Reader Question: Does it Make Sense to Earn 1,000 AAdvantage Miles on a Weekend SPG Stay?

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SPG has been running a promotion since June that offers 1,000 AAdvantage bonus miles on two-night weekend stays at participating Starwood hotels. Stays must be completed by January 31, 2016.

Reader Brooke N. emailed me to ask, “Is this a good deal? (the promotion) I don’t have a lot of American miles and really want more but because of my job I don’t travel much. I will be at a Sheraton hotel for a weekend this fall with my fiancee and could get some American miles with this deal.”

At first glance, the promotion looks simple and a good deal for anyone. Stay two weekend nights and get 1,000 AAdvantage miles to top up your account. Is Brooke smart to take advantage of it?

There’s a promotional code to use when booking – AIRPRO

Here’s a booking link.

Here are the full Terms & Conditions.

Using random sample dates of September 12-14, 2015 at the new W Bogota Hotel in Colombia, the best available rate came to $177 a night. The same exact rate was returned using the AAdvantage promotion, and both offered cancellation up until the day prior to check-in.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 10.01.52 AM

If Brooke called Starwood to enroll in the Airline Direct Deposit Program to change her earning preference to AAdvantage miles, she’d earn 1,000 AAdvantage miles after this hypothetical 2 night stay. The miles would be earned in lieu of Starwood points, not in addition to.

How many Starpoints would she earn if not doing the promotion?

When using the Starwood credit card as a 75+ night Platinum, I earn 6 points per dollar spent during stays (and no more foreign transaction fees, yay!) so my earn for the weekend (on just the example rate) would be 2,124 Starpoints. For the sake of separating out the earn for the weekend stay minus any credit card bonus though, if assuming an earn rate of 4 points per dollar spent (Platinum 75+ nights, no SPG credit card used) I’d still earn 1,416 Starpoints for the two-night stay above.

I don’t know if reader Brooke has status with Starwood though, so her earn ratio may be different than mine.

If she is a regular Starwood member, she’d earn 2 Starpoints per dollar spent and if she is Gold or Platinum she’d earn 3 Starpoints per dollar. Using the same stay above, if she is a regular Starwood member she’d earn just 708 Starpoints, and as a Gold she’d get 1,062 Starpoints which is almost the same as the 1,000 AAdvantage miles offered in the promotion.

What if she earned Starpoints and then transferred them into American miles?

Earning Starwood points with stays and then transferring them into American miles is an excellent use of Starpoints. In fact, it’s the best use that I can think of with the exception of actually redeeming for hotel stays at Starwood properties. The transfer ratio is 1 Starpoint to 1 AAdvantage mile, but for every 20,000 points you transfer over you get an extra 5,000 bonus miles so you’re then getting 1.25 AAdvantage miles per 1 Starpoint. Every so often, there are bonuses as well like the one that ended yesterday.

Transferring Starwood points into American miles can be done in any increment as a Platinum, but 20,000 points makes the most sense because of the bonus. If you only have a small amount of Starwood points and you’re desperate to transfer them to AAdvantage though, Gold members have a minimum transfer requirement of 1,500 Starpoints, and regular Starwood members have a minimum transfer requirement of 2,500 Starpoints. No bonus is earned at those levels, so it is just a 1:1 ratio.

If Brooke is a regular Starwood member the amount of AAdvantage miles earned for the weekend (1,000) would be slightly higher than the Starpoints she’d earn (708). Plus, if our reader Brooke didn’t have any other Starpoints she wouldn’t be able to transfer them after the stay because the weekend earn wouldn’t be enough to meet the minimum transfer requirement. If she is extremely close to having enough AAdvantage miles in her account to redeem for a specific award where the 1,000 extra miles makes the difference, this promotion might make sense for her.

However, in her email she says that she doesn’t have a lot of American miles and just wants more. It doesn’t sound like she is very close to redeeming but just wants to accumulate miles, so in that case I’d advise her not to do this promotion.

If the goal is to earn AAdvantage miles and she keeps earning Starpoints, once she gets to 20,000 Starpoints and they are transferred into American miles she’d also get 5,000 bonus miles. I value Starpoints a lot higher than AAdvantage miles and we aren’t sure how long AAdvantage miles will retain their present value, so even if Brooke doesn’t have enough Starpoints to transfer over and earn the bonus right now she’d be better off earning Starpoints for her stay and waiting to transfer until she does.

Do you agree with my advice for Brooke?

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  1. Cogswell

    These kind of promotions are pretty terrible. You pay a ridiculous rate for a hotel ($200 in your example for Bogota) and they throw you a few crumbs (around $10 worth of miles). Consider that you could stay at excellent hotels in Bogota for $80/night

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