
- Boost Your SPG Points with These Cards & Bonuses
- Transferring SPG Starpoints to Airline Partners
- 45 Best Ways to Use SPG Starpoints for Air Travel
- Fly Emirates First Class (Mileage Bank)
- Fly Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia or South Africa (Mileage Plan)
- Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Asia (Mileage Plan)
- Fly Qantas First Class to Australia or New Zealand (Mileage Plan)
- Fly Fiji Airways Business Class to the South Pacific (Mileage Plan)
- Fly LATAM Premium Business Class to South America (Mileage Plan)
- Fly Hainan Airlines Business Class to China (Mileage Plan)
- Stopovers on One-Way Flights (Mileage Plan)
- Fly Etihad in The Apartments (AAdvantage)
- Fly Cathay Pacific First Class between NYC and Vancouver (AAdvantage)
- Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Japan (AAdvantage)
- Fly Qantas Business Class to Australia (AAdvantage)
- Fly Qatar Airways Business Class between Doha to Japan or Korea (AAdvantage)
- Fly Air France or KLM with Promo Awards (Flying Blue)
- Utilize Flying Blue’s Definition of Europe (Flying Blue)
- Fly Korean Air First Class (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- Fly Air France to Tahiti (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- Fly SkyTeam Partner to Europe (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- Fly Delta to Hawaii (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- Fly on a Cheap Business Class Award to Europe (Etihad Guest)
- Fly Czech Airlines Business Class from Prague to Seoul (Etihad Guest)
- Fly Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca (Etihad Guest)
- Fly Air Berlin Business Class to Berlin (Etihad Guest)
- Fly Oman Air Business Class (Etihad Guest)
- Fly American Airlines First and Business Class at Pre-Devaluation Rates (Etihad Guest)
- British Airways Travel Together – First Class with a Friend/Spouse (Avios)
- Short-Haul Flights Abroad (Avios)
- West Coast to Hawaii (Avios)
- Fly China Airlines Business Class to Asia (SkyMiles)
- Fly to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (SkyMiles)
- Fly ANA Business Class to Japan (ANA Mileage Club)
- Fly Etihad Business Class to the Middle East and Africa (ANA Mileage Club)
- Fly ANA Business Class to Asia (ANA Mileage Club)
- Fly Around the World (ANA Mileage Club)
- Fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe (Asiana Club)
- Fly Air China in First Class (Flying Club)
- Fly Singapore Suites from New York City (KrisFlyer)
- Fly United Business Class within the U.S. (KrisFlyer)
- Fly United to Hawaii (KrisFlyer)
- Fly First or Business Class to Europe or North Africa (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
- Cheap Flights in North America and to the Caribbean (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
- Fly Business Class to Central or South Africa (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
- Fly to the Remote Provinces of Canada (Aeroplan)
- Fly Business Class to Western Europe (Aeroplan)
- Travel With a Lap Child (Aeroplan)
- Other Ways to Use SPG Starpoints
- Bonus Redemption Option: Use SPG Flights
- In Conclusion
Table of Contents
- Boost Your SPG Points with These Cards & Bonuses
- Transferring SPG Starpoints to Airline Partners
- 45 Best Ways to Use SPG Starpoints for Air Travel
- 1. Fly Emirates First Class (Mileage Bank)
- 2. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia or South Africa (Mileage Plan)
- 3. Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Asia (Mileage Plan)
- 4. Fly Qantas First Class to Australia or New Zealand (Mileage Plan)
- 5. Fly Fiji Airways Business Class to the South Pacific (Mileage Plan)
- 6. Fly LATAM Premium Business Class to South America (Mileage Plan)
- 7. Fly Hainan Airlines Business Class to China (Mileage Plan)
- 8. Stopovers on One-Way Flights (Mileage Plan)
- 9. Fly Etihad in The Apartments (AAdvantage)
- 10. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class between NYC and Vancouver (AAdvantage)
- 11. Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Japan (AAdvantage)
- 12. Fly Qantas Business Class to Australia (AAdvantage)
- 13. Fly Qatar Airways Business Class between Doha to Japan or Korea (AAdvantage)
- 14. Fly Air France or KLM with Promo Awards (Flying Blue)
- 15. Utilize Flying Blue’s Definition of Europe (Flying Blue)
- 16. Fly Korean Air First Class (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- 17. Fly Air France to Tahiti (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- 18. Fly SkyTeam Partner to Europe (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- 19. Fly Delta to Hawaii (Korean Air SKYPASS)
- 20. Fly on a Cheap Business Class Award to Europe (Etihad Guest)
- 21. Fly Czech Airlines Business Class from Prague to Seoul (Etihad Guest)
