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One of the great features of Starwood Starpoints is their ability to be converted to airline miles, usually at a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, when you make transfers of 20,000 points, Starwood gives you a 25% “bonus” when you transfer points to airlines, which means you’re really getting 25,000 airline miles.
Why am I giving you a refresher course on Starpoints? With the news earlier this month that Alaska Airlines would acquire Virgin America, they also announced the integration of their respective frequent flier programs, with 1 Virgin America eleVAte point becoming 1.3 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. In effect, this 3 way partnership means you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to Virgin America, giving you 25,000 Virgin America points, which will then convert to 32,500 Alaska Airlines miles. This means you’re getting a 62.5% bonus when converting Starpoints to Alaska, rather than the usual 25%.
(READ MORE: Alaska Virgin America Transfer Ratio Announced)
Starwood and Alaska were not blind to this development, and announced yesterday that the partnership between SPG and Virgin America would come to an end on January 6th. According to announcement shared by View from the Wing:
SPG has a long-standing partnership with both Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, and was excited to hear the news about the official close of their merger. This presents a great opportunity for Elevate members to join and enjoy all the benefits of Alaska’s award-winning Mileage Plan starting January 9th. Instead, SPG has decided to focus its partnership on Alaska Mileage Plan and end its partnership with Virgin America’s Elevate program. This means SPG members will no longer be able to earn Elevate points on hotel stays, or directly transfer Starpoints into Elevate accounts after January 6, 2017.
SPG members will be able to use Starpoints to travel on Virgin America by transferring Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan miles and redeeming them for Virgin America flights on alaskaair.com starting January 9, 2017. Furthermore, SPG members can continue to transfer Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan at a 1:1 ratio – and earn a 5,000 bonus miles when they transfer 20,000 Starpoints to Alaska Mileage Plan.
My takeaway from all this: if you have a bunch of Starpoints but also want to travel on Alaska or their partners (like Emirates), this could present a very favorable transfer ratio for you. Remember, you can only transfer up to 79,999 Starpoints per 24 hour period, so don’t wait until the last day! Additionally, transfers from Citi’s Thank You Points program to Virgin America are also ending in January (1/22), so make sure to get your transfers done sooner rather than later!