Reader Wants to Know Whether to Use the British Airways Transfer Promos

Reader Keith asks:

    One of your latest posts, about the Starwood to BA bonus, made me wonder whether you think it would be worth moving the miles from Starwood to BA even if I have no current plans to use an award. I generally park miles in Starwood, but a 30% bonus seems tempting, so I was thinking about moving over enough for a business class ticket. I’m not sure how I’d use them, but I live in Chicago, so I wouldn’t think redemption options for BA would be that hard.

I wouldn’t. BA miles just aren’t a great place to park miles, or a value even with a 30% transfer bonus. These are all great bonuses if you need to top off a BA account, or need an award for which only BA miles are a good solution. But otherwise keep your points in Starwood. Allow me to illustrate.

From Chicago to most of Europe a business class award will run you 120,000 British Airways miles. Normally you’d need 100,000 Starwood points to get there (transferred over the course of two days you’d get 125,000 British Airways miles.). With this promo it takes 80,000 transferred over two days, and you wind up with 130,000 BA miles.

Without any promo you can transfer 65,000 Starwood points to Cathay Pacific and get enough AsiaMiles for a business class ticket to most of Europe on Cathay’s partner… British Airways. (And that’s after the October devaluation of AsiaMiles — it used to take only 50,000 Starwood points for a British Airways transatlantic business class ticket departing the U.S. East Coast.)

So, no, I wouldn’t speculatively transfer Starwood points out to BA and park them there.

There are times this promo would be very useful, but BA’s award chart is generally pricey enough for premiunm

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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