- 22. Fly Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca (Etihad Guest)
- 23. Fly Air Berlin Business Class to Berlin (Etihad Guest)
- 24. Fly Oman Air Business Class (Etihad Guest)
- 25. Fly American Airlines First and Business Class at Pre-Devaluation Rates (Etihad Guest)
- 26. British Airways Travel Together – First Class with a Friend/Spouse (Avios)
- 27. Short-Haul Flights Abroad (Avios)
- 28. West Coast to Hawaii (Avios)
- 29. Fly China Airlines Business Class to Asia (SkyMiles)
- 30. Fly to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (SkyMiles)
- 31. Fly ANA Business Class to Japan (ANA Mileage Club)
- 32. Fly Etihad Business Class to the Middle East and Africa (ANA Mileage Club)
- 33. Fly ANA Business Class to Asia (ANA Mileage Club)
- 34. Fly Around the World (ANA Mileage Club)
- 35. Fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe (Asiana Club)
- 36. Fly Air China in First Class (Flying Club)
- 37. Fly Singapore Suites from New York City (KrisFlyer)
- 38. Fly United Business Class within the U.S. (KrisFlyer)
- 39. Fly United to Hawaii (KrisFlyer)
- 40. Fly First or Business Class to Europe or North Africa (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
- 41. Cheap Flights in North America and to the Caribbean (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
- 42. Fly Business Class to Central or South Africa (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
- 43. Fly to the Remote Provinces of Canada (Aeroplan)
- 44. Fly Business Class to Western Europe (Aeroplan)
- 45. Travel With a Lap Child (Aeroplan)
- Other Ways to Use SPG Starpoints
- Bonus Redemption Option: Use SPG Flights
- In Conclusion
Boost Your SPG Points with These Cards & Bonuses
|CREDIT CARD||CARD INFO|
|💳 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express|
|💳 Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express|
> 45 Best Ways You Can Use SPG Points
Hot Tip: The Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards come packed with value, check out some of the best perk and benefits.
Transferring SPG Starpoints to Airline Partners
Once you are an SPG member you can use your Starpoints to stay in beautiful Starwood properties, or transfer them to airline and other partners!
Transferring Starpoints to partnering airlines or Amtrak and booking with SPG hotels will give you the best value for each point.
There are over 1,300 hotels and resorts to choose from. When deciding the best way to use points on hotel stays, you can use SPG’s “Nights and Flights” deal to save even more, a great deal that is described below.
Similarly, train travel on Amtrak can be redeemed at a great rate. The best deals depend on the travel distance and seats you choose. See below for more details.
Starwood SPG Transfer Partners
|SPG Transfer Partner (Airline)||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Aegean Airlines||1:1||10 days|
|Air Canada||1:1||5 days|
|Air Berlin||1:1||7 days|
|Air China Companion||1:1||5 days|
|Air New Zealand||65:1||2 days|
|Alaska Airlines||1:1||2 days|
|American Airlines||1:1||2 days|
|Asia Miles||1:1||10 days|
|Asiana Airlines||1:1||10 days|
|British Airways||1:1||5 days|
|China Eastern Airlines||1:1||unknown|
|China Southern Airlines||1:1||3 days|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1||2 days|
|Emirates Skywards||1:1||4 days|
|Etihad Airways||1:1||5 days|
|Flying Blue Air France / KLM||1:1||1 day|
|Hawaiian Airlines||1:1||2 days|
|Japan Airlines (JAL)||1:1||7 days|
|Korean Air SkyPass||1:1||7 days|
|LATAM Airlines||1:1.5||2 days|
|Qatar Airways||1:1||3 weeks|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||1:1||unknown|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||7 days|
|Thai Airways||1:1||10 days|
|United MileagePlus||2:1||2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||1:1||1 day|
|Virgin Australia||1:1||2 days|
All of the above airlines actually have a slightly better transfer ratio than listed. There is a 5,000 point bonus for every transfer of 20,000 or more Starwood points to airlines. This means a 1:1 transfer ratio is really more like 1:1.25.
Hot Tip: Check out our Transfer Partner Calculator for quick and easy calculations of points transfers!
Booking SPG hotels and transferring points to Amtrak do not carry this same benefit. Hotel and Amtrak redemptions still have excellent value, though.
The only limitation to the 5,000 points bonus is that transfers cannot exceed 79,999 in one day.
You will receive 3x the 5,000 bonus points on the first 60,000 Starpoints transferred, but lose out on an additional 5,000 bonus points for the additional 19,999 points you transfer. You must wait until the next day to transfer the rest after 60,000 to earn the maximum bonus.
