Best Offer Ever (Potentially): Buy Starpoints For Up To 50% Off

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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.

starpoints-sale

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.

spg-bonus

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 PremierANA Mileage ClubEmirates SkywardsQatar Airways Privileges Club
Air Canada AeroplanAmerican Airlines AAdvantageEtihad Airways GuestSaudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan
airberlin Top BonusAsiana Airlines Asiana ClubGol SmilesSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Air China CompanionBritish Airways Executive ClubHawaiian Airlines HawaiianMilesThai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Air France/KLM FlyingBlueCathay Pacific Asia MilesJapan Airlines (JAL) Mileage BankUnited Mileage Plus
Air New Zealand Air PointsChina Eastern Airlines Eastern ClubKorean Air SkypassVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanChina Southern Airlines' Sky Pearl ClubLAN Airlines LANPASS KmsVirgin Australia Velocity
Alitalia MilleMigliaDelta Air Lines SkyMilesLufthansa 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.

Virgin-Australia-New-Business-Class-4
Virgin Australia’s new business class

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.

Emirates-A380-First-Class-001
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:

marriott-points

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).

Bottom line

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?

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Comments

  1. 35% off! I might redeem all my AMEX and Starwood points for KrisFlyer miles in the future. I’ve always wanted to fly the Singapore suites.

  2. Benjamin: my husband and I both received a 100% bonus. Do you consider it these Hotels points worth it for the free night at the Sandals Resorts? We would LOVE to go back and relive our honeymoon, bringing the Dooley boys so they can get to know an intimate piece of their parents’ history. Steve was such a WILD BEAST back then. Oh Jesus, how things have changed ever since our neighbor Janice decided to put up that horrendous looking Manger scene last Christmas. It really hurt our intimate life and I AM considering a lawsuit for emotional distress, which are very very real in our case.

  3. Ben–is this a better deal than using SPG card on Pllastiq to pay monthly mortgage? How does that compare in terms of the math?

  4. 30%… Wonder how exactly they determine your discount. Not worth it at this rate for me, personally. 50% off I’d seriously consider it.

  5. I got 35% and my wife got 50%. I guess I will buy 30,000 points on her account and transfer to mine.

  6. I’m at 50% offer, but have no need for SPG points in the near future. All travel for the coming year is already booked. I’m thinking this offer is best when combined with 25% bonus on airline transfers. For now, I’d only be able to use on hotels. Where do you guys see getting the most bang for your buck on this offer (aside from Virgin Am to AU).

  7. 50% here. So for $525 I can buy 90,000 Marriott points towards another Southwest Companion pass for 2017-2018.

  8. Unbelievable I get 50%! But I do have some apprehensions for this promotion though – I smelt some potential huge devaluation coming next year. Hmmm…

  9. @Bobbie Dooley

    I guess I’m the only one who gets the Phil Hendrie reference. Man I miss the days when he was on KFI

  10. “Sorry, purchasing Starpoints is not available at this time” – i see 2 other guys had the same thing. i have frequent influx of points monthly from spg card, and i bought 20k this yr already. should be able to buy 10k but no?

  11. Nice, just bought 30k pts at 50%! I need to look into transferring over to Emirates and see if I’m able to put it towards an upgrade on my flight in December. Anybody have any experiences with that?

  12. I was targeted 50% off deal! Remember that United is currently running a promotion which offers 25% more points converting from hotels, up to 20,000 miles. Get 30,000 Starpoints and transfer a total of 90,000 Starpoints to Marriott will get 152,000 United miles + 7 Cat 1-5 Marriott certificates.

  13. I got 50% and I am a buyer because I joined SQ FF program, Krisflyer, and have an account that has 0.0 points since I created it after being approved for the CSR 2-3 months ago. The reason I joined Krisflyer is to be able to redeem my-soon-to-be-overflowing UR points, thanks to the CSR, for premium award tickets on SQ, DIRECTLY, without having to go through UA, which has had a falling out with SIA for some time now and there are no signs of a truce in sight. Alternatively, I can just convert the 30K starpoints to 90K MR points, but that’s not a compelling proposition for me at the moment. Without the empty Krisflyer account, I would not have been tempted.

    So, it’s done, but I am also betting that since the UA Club card, which I just used for this purchase, awards 1.5miles/$ for general purchases, this same purchase will get me 525*1.5 = 787.5 UA miles.

    Overall, not a bad deal…

    Just parenthetically, we can see why Starwood/SPG got in trouble. Here’s a golden opportunity earn significant numbers of starpoints, and guess what will be most people’s reason for purchasing the points: to transfer them to air miles for redeeming for award tickets! Do you know that if those same points were redeemed for free stays, the Starwood hotels where redemption would be consumed would be reimbursed by SPG in hard currency for the value of the award nights, which would boost the individual hotels’ fortunes and the chain’s overall finances?

  14. You can also buy them via the Gift option, so if you have a friend or relative who’s got the 50%, then they can gift you the points at the same rate. I just did that for a few of my friends.

    Also I created a brand new account for my Parents and each of them got 50% off as well. Only catch is their accounts have to wait 14 days before buying the points.

  15. Have fear of missing out. I got the 50% off offer, but I haven’t even used the 15k points I bought from the 35% off offer earlier this year. No immediate plans to use them. Would anyone still buy 15k points just because at this discount?

