Starwood versus Delta FF

Oct 14th, 2007, 10:33 AM
  #1  
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Starwood versus Delta FF

I'm still hunting for a FF deposit program that fits the bill. Thusfar, I've narrowed it down to the above 2.

I have fairly high day to day expenditures and manage to take at least one long international trip per year and am mostly interested in accumulating FF miles for future trips.

The specific hotels that Starwood pref. guest Amex gold (SPGAX) is affiliated with doesn't have much interest for me. I usually prefer staying at independents.
SPGAX is offering a 10,000 sign up bonus and claims to offer an additional 5000 points for any mile transfers of 20,000 along with $1. for every dollar spent.
I mostly frequent the airlines that one can transfer the miles to.

Delta Sky miles Gold Amex (DSMAX) is offering a 15,000 sign up bonus with 2500 for an extra card. The claim is $1. for every dollar spent and $2. for eligible expenditures (can't find what the expenditures are exactly, though).

Again the airlines that one can use miles on are the one's I frequent.
To further complicate things, Delta Amex seems to have a point card which I can't seem to find much info. on.

Apparently, DSMAX has had problems which is why there's now a point card in addition to the Sky miles cards.

Question;
Do any of you have experience with the above cards good or bad? I'd appreciate any insights, as this is becoming a full time job. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Also, is it better to have 2 entirely seperate card accounts for a married couple who mostly travel together. If I apply independently from DH will I also receive a sign up bonus. If we end up with one card only, can the accum. miles be divided into 2 FF accounts without penalty?
Thanks ahead.
cybor is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Hi Sherry,
I have both cards, the personal version of the Starwood Amex and the small business Platinum version of the Delta Amex.

The advantage of the Starwood card is the ability to transfer to multiple programs and the extra 5,000 bonus if you transfer in blocks of 20,000. The two programs you would not want to use this card for are UA and CO because they transfer at a ratio of 2:1 (vs 1:1 for most other programs). You and DH can each apply for separate accounts and you will each receive a sign up bonus. The points will be deposited into your respective Starwood Preferred Guest accounts, but spouses (and I think this actually extends to any members with the same address, not just spouses) are able to transfer points between accounts, so you can pool and transfer as needed. The other advantage is that the annual fee is very low with the first year free.

You can also each apply for a Delta Amex and each get a sign up bonus. The miles will be deposited into your respective Delta FF accounts but in order to transfer points between accounts you need to pay a transfer fee of $0.01 per mile + $25. This makes the transfer an unattractive option unless you only need a small amount to top up your account for an award. The annual fee is higher with the Delta Amex but you can get the Gold card fee free the first year. I rarely see a first year free offer for the Platinum card.

The reason I carry the Platinum card is because of the bonus Medallion Qualification Miles offered on this card where I get 10,000 MQMs for spending $25,000 and another 10,000 MQMs for spending $50,000 in a calendar year. MQMs are used to qualify for Silver, Gold or Platinum elite status on Delta, but these are also spendable miles so even if you don't care about elite status at all, that's still an extra 20,000 miles a year if you can meet the spend thresholds. The annual fee is higher than the Gold card so you'll have to weigh whether the extra bonus is worth it to you (assuming you'll put $25K-$50K on the card per calendar year).

The reason I have the small business version of the Delta Amex is because I can get a 5% discount on Delta ticket purchases which may or may not be important to you. The personal version either gives no discount or a smaller discount, I can't remember which.

The Gold card also has an annual spend cap of $100,000 that counts toward mileage earning whereas the Platinum card is unlimited. To see what categories of purchases qualify for Always Double Miles, go to the card description page of whatever card(s) you're interested in and it should be listed somewhere in the fine print on the bottom of the page. I believe these categories differ slightly depending on the version of the card.

I haven't really looked into the SkyPoints card.

And of course, with any version of the Delta Amex, you don't have a choice of programs for your miles but you can redeem Delta Skymiles on any Skyteam carrier plus the following non-Skyteam partners - Alaska, Avianca, Singapore, China Southern, China Airlines and El Al.

Hope this helps.
Patty is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Oops, sorry about the bolding.
Patty is offline  
Oct 14th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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I also have the DL Amex Plat. card(personal) and the Starwood card. Those bonus MQM's on the Delta card really add up and now I never fly coach on int'l flts. I only use the Starwood card when staying at Starwood properties for the bonus points and then when I have 20,000, transfer them to Delta for a total of 25,000 miles.
moremiles is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 03:24 AM
  #5  
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Wonderful info. thank you.