For example, if you need to transfer 100,000 Starpoints to British Airways, transfer 60,000 today which becomes 75,000 British Avios. Then transfer 40,000 Starpoints to British Airways tomorrow which becomes 50,000 British Avios.
You’ll have a total of 125,000 British Avios for 100,000 Starpoints by splitting between the two days.
45 Best Ways to Use SPG Starpoints for Air Travel
With over 30 airline partners, SPG points provide some amazing options for award flights.
Here are 45 great ways to redeem your SPG Starpoints for maximum value:
1. Fly Emirates First Class (Mileage Bank)
A favorite award redemption for almost everyone is the Emirates first class. Using Alaska miles was without a doubt the favorite program used to book these flights— that is, until the huge devaluation in early 2016.
Now, there’s a better option but one that is often overlooked. With Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank program, you can fly first class on Emirates between the U.S. and the Middle East for 100,000 miles. Keep in mind, a round-trip booking will include up to about $1,716 in taxes and fees.
Don’t forget to enjoy the Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai!
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to book Emirates First Class!
2. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class to Southeast Asia or South Africa (Mileage Plan)
Alaska Airlines provides some amazing opportunities to enjoy premium cabin products. You can use 70,000 Alaska miles for a one-way ticket first class flight between the U.S. and Southeast Asia. To take this flight in business class, you would only need 50,000 miles.
If you think that’s a great first class deal, then you’ll love this: For no additional miles, you can continue to South Africa after a stopover in Hong Kong. Business class to South Africa is 62,500 miles.
This means you’re essentially getting a bonus business class flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg (they don’t have a first class cabin on this flight).
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.
3. Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Asia (Mileage Plan)
A recent addition to Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program, you can now experience Japan Airlines’ great first class product for 70,000 miles from the U.S. to Asia. You can also try business class to Asia for 60,000 miles.
Not only does Japan Airlines have a great first class product, but the service is fantastic. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to visit Asia, don’t forget get check out this amazing option.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Japan Airlines first class.
More options for Japan? Here are the best ways using points and miles to fly to Japan.
4. Fly Qantas First Class to Australia or New Zealand (Mileage Plan)
While not the easiest award ticket to get, Qantas first class definitely should be on your bucket list. For 70,000 miles you can fly from the United States to Australia or New Zealand in luxury.
Long considered one of the top airlines in the world, you won’t be disappointed by the Qantas first class experience.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Qantas first class.
5. Fly Fiji Airways Business Class to the South Pacific (Mileage Plan)
If you have ever thought about visiting Fiji or another island in the South Pacific, check out the business class product on Fiji Airways. For only 55,000 miles one way, you can fly from the States to the South Pacific in business class.
6. Fly LATAM Premium Business Class to South America (Mileage Plan)
If you’re looking for a solid lie flat seat to South America, check out LATAM’s business class product for only 45,000 miles. While South America is a notoriously difficult region if you want a quality business class product, LATAM provides an option on several routes.
Next time your looking for a flight to the region, don’t forget the great value of this award booking.
7. Fly Hainan Airlines Business Class to China (Mileage Plan)
One of Alaska Airlines’ newer partners, Hainan Airlines, provides a great way to get to China from several gateway airports in the United States.
For only 50,000 miles one way, you can fly business class on Hainan to many cities in China. While not as well known as some of Alaska’s other partner airlines, Hainan is a solid option next time you’re traveling across the Pacific.
8. Stopovers on One-Way Flights (Mileage Plan)
When booking a one-way ticket with the Mileage Plan frequent flyer program, you have the option to include a stopover on your journey.
As we noted earlier, you can include a stopover in Hong Kong on your way to South Africa on Cathay Pacific. This is a great way to easily add a second city to your travel plans.
Remember to look into stopover options when booking with Mileage Plan, it’s one of the best ways to get the most out of your miles.
9. Fly Etihad in The Apartments (AAdvantage)
Perhaps the best first class “seat” in the sky is The Apartments. Calling it a seat is an understatement. Each Apartment is really more of a room and the experience is pure luxury from start to finish. For 115,000 American miles, you can fly The Apartments from New York City to Abu Dhabi.
If you can’t make it to New York City for a flight, you can still enjoy Etihad’s highly regarded first-class cabin from several other U.S. cities.
If you’d like to try Etihad’s business class product, you can use 70,000 American miles to fly from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi..
You can also fly The Apartments between the Middle East and Australia for only 100,000 miles. If you’re building a fun adventure around the world, you’ll be happy you included this.
To book this flight, you’ll need to visit Etihad’s site and find “Guest First” space. Once you find space, you can call the Australian call center for American Airlines to place a hold on the ticket. With a ticket held, you can now call a U.S. call center to complete the booking.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Etihad first class.
10. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class between NYC and Vancouver (AAdvantage)
Considered by many to be one of the top first class experiences in the world, you can get a taste of Cathay Pacific’s first class product on this six-hour flight between New York City and Vancouver. A one-way flight will only cost 55,000 American miles.
The easiest way to find award space is to search on the British Airways website. Once you find space, you can call American Airlines to book the flight.
Need help booking? Check out our step by step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.
11. Fly Japan Airlines First Class to Japan (AAdvantage)
If you already have some American miles, consider topping off with a transfer from the SPG program. For 80,000 American miles, you can fly from the U.S. to Japan in first class.
As we discussed earlier, Japan Airlines not only has an amazing product but the in-flight staff are top notch. You won’t be disappointed by this experience.
12. Fly Qantas Business Class to Australia (AAdvantage)
Most of us want to visit Australia at some point in our lives, so why not fly there in style. For 80,000 miles you can enjoy a great business class experience on Qantas, one of the world’s top airlines.
Like several partners of American Airlines, you will need to find availability on Qantas’ website, then call to complete the booking. Start looking early as award space is often sparse.
Need help booking? Check out the best ways to book Qantas business class.
13. Fly Qatar Airways Business Class between Doha to Japan or Korea (AAdvantage)
For only 40,000 American miles, you can fly between the Middle East and Japan or South Korea in business class. this provides a great opportunity to try Qatar Airways’ fantastic business class product.
If you’re departing from Doha, you will also be able to enjoy Qatar’s excellent business class lounge.
14. Fly Air France or KLM with Promo Awards (Flying Blue)
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to use the Flying Blue frequent flyer program is to book Promo Awards. Every few months, Flying Blue runs 25 to 50 percent award discounts on flights to and from different European cities.
With a 25 percent discount, a business class flight to Europe is only 46,875 miles. While Flying Blue does pass on surcharges on award bookings, these Promo Awards can still provide some great options.
15. Utilize Flying Blue’s Definition of Europe (Flying Blue)
A second way in which Flying Blue really stands out is its definition of the European region. Countries like Algeria, Israel, Morocco, and Tunisia are included.
This means you can book one-way business class flights for 62,500 miles. In economy, it’s only 25,000 miles one-way.
If you see a Promo Award to one of these countries, that can take this deal to another level. So, don’t forget Flying Blue when you want to visit Israel or North Africa. You might be able to get an amazing flight for a steal.
16. Fly Korean Air First Class (Korean Air SKYPASS)
If you’re looking for easy access to first class award space, look no further than Korean Air. For 80,000 miles you can book a one-way ticket in first class to South Korea. If you’d like to see Japan too, you can book a stopover in Seoul on your way to Tokyo.
While you can’t book Korean Air first class with partner miles, this actually ensures there is more award space available. Take advantage of that to book an amazing first class experience.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking Korean Air first class.
17. Fly Air France to Tahiti (Korean Air SKYPASS)
A fun, but often forgotten, way to get to from Los Angeles to Tahiti is on Air France. You can use 90,000 Korean miles for a round-trip journey in business class or 60,000 miles in economy.
You’ll notice we mention the round-trip cost for this award. Korean Air requires round-trip bookings for partner airlines. You can book a one-way, but it will cost the same as a round-trip so we strongly recommend a round-trip award.
18. Fly SkyTeam Partner to Europe (Korean Air SKYPASS)
While most many programs will charge over 100,000 miles for a round-trip in business class to Europe, Korean Air only charges 80,000 miles.
For 50,000 Korean miles, you can book a round-trip in economy, which is an absolute steal.
This applies to any of their SkyTeam partners from Delta to Air France to Aeroflot (yes, Russia is included in the European region).
Korean Air does pass on carrier-imposed surcharges, so this can make the cash cost a bit higher than some awards. However, round-trip bookings do allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so you can see more of Europe.
Need help using your Korean Air miles to book Delta One to Europe? Use our comprehensive booking guide to make it easy.
19. Fly Delta to Hawaii (Korean Air SKYPASS)
Without a doubt, using Korean Air miles is one of the best ways to visit Hawaii. A round-trip economy ticket only costs 25,000 miles! Most U.S.-based airlines will charge at least 5,000 miles more.
20. Fly on a Cheap Business Class Award to Europe (Etihad Guest)
Redeem 88,000 Etihad miles between New York City (JFK) and Brussels round-trip. You can also fly this route in economy class for 56,000 Etihad miles. If Toronto or Washington, D.C. (IAD) are more convenient, they are also eligible for the same redemption to Brussels.
