Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: up to 30% discount when you buy SPG points, Singapore Airlines drops fuel surcharges

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News in brief:

Up to 30% discount when you buy Starwood Preferred Guest points

Starwood is offering a 10%-30% discount when you purchase SPG Starpoints before 30th April. The link to buy is here.

The discount is staggered. You get 10% off purchases of up to 9500 points, 15% off 10000 to 14500, 20% off 15000 to 19500 and the full 30% off only when you buy at least 20,000 points.

At the top end, 30,000 points will cost you $735 (£600). These can be converted to 35,000 airline miles in the majority of programmes. The price per mile works out at 1.7p, which is certainly not a bargain but less than a lot of airlines charge for buying their miles directly.

Remember that until 8th March, British Airways is offering a 35% bonus if you transfer hotel points from seven major loyalty schemes into Avios – click for my article on that deal.  Even with that bonus this is not a cheap offer.  You would get (35,000 * 1.35) 47,250 Avios for £600 which works out at 1.27p.  I struggle to see the value in Avios points at that price but it may work for you if you have a specific redemption in mind.

The rules are straightforward – points post within 24 hours, maximum purchase of 30,000 points per year, your SPG account must be 14 days old to participate.

If you are interested, you can buy via this link.

SPG Starwood 350

Singapore Airlines drops fuel surcharges on redemptions, but ….

Singapore Airlines announced yesterday that it was dropping fuel surcharges on redemptions on its own aircraft via its Krisflyer scheme.

There is always a snag, of course.

In this case, the snag is that Singapore is removing the 15% discount for online reward redemptions.  As almost all redemptions which didn’t involve partners were made online, this is effectively a 18% price rise.  There has also been some tweaking upwards of reward prices as well.

As an example of pricing, a one way from Singapore to London in Business Class increases from 80,000 to 85,000 miles.  Stripping out the online booking discount and the actual rise is 68,000 to 85,000 miles.  However US$241 of fuel surcharges will no longer apply.  If you value miles at 1p each the impact is roughly neutral.

The changes take effect from 23rd March, so you have a couple of weeks to book at the old prices.

If you are interested in earning Singapore Airlines miles, there isn’t a Singapore Airlines credit card in the UK.  It is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner at 1:1.  You can also pick up miles via the HSBC Premier MasterCard (0.5 per £1) or the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard (£195 fee, 1 mile per £1).

The new reward chart is on the Singapore website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (70)

  • Wally1976 says:

    Please correct me if my maths is wrong but to get best value out the SPG points promo (for avios), buy 20,000 at $490, this then (currently) converts to 25,000 x 1.35 = 33,750 avios giving a cost of (roughly) 1.19p per avios. Still not a great offer but might work for some people.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, that is a better deal. I was in two minds whether to do my example based on 30k or 20k.

      • Melvin says:

        I’m confused, how does 20,000 become 25,00 before the conversion?

        • Genghis says:

          Each increment of 20k SPGs converts to 25k airmiles. As there also a BA bonus on, the bonus goes on the 25k.

        • Rob says:

          What I meant was – my calculations assume you buy 30,000 points and convert to 35,000 miles. If you only bought 20,000 points – and converted to 25,000 miles – it is clearly a better deal on a ‘pence per mile’ basis because you’re getting a 25% bonus rather than a 16% bonus.

  • rams1981 says:

    OT what’s the consensus on using AMEX points to convert to SPG? Worth it or not good use of points? On paper you are getting 0.5p (?) per AMEX point so not that great?

    • Peter K says:

      Depends if using for hotel stay or for flights. For hotel stays Rob reckons 1.5p per starwood point for value (0.75p per MR).
      For airline miles either 0.5p per MR of conversions under 20k or 0.625p per MR point with 25% boost at 20k starwood conversions.

      In other words, stick to direct conversion to airlines from MR direct fire best value with those… Unless it’s a scheme that is not a MR partner in the UK in which case you might accept the lower rate via starwood.

    • Genghis says:

      I can see great value in SPG points (through conversion to Marriott) and I think in my next churn I will keep the SPG card and use it as my main card for a while or until its discontinued – who knows what’ll happen.

      As for converting from MR, I personally wouldn’t unless aiming for one of the reward packages or to pay for a specific great value redemption that you would otherwise not be willing to get.

