Great Deal: Buy Starpoints For ~2.3 Cents Each (Or Airline Miles For ~1.8 Cents Each)

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Update: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express has a limited time offer through 11/1/2017. Learn more about best available offers here.

Through June 30, 2017, Starwood is offering up to a 35% discount on the purchase of Starpoints.

The 35% discount applies as long as you purchase at least 5,000 Starpoints in a single transaction.

Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. If you max out this promotion you can buy up to 30,000 Starpoints at a cost of $682.50, which is a rate of 2.275 cents per Starpoint.

You can purchase a maximum of 30,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year, and accounts have to be at least 14 days old in order to participate in this promotion.

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.

This is as good as deals on purchased Starpoints get — I don’t remember ever seeing a better publicly available deal. Starwood’s last discount on purchased Starpoints was in April, when they offered up to a 30% discount. Meanwhile last May Starwood offered up to a 35% discount as well. Then just under a year ago they had a narrowly targeted promotion, where some received up to a 50% discount on purchased points.

Should you buy Starpoints?

Part of what makes Starpoints so valuable is how flexible they are. 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 you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

So at a rate of 2.275 cents per Starpoints, that’s the equivalent of paying 1.82 cents per airline mile. For many mileage currencies, I’d say that’s an excellent deal.

For example, there’s 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 first class redemption rates on Emirates are now 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 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. At a rate of 2.45 cents per Starpoint, that’s like being able to buy Marriott points for ~0.75 cents each, which is quite a good deal.

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 month, so you have quite a bit of time to decide whether or not you want to take advantage of this offer. Deals on purchased Starpoints don’t get btter than this, so if you could use Starpoints, Marriott points, or airline miles, I’d seriously consider this offer. Everyone will have to crunch the numbers for themselves, though.

Do you plan on buying Starpoints for 35% off?

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Comments

  1. Unable to purchase the points, have used half a dozen cards and it gives an error each time, despite the charge pending on the card

  2. Would it be possible for my spouse and myself to purchase 30k starpoints each, convert them to marriott points, combine them, and then purchase marriott points (to bypass 30k limit) to top off for one of the Hotel + Air packages?

  3. If I buy the points, when does the SPG program shut down and I need to transfer them out before they become marriott points ?

  4. Shi: yes, according to Marriott. You can combine points with your spouse specifically for an award.

    James: SPG will exist until at least 1/1/18. It’s expected to be merged into Marriott Rewards sometime after that date, but no specific date has been set.

    Yes, I am carefully following this. 🙂

  5. I’m fairly new to the points and miles game so forgive me if this is a newbie question. But I don’t quite see the value in purchasing SPG points at 2.3 cents. For SPG nights redemptions that seems to be just about an equal value to what an SPG point is worth but now locked into points vs hard cash. Similarly, airline miles are valued between 1-2 cents, so locking in the value at 1.8 cents appears to be on the high side. Am I missing something?

  6. AT, the most value for SPG is in premium international airline tickets, given the current low prices of economy class flying. So if you want solid value, it seems best to think of 1 or 2 travelers in J going across the ocean; any more and you need a prohibitive amount of points. You can do that with, say, 100K-120K miles round trip (per ticket), with the right transfer partners. 100K SPG points transfers as 125K airline miles. So it’s round trip long haul business class for ~$2300. If that’s within your budget, and how you value a better 10+ hour experience in a metal tube, then it’s essentially a 3.5-6 cent/point redemption.

    But, in my opinion look at the last column of the last chart: it’s the true value of SPG points.

    270K Marriott = 90K SPG. 90K x 2.3 cents = $2070.

    If you value miles at 1.5 cents each, then you’re getting 1.8 cents from just the airline transfer alone. But I just pointed out how to get solid value from long haul business. Then add in the value of 7 nights at a hotel or resort, which for Category 1 – 5 could be $200+ night (and at Category 8 can be $700+/night easily) and suddenly SPG points are potentially a great value, depending on your travel plans.

  7. I am a bit conflicted on whether to take up the offer, since SPg Amex Japan (where i’m based at) has been doing at least 2 limited-time promo which effectively allows me to buy an SPG point for 1 yen (0.9 cents) through MS in the last half year. I’ve been able to buy 100k spg points for effective cost of 900 bucks or do in the past 6 months. That being said, i’ve never seen them before then and there’s no guarantee the promo will be held again, so I wonder if I should ‘settle’ by paying double, the legit way, since the 35 percent off seems to be the most SPG offers (never been targeted for extra promo by SPG, not counting it)

  8. Just purchased 30K points which posted to my account immediately. I used my business SPG credit card.
    Your post mentioned you’d get double the points? How do you receive the bonus points?

  9. AT- One of the benefits here is flexibility. You’re not locking into a particular airline program at 1.8 cents per mile. You’re committing to the ability to transfer to just about ANY airline program at 1.8 cents per mile. That’s more valuable as you’re protected against devaluation, lack of award availability, etc.

    But I understand not wanting to do it if you don’t have a specific redemption in mind.

  10. Your 1.82 cents per mile is a bit misleading in that it only works if you redeem in 20,000 increments. Someone purchasing and redeeming for miles through SPG 30,000 star points effectively pays 1.95 cents per mile.

  11. @ Jaberou — You get double points for the spend, so you’d usually earn one point per dollar spent on the purchase, while you should earn two points per dollar spent for using your SPG Amex.

  12. How does a points.com purchase get double points using an Amex SPG card? Is this new or a special promotion?

  13. @lucky

    you should ask your contacts at SPG how this is fair. you offer 30% then right after another 35%? im gonna assume 50% is next. just watch. thats really dick of them since ur max is 30k/yr.

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