Last Chance To Buy Starpoints For 25% Off

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Through today, May 31, 2015, Starwood is offering up to a 25% discount on the purchase of Starpoints. The discounts are tiered, where you receive a bigger discount the more Starpoints you purchase, as follows:

  • Buy 5,000-9,500 Starpoints Save 10%
  • Buy 10,000-14,500 Starpoints Save 15%
  • Buy 15,000-19,500 Starpoints Save 20%
  • Buy 20,000 Starpoints Save 25%

But is this actually a good deal?

How much do Starpoints cost?

Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. So if you max out this promotion you can purchase 20,000 Starpoints for $525, which is 2.625 cents per Starpoint.

Buy-Starpoints

As a reminder, you can purchase a maximum of 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year, and accounts have to be at least 14 days old in order to participate in this promotion.

When Starwood offers a bonus on purchased points (which seems to be about twice per year), this seems to be the standard offer, as they offered nearly identical promotions last May and last December.

For what it’s worth, points purchases are processed by points.com, so wouldn’t qualify as airfare for the purposes of credit card spend. That means you’d only earn one Starpoint per dollar spent if you use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. That being said, given how valuable Starpoints are, that might still be the best card on which to put this purchase.

Should you buy Starpoints?

This isn’t a rate at which I’d personally speculatively buy Starpoints, though with a specific use in mind it could make sense to take advantage of this promotion. Specifically:

Transferring points to an airline partner

Starwood has about two dozen airline transfer partners, and when you transfer points to them you receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.

If you buy 20,000 Starpoints for $525, you could convert those into 25,000 airline miles. That’s a rate of 2.1 cents per mile. For many mileage currencies, that’s a pretty good deal.

For example, I bought Alaska Mileage Plan miles through Alaska’s recent 40% bonus on purchased miles, and those miles cost 2.11 cents each, so were (ever so) marginally more expensive than the rate at which you can buy them through this promotion. So if you missed the recent Alaska Mileage Plan bonus miles promotion, this is actually a great alternative.

Emirates-A380-First-Class-14
Convert Starpoints into Alaska miles, for redemptions in Emirates A380 first class

The one caveat is that converting Starpoints into airline miles isn’t an instant process — it takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Cash & Points and Fifth Night Free

Two of Starwood’s two most lucrative hotel redemption options are Cash & Points and Fifth Night Free. Through Cash & Points you can redeem part cash and part points for an award stay, though it is capacity controlled.

There are no blackout dates on Fifth Night Free. As the name suggests, when you redeem points for a five night redemption, the fifth night is complimentary.

Say you want to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan over New Years. The paid rate is $449 per night, while it’s 10,000 Starpoints for a free night. Five nights would cost you a total of 40,000 Starpoints (with the fifth night free), which averages out to 8,000 Starpoints per night.

If you picked up Starpoints at 2.625 cents each, you’d be paying $210 to purchase the points for a $449 hotel room — that’s over half off!

WDW-Swan

How to get around annual Starpoint purchase limit

One way to get around the limit of only being able to purchase 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year is to make a household points transfer. Starwood allows members registered at the same address to transfer Starpoints between accounts.

This means if you have four people at your address with Starwood accounts, you can all purchase Starpoints through this promotion and you could then transfer the points to one account.

Starwood-Points-Transfer

Bottom line

I wouldn’t buy Starpoints at the regular price, and even with 25% off I wouldn’t buy points just to have them. There are definitely circumstances where it can make sense to stock up on SPG points, though it all depends on what you’d usually redeem points for.

Comments

  1. In your example the savings are even greater than you claim. You are comparing points to the non-refundable prepaid rate of $449 per night. But you can cancel the points night usually nearly right up to the stay date. You need to compare to the rate with the better cancellation policy so the deal is even better.

  2. Thanks for not being dogmatic with your advice and understanding that what people should or shouldn’t do depends on individual circumstances and aspirations.

  3. So you bought Alaska points which are more expensive than SPG points, but you will not buy SPG points. Makes perfect sense.

  4. Lucky! I just flew my first segment in LH first. Most of the flight was great, seat w/bed (it was on a updated B744), service, FCT.

    But dessert was overly complicated and very…..emm……Lufthansa. To start, the menu it was on was called “eastern”. The dessert was a pie with curry crust, Banane Chil filling i , balsamic vinegar cream, and chili roasted pistachios on top. I didn’t get it (i mean why would ANYBODY), I was much happier with my Vanilla! Vanilla!

    I know this put a smile on your face.

  5. @ johnny33 — The difference was truly marginal. Wasn’t worth the inconvenience of having to buy points for different accounts, merging points, and then transferring them to Alaska and waiting, especially since I had a short term redemption in mind.

  6. Kind of off topic, but if you are passing through Chicago soon, maybe if you have another one of your (many) trips to Beijing, would you mind checking out the Virgin Hotel? Looks kind of neat, but is it worth it?

  7. Since its a category 4 hotel, wouldn’t it be cheaper to use the points & cash? 5k point + $75 a night? Rather then the full 8k-10k a night…

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