Perhaps I dreamt that Delta now is transferring miles to SAA - true? have either of you had hassles transferring miles from Delta?

Off to do yet more research. Looks like as advised, I'll get both cards.

cybor is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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DL used to have a partnership with SAA until SAA joined Star Alliance. I think Sep 2006 was the latest one could still redeem Skymiles on SAA flights.

You can't actually transfer miles out of Skymiles, but you can use your Skymiles for flights on partner airlines.

Since I've been able to redeem 5 sets of business class tickets to Africa in the last 3 years, I have to say no, but we usually have a lot of flexibility in terms of when we can travel. All of our tickets have been some combination of Delta, KLM, Air France and Kenya Airways.
Patty is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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cybor - I just signed up for the SPG card - I got an offer that had the 10000 points for sign up/first use, PLUS - 15000 points for spending $15000 within six months. If/when you go to sign up for this card, be sure to request this offer. I have received all 25000 points with no problems.

I got this card for the very reason you stated - 5000 extra miles for each 20000 transferred to the ff account of choice - for me, AA. Still lots of places that don't take AMEX though, so still have my citibank aadvantage card too.

Cyn
cynstalker is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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Cybor - here's the link to the offer of 10000 miles sign up plus 15000 for $15000.

http://tinyurl.com/3xtkq3
cynstalker is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 12:17 PM
  #9  
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Thanks.

Cyn,
Do you still get he xtra 5000 miles when you transfer 20,000 miles to the FF program. Couldn't tell on the provided link.
cybor is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Yes, you still get the 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 transferred. That bonus is given by Starwood, not Amex. So even if you don't have a Starwood Amex and you earned all of your Starwood points from hotel stays, you'd still get the 5K per 20K transfer bonus when transferring Starwood Preferred Guest points to FF programs.
Patty is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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Cybor, I haven't transferred any miles yet - I'm waiting for the account to build to about 50000 and then I'll transfer. That should happen after my next credit card billing statement, so I'll let you know how it works. But yes, that is the deal - transfer 20 and you get 25 by SPG - I was told it is done incrementally after the 20, so I'm thinking when I transfer 50, I should get 62,500. They have a max per day transfer of 99,000 points, but you can do that every day.
cynstalker is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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Sorry - posted too soon. Can anyone confirm my understanding about the 50000-becomes-62500?
cynstalker is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Cyn,
That's not my understanding. I transferred 25,000 Starpoints and 30,000 miles were credited to my Delta account. As far as I know, the transfer bonus isn't prorated after the first 20,000, so your 50,000 would equal 60,000 miles. Unless this is a recent change?
Patty is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Also note the comment in post #5 by Starwood Lurker in this thread http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=732212
Patty is offline  
Oct 15th, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Thanks for the link Patty - I just added my question to it - but, it looks like you're correct - only 5000 mile increments.
cynstalker is offline  
Oct 16th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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Here's the answer I got:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cynstalker
So is there a proration of miles? Meaning - If I transfer 50000 points to AA, do I get 12,500 extra miles, or 10,000?


His answer:

For every 20,000 Starpoints your transfer, we will add 5,000; so, if you transfer 50,000 Starpoints, we are going to send 60,000 to American Airlines AAdvantage.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide


I guess he should know! Thanks for that link Patty!
cynstalker is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 04:39 AM
  #17  
 
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Reporting back: On Thursday, 10/18, I transferred 40,000 miles from SPG to my AA account. This morning, there were 50,000 miles received. It works!
cynstalker is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Over the years we've accumulated a mountain of Delta Skymiles. Our frustration has been trying to cash in miles for European destinations. Since we live on the West Coast (no non-stops to Europe on Delta), flying to JFK or ATL (or now, Cincinnati) is never the problem; it's the 'over Atlantic' portion that Delta agents say is the limiting factor. As a result, for our last two trips to Europe we booked 330/331 days in advance. And those two trips have been on partners (Air France, Alitalia). We cannot figure out whether or not Delta really has 'over Atlantic' seats available 330/331 days in advance! To make a long story short, we're bagging on Delta/AMEX Skymiles and moving to United/VISA rewards. We're really fed-up by being told 'no seats available!'
NorCal is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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NorCal - But what is the problem exactly with using AF, KL, AZ, CO, NW or whoever partner to get to Europe?
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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And also, wth the Starwood card, you can transfer your points into miles to pretty much ANY airline, yes?
cynstalker is offline  

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