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Through December 31, 2016, Starwood is offering a mystery bonus on the purchase of Starpoints. The bonus seems to range from 25% off to 50% off, and is available to members who purchase at least 5,000 Starpoints. You’ll want to log into your SPG account here to see which version of the offer you were targeted for.
How much do Starpoints cost?
Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. That means you’d be paying the following amount per purchased point after the bonus, depending on which offer you were targeted for:
- 25% off — 2.625 cents per Starpoint
- 30% off — 2.45 cents per Starpoint
- 35% off — 2.275 cents per Starpoint
- 50% off — 1.75 cents per Starpoint
You can purchase a maximum of 30,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year (pre-bonus), and accounts have to be at least 14 days old in order to participate in this promotion.
For a bit of context, in the past Starwood’s best ever publicly available discount on purchased points was for 30% off, while they’ve also in the past had a targeted offer for 35% off. So the 50% discount on purchased points is huge, though even the 30-35% discount could be worthwhile.
While Starwood points purchases are processed by points.com, they actually do earn bonus points if using an SPG credit card. So you’d earn double Starpoints if you pay for the purchase with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
In my case, I was targeted for a 35% discount on purchased Starpoints, which is otherwise the best deal I’ve ever seen. Even though I have a big balance of Starpoints, I’m considering picking up more points at this rate, as I could get outsized value at that rate in a heartbeat.
Should you buy Starpoints?
Obviously the value of this offer can vary significantly depending on whether you’re targeted for a 25% discount or a 50% discount (or somewhere inbetween). In general if you’re targeted for at least a 30-35% discount, that’s typically as good as bonuses get on the purchase of Starpoints, so I’d seriously consider taking advantage of such an offer.
Perhaps the most compelling part of this offer is that Starpoints can be transferred to over two dozen airline partners, including the following:
|AeroMexico Club Premier||ANA Mileage Club||Emirates Skywards||Qatar Airways Privileges Club|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||American Airlines AAdvantage||Etihad Airways Guest||Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan|
|airberlin Top Bonus||Asiana Airlines Asiana Club||Gol Smiles||Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Air China Companion||British Airways Executive Club||Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus|
|Air France/KLM FlyingBlue||Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||United Mileage Plus|
|Air New Zealand Air Points||China Eastern Airlines Eastern Club||Korean Air Skypass||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||China Southern Airlines' Sky Pearl Club||LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms||Virgin Australia Velocity|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||Lufthansa Miles & More|
Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to a vast majority of partners, and when you transfer points to them you receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.
So if you are in fact targeted for a 50% discount, that means you can pick up 20,000 Starpoints for $350, which would get you 25,000 airline miles. That’s a rate of 1.4 cents per mile. For many mileage currencies, that’s a fantastic deal.
Starpoints convert into Virgin America Elevate points at a 1:1 ratio, meaning you can pick up Virgin America Elevate points for 1.4 cents each, assuming you’re targeted. You can redeem just 45,000 Elevate points for a one-way Virgin Australia business class ticket between the US and Australia, meaning you could acquire enough points for that for just ~$630.
There’s also a lot of value to be had in converting Starpoints into Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles for the purposes of redeeming on Emirates. This will prove valuable for many, given that Alaska’s new first class redemption rates on Emirates are ridiculous.
Convert Starpoints into Japan Airlines 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 hours to several days.
Converting Starpoints into Marriott points
Keep in mind that Starpoints now convert into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, so this is an opportunity to buy Marriott Rewards points at attractive prices as well. To crunch the numbers, here’s how much Marriott Rewards points are costing through this offer, depending on the version you were targeted for:
- 25% off — 0.875 cents per Marriott Rewards point
- 30% off — 0.817 cents per Marriott Rewards point
- 35% off — 0.758 cents per Marriott Rewards point
- 50% off — 0.583 cents per Marriott Rewards point
I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each, but there are certainly ways to get a lot more value out of them.
For example, the best use of Marriott Rewards points is for their Hotel + Air Packages, where you can redeem a set number of points for a fixed number of free nights plus a fixed number of miles, as follows:
In many cases it could be worth buying Starpoints in order to top up for one of these redemptions, given what a great value they represent (in many cases it’s an even better value than Starwood’s direct mileage transfer option).
Starwood’s sale on the purchase of Starpoints is available for a full two months, so you have quite a bit of time to decide whether or not you want to take advantage of this offer. If you were targeted for a 50% discount, then I’d absolutely take advantage of this offer, as that represents a great deal. If you were targeted for less of a bonus, it could still represent an excellent deal. For example, 35% off is otherwise the best bonus we’ve ever seen, and I know a lot of people were “buyers” at that price.
How big of a discount on purchased Starpoints were you targeted for?