Starwood Preferred Guest announced today that they’re offering up to a 25% discount on the purchase of Starpoints through December 13, 2013. The bonus is tiered, with the following increments:
- 500-4,500 Starpoints — no discount
- 5,000-12,500 Starpoints — 20% discount
- 13,000-20,000 Starpoints — 25% discount
Starpoints ordinarily cost 3.5 cents each, so if you purchase 13,000-20,000 points through this promotion, you’re paying 2.625 cents per Starpoint.
Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, and you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. If you max out this promotion you’d be purchasing 20,000 Starpoints for $525. 20,000 SPG points would convert into 25,000 airline miles for most SPG partners, which means you’re effectively purchasing airline miles for 2.1 cents each. That isn’t half bad for some mileage currencies, especially if there’s not otherwise a sale.
For example, Emirates A380 business class roundtrip between New York and Dubai costs 85,000 Japan Airlines MileageBank miles, and Starwood is one of JAL’s few major transfer partners. At the rate of 2.1 cents per mile, that’s the same as paying $1,785 for an Emirates business class ticket to Dubai, which is tough to beat.
The major restriction is that you’re limited to purchasing 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year, though the easy workaround there is that Starwood allows household transfers of points. While last names don’t have to match, the address on file on the accounts has to match for at least 30 days in order to be eligible. This means if you have multiple people living at the same address you can pool points quite easily.
Purchasing points can also sometimes make sense for redemptions at hotels. Starwood offers a “fifth night free” on free night redemptions, so there’s a chance this could translate into some nice savings for a five night stay at a mid-tier hotel in high season.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that Starpoints purchases are processed by points.com, so wouldn’t qualify as hotel spend for the purposes of credit card spend.