Last month I applied for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. This card recently, and for a limited time, increased its sign-up bonus from 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 (offer expires October 18, 2017). Thanks to the heads-up from Patrick at Rewards Canada, I learned about the limited time offer and also that you can convert Starpoints to Aeroplan miles and earn a juicy bonus for your efforts.
Indeed, you’ll get an extra 5,000 points when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints directly to miles with your frequent flyer program – in my case I converted Starpoints into Aeroplan miles. But here’s the kicker: Aeroplan is currently running a promotion until August 21 that offers a 35 percent bonus when you convert hotel points into Aeroplan miles. One of their hotel partners is SPG.
That means if I played my cards right I could take my 25,000 Starpoints credit card bonus and turn those points into 40,500 Aeroplan miles. Here’s how it worked out:
Applying for and using the SPG American Express Card
Applying for the SPG American Express card was straightforward and painless, but to get the 25,000 point bonus I’d have to spend $1,500 within the first three months. In fact, I’d have to reach the $1,500 threshold within the first billing cycle to trigger the 25,000 point bonus in time to take advantage of the Aeroplan hotel point conversion offer.
I thought this would be fairly easy, but American Express cards are not as widely accepted at grocery stores and restaurants, and certainly not in some of the small B.C. towns in which we were vacationing this summer. Lo-and-behold, when we got back home and checked the mail, I found the answer to my prayers: our house insurance was up for renewal. We pay it upfront – $1,300 for the year – and get a 3 percent discount. Problem solved.
A few days later my first credit card statement became available and just a few days after that the 25,000 sign-up bonus was posted to my SPG account. Winner-winner!
Converting Starpoints to Aeroplan Miles
Springing into action (points were posted on Wednesday Aug 16) I logged-in to my SPG account, clicked ‘Redeem Starpoints’, found the ‘Transfer to Air Miles’ banner, and located ‘Aeroplan’ from a long list of airline partners and frequent flyer programs.
I was able to transfer all of my points – 27,047 to be exact – and earned the 5,000 airline transfer bonus.
Altogether I sent 32,047 Starpoints over to my Aeroplan account. When Aeroplan applies the 35 percent bonus for converting hotel points into Aeroplan, I’ll see a total of 43,263 Aeroplan miles land in my account.
Now that’s some serious travel point hacking!
My latest travel point hacking expedition was a big success. Sure, the SPG American Express card comes with a $120 annual fee, but if you consider that 1 Aeroplan mile is worth approximately 2.5 cents then my newly found 43,000+ Aeroplan miles is worth more than $1,000 in flight rewards.
Heck, even if you conservatively value 1 Aeroplan mile at 1.5 cents then this was still a highly profitable venture worth nearly $650.
So that’s great for me, you say, but what about you, the reader? Well, you can still apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express until October 18, 2017 and earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $1,500 within the first three months. You can still convert those Starpoints to Aeroplan miles and earn an extra 5,000 points for a total of 30,000 points.
30,000 Aeroplan miles is worth $450 on the low-end and $750 on average in flight rewards. Still worth it!