Availability can be tough to find, especially in business class, so we suggest planning ahead on this one. It’s definitely worth a little extra effort!
21. Fly Czech Airlines Business Class from Prague to Seoul (Etihad Guest)
Flying Czech Airlines between Prague and Seoul is basically the Europe to Asia version of the Brussels Air options we just discussed. For only 25,610 Etihad miles you can fly business class one-way.
Considering that most economy flights cost more than this flight, you might as well check out this option when flying from Europe to South Korea.
22. Fly Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca (Etihad Guest)
The two previous Etihad redemptions are route specific redemptions, but their award chart for Royal Air Maroc is distance-based.
We’ve done some digging and found a sweet spot redemption for you. Flying between New York City (JFK) and Casablanca in business class for only 44,000 Etihad miles or 22,000 miles in economy.
These are great one-way redemptions to get you to North Africa!
23. Fly Air Berlin Business Class to Berlin (Etihad Guest)
Etihad miles are also a great way to fly business class to Berlin on Air Berlin. From New York City (JFK) you can book a business class seat for 49,000 miles one-way. This is yet another clever way Etihad miles can get you to Europe.
24. Fly Oman Air Business Class (Etihad Guest)
Oman Air doesn’t have the name recognition of some other famous international carriers, but their business class product is highly regarded by all those who have tried it.
If you want to give them a try, Etihad miles provide two award sweet spots you’ll want to check out.
A one-way flight between London and Muscat is 44,000 miles in business class, while a one-way business class ticket between Muscat and Singapore is only 42,000 miles.
25. Fly American Airlines First and Business Class at Pre-Devaluation Rates (Etihad Guest)
Etihad has a fantastic award chart if you want to fly American Airlines. Let’s look at some of these options:
- Fly to Asia 1 (Japan, Korea, Mongolia) for 50,000 miles in business class or 62,500 miles in first class
- Fly to the South Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, etc.) for 62,500 in business class and 67,500 in first class
- Fly to Europe for 50,000 miles in business class or 62,500 miles in first class
- Fly to Asia 2 (China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.) for 55,000 miles in business class and 67,500 miles in first class
American Airlines may have devalued their award chart in early 2016, but you can still get the old award flight rates by using Etihad miles.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking American Airlines First Class.
26. British Airways Travel Together – First Class with a Friend/Spouse (Avios)
If there’s one thing that people always seem to remember about British Airways, it’s that you should expect high taxes and fees. This is especially true for first class flights, even on award tickets.
However, if you have a British Airways co-branded credit card you can earn a Travel Together Ticket. To earn this perk, you’ll need to spend $30,000 on your Chase British Airways Visa Signature® card during a calendar year.
Here’s an example of how the Travel Together Ticket works: you could book a round-trip first class flight on British Airways from Los Angeles to London for 170,000 Avios (“off-peak” award cost) plus about $1,000 taxes and fees.
For no extra miles, your companion can be booked in first class with you. They’re only responsible for the taxes and fees on their companion pass.
Use British Airways Avios reward flights calculator.
Need Help Booking? Read our guide to help you book British Airways First Class using points!
27. Short-Haul Flights Abroad (Avios)
If you need a short-haul flight while abroad, there’s a good chance Avios will be your best option. For flights 650 miles or shorter, you can book an economy class ticket for only 4,500 Avios. This can be a great way to see multiple cities in countries like Japan.
In the U.S., flights that are 650 miles or shorter now cost 7,500 Avios. This can still be a solid deal, but abroad is where you will really maximize the value of short-haul flights with Avios.
28. West Coast to Hawaii (Avios)
Flights to Hawaii are not cheap. Fortunately, Avios provide a fantastic option from the West Coast. You can fly either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines to Hawaii for only 12,500 Avios one-way in economy class.
29. Fly China Airlines Business Class to Asia (SkyMiles)
SkyMiles are often knocked for not providing much value. If you know where to look, though, there are some fun routes to try.
You can fly China Airlines in business class for 80,000 SkyMiles one-way to Asia. If you have a stash of SkyMiles, give this option a look.
For the curious out there, did you know China Airlines is a Taiwanese airline? Their headquarters is actually in Tapei.
30. Fly to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (SkyMiles)
Known for its fun environment, Virgin Atlantic is a fantastic experience crossing the Atlantic. For 70,000 SkyMiles, you can try their Upper Class product.
The advantage to flying Upper Class from the U.S. to Europe is that the taxes and fees will be very low. If trying the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow is on your bucket list, the increase in out-of-pocket cost could definitely be worth a fun lounge visit.
Need Help Booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!