  16. The (somewhat) dummy accounts I have for my kids both got 25%, my oldest account 35% and my business account 50%
    Just purchased btw, no error here.

  17. More DCS Intellectual Dishonesty:

    Quote: “Just parenthetically, we can see why Starwood/SPG got in trouble. Here’s a golden opportunity earn significant numbers of starpoints, and guess what will be most people’s reason for purchasing the points: to transfer them to air miles for redeeming for award tickets! Do you know that if those same points were redeemed for free stays, the Starwood hotels where redemption would be consumed would be reimbursed by SPG in hard currency for the value of the award nights, which would boost the individual hotels’ fortunes and the chain’s overall finances?”

    DCS is (unsurprisingly) not aware that unless hotel occupancy is above ~95%, hotels only get a token payment from Starwood for point redemption. And since hotel occupancies are never anywhere that high chain-wide, it’s a smart move for Starwood (and other chains, including your vaunted Hilton) to do the exact same thing. Oops.

    Additionally, you have zero factual basis for saying “most people would do this to transfer to airlines”. That’s like saying, based on the writings of online travel BBs, most people redeem for int’l J/F. No, that’s a small subset of people, I’m sure most do NOT transfer to airlines.

    Seriously – I’ll stop calling you out for your idiocy when you stop making blatantly false and intellectually dishonest statements. You may be smart in your lab, but are an idiot talking about things you have no clue about.

  18. @UA-NYC sez: “More DCS Intellectual Dishonesty.”

    I thought you finally had the presence of mind to go away and stop being punished and ridiculed publicly but I should have known better.

    I’d once told you that you had no clue what you were talking about whenever you accused me of lacking “intellectual honesty”. As it turns out, I may be to only person (or among few) in this forum who is required by profession to train in “intellectual honesty” — it is actually a complex code of conduct in which the term “intellectual integrity” that’s being thrown around is but one fact — and to provide evidence of being fully aware the associated code of conduct yearly by the institution I work for and frequently in the context of federal grant applications [to make sure I have the “intellectual integrity” to, e.g., not to inflict pain to rodents for no reason!].

    So, let’s see if you can wrap your little mind around what “intellectual integrity” is really about with the following rough and general summary of some of the associated ethical principals that I must train in and be certified as having trained in regularly:

    _________________________________________

    Honesty

    Strive for honesty in all scientific communications. Honestly report data, results, methods and procedures, and publication status. Do not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent data. Do not deceive colleagues, research sponsors, or the public.

    Objectivity

    Strive to avoid bias in experimental design, data analysis, data interpretation, peer review, personnel decisions, grant writing, expert testimony, and other aspects of research where objectivity is expected or required. Avoid or minimize bias or self-deception. Disclose personal or financial interests that may affect research.

    Integrity

    Keep your promises and agreements; act with sincerity; strive for consistency of thought and action.

    Carefulness

    Avoid careless errors and negligence; carefully and critically examine your own work and the work of your peers. Keep good records of research activities, such as data collection, research design, and correspondence with agencies or journals.

    Openness

    Share data, results, ideas, tools, resources. Be open to criticism and new ideas.

    Respect for Intellectual Property

    Honor patents, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property. Do not use unpublished data, methods, or results without permission. Give proper acknowledgement or credit for all contributions to research. Never plagiarize.

    Confidentiality

    Protect confidential communications, such as papers or grants submitted for publication, personnel records, trade or military secrets, and patient records.

    Responsible Publication

    Publish in order to advance research and scholarship, not to advance just your own career. Avoid wasteful and duplicative publication.

    Responsible Mentoring

    Help to educate, mentor, and advise students. Promote their welfare and allow them to make their own decisions.

    Respect for colleagues

    Respect your colleagues and treat them fairly.

    Social Responsibility

    Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research, public education, and advocacy.

    Non-Discrimination

    Avoid discrimination against colleagues or students on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or other factors not related to scientific competence and integrity.

    Competence

    Maintain and improve your own professional competence and expertise through lifelong education and learning; take steps to promote competence in science as a whole.

    Legality

    Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies.

    Animal Care

    Show proper respect and care for animals when using them in research. Do not conduct unnecessary or poorly designed animal experiments.

    Human Subjects Protection

    When conducting research on human subjects, minimize harms and risks and maximize benefits; respect human dignity, privacy, and autonomy; take special precautions with vulnerable populations; and strive to distribute the benefits and burdens of research fairly.

    * Adapted from Shamoo A and Resnik D. 2015. Responsible Conduct of Research, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press).

    _______________________________________________________

    If you wish accuse someone of lacking intellectual integrity, at least have the intellectual integrity to know what it is and to shut up when it is clear that you are clueless.

  19. Ben

    Re Transferring Starwood points

    Did you forget to include in your esteemed list the Star Alliance member A3 – Aegean Airlines , my favourite FFP?

  20. So weird. When this blog post came out a few days ago I logged in and found a 50% bonus offer at points.com via the SPG website. I was in a hurry and didn’t buy at that time. After thinking it over for a couple days I just logged back in to buy the points and now it only shows me 25%. Seems very odd that it would change.

  21. I find it really annoying that they have different percentages for different customers.

    Why would I even consider buying points when others are getting 50% and I’m only offered 30% or 35%??

    So I hope no one buys these unless they get 50%.

    Ridiculous. It’s like free money for them anyway.

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