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Yesterday I posted about a promotion where you can get a 20% bonus when transferring your SPG points to either American Airlines or US Airways miles. While this is a great promotion for some, one of the main issues is the length of time it takes for the transfer to go through. Unlike transferring American Express Membership Reward or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, transfers are not immediate and not even within 24 hours!
So how long does it take for a transfer to go through? On the Starwood site, it states that transfers can take up to 10-14 business days. That is a long time to wait for a transfer especially if you have a specific award redemption in mind. And neither American or US Airways will allow you to put a reservation on hold for 2 weeks to wait for the transfer.
Based on my own personal experience and the experience I’ve read from others, there is no exact length of time it takes. Back in May I transferred points from my account to both my husbands and dads American Airlines and United account to keep their account active (since I have SPG Platinum status I was able to transfer just 1 point over to keep the accounts active for another 18 months- more on that in a future post). Based on my experience, American Airlines took 2 days, while United took 4 days. I have not yet done a transfer to US Airways. From what I’ve read, expect at least 3-7 days for transfers to take place. There seems to be no exact science to it either. They have batch transfers, but it doesn’t seem like there is any known schedule.
Also, while I haven’t gone this route myself, I do know folks that were able to call Starwood and request a quick transfer. Sometimes they will charge you 3,500 points for this, but if the point value is worth it then it could be in your benefit to ensure you get the points into your respective airlines account within 24 hours.
The reason why transfer times are important is because if you are looking up availability for an award ticket now, that does not mean it will be available once the transfer goes through. With American Airlines, as long as you are booking 14+ days out, you can put your award reservation on hold for 5 days. With US Airways, if your flight is more then 3 days out, you can put your award reservation on hold for 3 days. Not necessarily enough time to ensure the transfer goes through, so make sure you are okay having the points in your airlines account in case there is a delay and there is no availability for the particular flight you are looking to make.
What has your experience been with transferring Starwood points to airline miles?