31. Fly ANA Business Class to Japan (ANA Mileage Club)
Before we get into some fun ways to use ANA miles, there are a few important points to remember. Awards must be booked as round-trips and some partner awards include significant taxes and fees.
They also have regular and low season awards for flights operated by ANA, so you’ll want to book low season when possible as they require fewer miles. One particularly great part of their programs is that you can use a stopover and an open jaw.
Now, let’s talk about flying ANA to Japan in business class. During regular season, you can fly business class on ANA for 85,000 miles round-trip and during low season you can do so for only 75,000 miles. If you choose to fly a partner airline, it will always be 85,000 miles.
Taking this trip in economy class will cost 50,000 miles round-trip during regular season and only 40,000 miles during low season.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking ANA business class.
32. Fly Etihad Business Class to the Middle East and Africa (ANA Mileage Club)
While ANA is a member of Star Alliance, they also partner with Etihad. For only 104,000 miles you can fly round-trip on Etihad to either the Middle East or Africa.
For a first class redemption on Etihad, the cost is 195,000 miles round-trip. While this isn’t quite as amazing as the business class redemption, it’s still a great way to try Etihad’s highly regarded first class.
If you fly out of New York City (JFK), you can try The Apartments, Etihad’s premier first class experience only available on routes serviced by an A380.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to book Etihad business class!
33. Fly ANA Business Class to Asia (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA breaks up Asia into two zones. Asia 1 includes China, Guam, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Asia 2 includes India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Round-trip business class tickets to Asia 1 are only 80,000 miles during low season (95,000 miles during regular season). An economy trip will cost 45,000 miles.
Asia 2 business class award flights are only 100,000 (110,000 during regular season) ANA miles during low season, while an economy trip will cost 55,000 miles.
34. Fly Around the World (ANA Mileage Club)
If you’re up for a real adventure (and have a little time), ANA has an Around the World award chart. You can include up to eight stopovers on this journey, three of which can be in Europe while up to four can be in Japan.
Before you start booking, keep in mind that your journey must travel in one direction (east or west) and your trip cannot be less than 10 days. Additionally, you cannot use an open jaw in Latin America, North America, or South America.
Because this is a distance-based chart you can create a trip for as low as 20,000 ANA miles in economy for trips of no more than 2,000 miles. If you want to try something out of this world, you can create an itinerary that has you travel between 44,001 and 50,000 miles in first class. That trip would cost 450,000 ANA miles.
35. Fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe (Asiana Club)
Long a favorite of travelers around the world, the Lufthansa first class experience is one you won’t want to miss. With Asiana Club, you can fly from U.S. to Europe for only 50,000 miles. This award booking with incur some hefty taxes and fees, but for only 50,000 miles it’s still a great deal.
To top it off, make sure you book a flight that allows you to experience the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
Need help booking? See our step by step Lufthansa first class booking guide.
36. Fly Air China in First Class (Flying Club)
Virgin Atlantic’s award chart isn’t high on many people’s list of favorites because of the high taxes and fees charged. Still, you might want to consider a first class redemption on Air China.
You can fly first class, round-trip on Air China for only 75,000 miles. This redemption does include $700 in taxes and fees, but the low mileage cost makes this an option to consider.
37. Fly Singapore Suites from New York City (KrisFlyer)
While there are several options to try Suites class on Singapore Air’s A380, the only option in the U.S. is between New York City (JFK) and Frankfurt.
Without a doubt, Singapore Suites is one of the best first class experiences in the sky. From JFK to Frankfurt, you can try Suites for 76,000 KrisFlyer miles. If the seven-hour isn’t enough for you, fly from JFK to Singapore (with a connection in Frankfurt) instead for only 120,000 miles.
For those who really want to have some fun, fly all the way to Sydney or Auckland, or vice versa. A Suites trip between Sydney or Auckland and New York City (with connections in both Singapore and Frankfurt) is 152,000 miles.
Availability is often better returning to the U.S. If you’re struggling to find award space for your departure, you might consider booking Suites class back to the states.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Singapore Suites or first class.
38. Fly United Business Class within the U.S. (KrisFlyer)
If you need a domestic flight on United, your first thought is probably to book with United miles. You could do that, but if you use KrisFlyer miles you could spend 20,000 miles on a one-way business class flight instead of 25,000 United miles. Who wouldn’t want to save 5,000 miles?!
39. Fly United to Hawaii (KrisFlyer)
As one of the most popular destinations for travelers, we’re always looking for great redemptions to Hawaii.
United charges 22,500, 40,000, and 50,000 miles for economy, business, and first class, respectively. You can do better by booking with KrisFlyer miles as it only requires 17,500, 30,000, and 40,000 miles for the exact same flights!