      • pointsarb says:

        +1 Genghis. The SPG Amex is my favourite card too currently specifically for the Marriott travel packages. Let’s hope they don’t drop this 1:3 conversion benefit….make hay while the sun shines and all that 🙂

      • mark2 says:

        +1 I am finding Marriott redemptions very good value, although not stayed there yet.
        I also used some SPG points at SPGflights.com although not convinced now that that was the best use.

    • xcalx says:

      I have transferred Amex MR to SPG then on to AA when they had a 30% or 35% transfer bonus.
      Used for Etihad Apartment ABU-SYD Plus the £28 tax. Best post BMI Diamond Club award for me.
      I am now looking at transferring SPG to Marriott to combine with Alaska miles, hopefully a transfer bonus will come along when I am ready.

      • Genghis says:

        I’m very comfortable with UK based redemptions – BA, Virgin and the hotel schemes – but have not really ventured into other airline schemes. Any advice on where some sweet spots might lie for a UK based traveller using convertible reward currencies (MR, SPG etc) obtained in the UK?

        • Sundar says:

          @Genghis – Etihad is an option for its partner awards. AA(through SPG) is another option for partner flights – AA miles booked on Etihad (UK-India) is a sweet-spot.

          • Roger says:

            Indeed.
            Booking a family trip one way back from India to UK using AA miles via Etihad. 20K miles plus around £20 in taxes in Y.

          • xcalx says:

            Another sweet spot AA miles to the Maldives flying Etihad from Europe E 20K J42,5K F 62.5K + low taxes.

          • rams1981 says:

            all good points. Hmmm I want to cancel my plat Amex but not sure where to send the points. I am already fairly Avios points rich and have enough Virgin. Any tips? Etihad/Emirates directly seem quite pricey for redemptions from London.

          • kryten22uk says:

            How do you book that? I thought AA didnt allow transit via third region. AUH is in a different region to India or Maldives, so you’d have to do two separate redemptions.

        • Genghis says:

          Cheers everyone. Some food for thought.

        • Sundar says:

          @rams1981 – If you don’t have plans of re-opening another Amex, leave it in MR itself and transfer when a bonus comes. If you are planning to close MR acct, then I would suggest the SPG-Marriott route, pretty popular now. Else, switch to SPG and leave it in there, so you have transferable option.
          @xcalx – How does one collect Alaskan Air miles from here in UK, other than Amex/SPG ?

        • xcalx says:

          Sundar,
          @xcalx – How does one collect Alaskan Air miles from here in UK, other than Amex/SPG ?

          SPG is the main route.
          That’s it for card spend but you can earn miles the old fashioned way “flying” with airline partners, BA included, Hotel and car hire bookings also attract miles.

          One could also try CC on FT to trade Avios for Mileage plan.

  • Melvin says:

    I am very tempted to start collecting SPG points with a view to converting to Marriott.

    I do not currently have accounts in either scheme so wondered if there was any signup bonus possible (excluding SPG credit card)?

    I have 22k Amex MR points currently which added to 30k SPG bought under this deal would give me 156k Marriott points. Would people consider this an uneconomical way to pursue a Marriott travel reward?

    • Genghis says:

      I make it 123k Marriott points you would get:
      30k SPG – > 90k Marriott and 22k MR -> 11k SPG -> 33k Marrriott. 90k + 33k = 123k.
      Unless you have seen a particular redemption and it’s economical, I wouldn’t bother buying these 30k SPGs. We saw larger bonuses at the back end of last year IIRC. But each person is different.

      • Melvin says:

        Thanks for the feedback 🙂

        Yes, my maths was wrong as I forgot to halve the MR.

  • roger says:

    OT- SPG Amex Card
    I have spent the necessary £1000 for bonus 10k miles, but since purchase is pending (not processed fully for last £20 or so of the £1000 spend) I haven’t received the bonus in my account yet.
    And it seems as someone mentioned 6 days before statement due date the points have potentially left my account as I can see it is missing from online account.

    Any ideas how long will it take for the points to hit my SPG account? Is it soon after statement is produced?

    • Genghis says:

      points post to your SPG acct circa t-5.

      • roger says:

        Thanks Genghis.
        was hoping to hit my spend target and transfer to AAdvantage for a redemption that I want to book ASAP. Do not want to wait for another month for this.
        Might have to bight bullet and buy points with 30% off SPG offer.

    • Rob says:

      Usually within 3 days of leaving your Amex account.

      • roger says:

        Thanks, Yes.
        points left SPG and arrived today. so just over 24 hours.