40. Fly First or Business Class to Europe or North Africa (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
Aegean Airlines might not be the most well-known Star Alliance member, but you don’t want to overlook some of the great value in their award chart.
One particular benefit to using Aegean miles is that they include North Africa and Israel in their European region. For these flights, you can use 60,000 Aegean miles to fly first class one-way from the U.S. or 45,000 miles to fly business class. This is a particularly great deal to Israel.
Like many European carriers, you will be responsible for fuel surcharges so that is something to consider. However, the low mileage cost could definitely make this a good option.
One more thing to remember is that they only allow one connection on award bookings, so plan for that when putting together your itinerary.
41. Cheap Flights in North America and to the Caribbean (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
Why use United miles when you can get the same United flight for at least 10,000 miles cheaper? With Aegean miles, you can fly round-trip to the Caribbean for 25,000 miles in economy class. You can also fly in business class for 42,000 miles (that’s 18,000 miles cheaper than United charges).
These rates also apply to domestic flights on United. While the economy rate is the same as United, the business class rate will save you 8,000 miles.
42. Fly Business Class to Central or South Africa (Aegean Miles+Bonus)
If you’re looking for a great way to get to Central or South Africa, you can use 55,000 Aegean miles for a one-way ticket in business class. For comparison, the same flight would cost 80,000 United miles. That’s a difference of 25,000 miles!
43. Fly to the Remote Provinces of Canada (Aeroplan)
Reaching provinces such as the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon can be really expensive. We’re talking fares of $1,000 round-trip from the U.S, and that’s an economy class ticket.
Fortunately, if you use Aeroplan, you can redeem 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket. This is definitely one of the better economy redemptions for a flight that doesn’t leave North America. Business class fares can easily cost you over $2,000. Again, Aeroplan comes through with round-trip redemptions requiring only 50,000 miles.
If you’re an adventurer, you will definitely want to keep this in mind before a trip way, way up north.
44. Fly Business Class to Western Europe (Aeroplan)
While Air Canada’s Aeroplan program isn’t what it once was, it can still be a great way to get to western Europe. For 55,000 miles, you can fly one-way in business class from the U.S. to places like Paris, Copenhagen, and Berlin. If economy class is more your speed, you can book a flight for 30,000 miles.
Award bookings with some of Air Canada’s Star Alliance partners do include some significant fuel surcharges, so consider that when using Aeroplan. Fortunately, award bookings with some partners–including Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, and SAS–do not include these fuel surcharges.
Even with these annoying surcharges, Aeroplan excels as a program by allowing either two stopovers or one stopover and an open jaw. This makes seeing more of Europe much easier.
Need help booking? Check out our step by step instructions on how to book Lufthansa business class!
45. Travel With a Lap Child (Aeroplan)
Let’s be honest, flying with an infant is already difficult, but some airlines make the experience even more painful. Fortunately, Air Canada has a very reasonable policy that is easy to follow. The price for a lap child is determined by your class of service.
If you fly economy class, the cost is $50. For business class, it’s $100. Finally, in first class you will pay $125. They will let you use miles to cover the cost, but only at a rate of one cent per point, so you’re usually better off just paying for it.
An important point to remember about this policy is that the cost is per booking, not per flight. So, if you book a round-trip award, the price to bring an infant will be the same as if you booked a one-way award. When at all possible, book a round-trip award rather than two one-ways so you don’t have to pay twice.
Other Ways to Use SPG Starpoints
While we love using Starpoints for flights, there are indeed some good options for hotel stays and other options.
SPG Hotels Stays (SPG Award Chart Included)
This beautiful resort in Indonesia is part of the Starwood hotel group and you can book it with your Starpoints.
While there are tons of ways to use SPG points for flights, Starwood Preferred Guest is still a hotel rewards program that provides plenty of hotel award stay options.
How you choose to use SPG points will be determined by what’s important to you. Some prefer to transfer them to airline partners for great flight redemptions, while others prefer to use them for a great hotel stay.
The SPG award chart is split into 7 different categories with the Starpoints needed varying by day of the week. This can create a bit of a headache when determining how many points each will require. Here’s the breakdown:
|Starpoints needed by hotel/resort category|
*The SPG Award Chart has 7 different hotel categories.
You can use your Starpoints to purchase a stay for any date a room is available since there are no blackout dates with SPG. Most hotels don’t charge taxes on top of your Starpoints although some resorts will make you pay a fee.
There are some great options for the lower tier hotels. For example, stay at the category Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa for only 2,000 points on the weekend—a $71 per night value. That’s about 3.5 cents per Starpoint—a great redemption rate!
For the cost of about 11 nights at a category 1 hotel, you can stay 1 night at a category 7 hotel like the Prince de Galles in Paris. Since staying in a hotel like that is well over $1000 per night, it’s usually as good of a redemption rate as a Category 1 stay.
The best deal is to stay for 5 nights since you will get the 5th night FREE on any award stays at any category hotel.
Here are some more SPG property options picked out because of their location, quality, and great redemption rate:
- Category 1: Stay 1 weekend night in an Garden View room at Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa for 2,000 Starpoints
- Category 2: Stay 1 weekend night in a Classic Room at Sofia Hotel Balkan, A Luxury Collection Hotel for 3,000 Starpoints
- Category 3: Stay 1 weekend night in an Classic Room at Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers in Morocco for 7,000 Starpoints
- Category 4: Stay 1 weekend night in an Ocean Breeze Room at Sheraton Fiji Resort for 10,000 Starpoints
- Category 5: Stay 1 weekend night in a Studio Villa at the Le Méridien Fisherman’s Cove for 12,000 Starpoints
- Category 6: Stay 1 weekend night in a Dorian Suite at the Sheraton Waikiki in Maui, Hawaii for 20,000 Starpoints
- Category 7: Stay 1 weekend night in a Superior Room at the Regis in New York for 30,000 Starpoints
Check the SPG website to browse all of the hotels by category.
Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotel Stays
With the merger complete, you can now transfer points between SPG and Marriott in increments of 1,000. The transfer ration is one SPG Starpoint per three Marriott Rewards points.
As Marriott has over 5,700 properties worldwide, this opens up tons of new opportunities for hotel stays. For those of you who enjoy luxury stays at Ritz-Carlton properties, you will also be able to transfer Starpoints to Marriott points to book these rewards.
Marriott provides an easy way to sort properties by category (Ritz properties by tier) so you can find the hotel you need.
Nights and Flights Deals – Full Package Vacations
SPG points can help you experience Disney in Orlando, FL.
When you participate in SPG’s Nights and Flights deal, you get a discount on a 5 night Category 3 or 4 hotel award stay combined with the transfer bonus to an airline partner (at the 1:1 transfer rate only).
The deal is not available for Category 1-2 or 5-7 stays.
At the end of the day, the deal is:
- A 5 night stay in a Standard Room at a Category 3 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for the cost of 60,000 Starpoints (saving 8,000 Starpoints)
- A 5 night stay in a Standard Room at a Category 4 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for the cost of 70,000 Starpoints (saving 10,000 Starpoints)
With this deal, you could fly down to Orlando and stay at the Category 4 Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin for 5 nights.
The Nights and Flights award deal are only available over the phone (1-888-625-4988).
Amtrak Train Travel
SPG points can be used to book travel on Amtrak if you’d like an alternative way to travel around America.
A unique partner of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program is award travel on Amtrak. Amtrak Guest Rewards are fairly difficult to obtain since they are no longer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
So, it’s great that it is a partner of the SPG program.
Amtrak Guest Rewards new program that began on January 24, 2016 makes points worth:
- About 2.9 cents per Starpoint for coach train travel
- About 2.56 cents per Starpoint for business high-speed Acela Express
This is a great way to redeem your Starpoints if you’re not interested in using the points for hotels or flights.
A great way to use Starpoints is on Amtrak’s roomettes and rooms. This is the typical award points breakdown using the example of a trip from Boston to Chicago:
- 11,242 Starpoints in a roomette for 2 people with meals and beds (normally around $332)
- 30,498 Starpoints for a bedroom for 2 people with meals and beds (normally around $844)
This means your trip is between 5,621 and 10,166 Starpoints per person when you share a room with 1 or 2 other people. The roomette and the bedroom are about the same redemption value. So choose either one and get the same deal.
Bonus Redemption Option: Use SPG Flights
SPG Flights is the travel portal offered by Starwood. While not as popular an option as the Chase or American Express travel portals, it operates in pretty much the same way.
Sign in and search for flights through the travel portal, and you can pay for those flights using Starpoints. It will act like a ticket purchased with cash, which allows you to earn frequent flyer miles and elite qualifying miles for the flights.
Starpoints are an amazing currency to help you reach your next vacation goal.
The best ways to redeem your Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints is by transferring to airline and train travel partners or booking hotel award stays.
You’ll get the maximum value for your Starpoints by redeeming wisely and using our strategies. With Starpoints, you can travel around the world on American Airlines, stay 5 nights at Disney’s Swan hotel, or take a train across the USA all for excellent redemption values.
Use your personal Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or your Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express to earn extra SPG points on the go while getting some additional benefits to make your trips even better.