Starwood offering a 20% discount on the purchase of points through August 31, 2012

Through August 31, 2012, Starwood is offering a 20% discount on the purchase of Starpoints. The normal cost to purchase points is 3.5 cents each, so through this promotion they’re charging 2.8 cents per point.

Points can be purchased in increments of 500 points, up to a maximum of 20,000 points per account per calendar year. You have to be a member of the SPG program for at least 14 days in order to take advantage of this promotion.

So is it worth buying points at 2.8 cents each? Unless you have a specific need, probably not. Starpoints are the most valuable points currency out there, in my opinion (I value them at 2.2 cents each), but points valuations vary wildly.

Keep in mind that Starpoints can be converted to many airline currencies at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus. That means that purchasing 20,000 Starpoints for $560 would earn you 25,000 miles with a number of programs, at a rate of ~2.25 cents per mile. While still not a spectacular value, in many cases it’s cheaper than you can purchase the miles directly with the airlines.

It can also make sense in some cases when a Cash & Points redemption is available, whereby you can use a combination of Cash & Points for a hotel stay, especially now that award stays count towards status.

So while this isn’t a rate at which I’ll purchase points, I know some people like to stock up during these 20% off promos.

(Tip of the hat to Loyalty Traveler)


  1. Hey Lucky, just wondering, wouldn’t this be a much better option than buying an economy ticket for SIN-LAX-SIN on say, AA/Delta, especially it’s the peak december travel period.

  2. @ Zhong Liang Ong — The first issue is that you can only purchase a maximum of 20,000 points, so that wouldn’t be enough for a ticket to Singapore. If you’re looking at a cheap ticket between LA and Singapore, chances are you’re best off waiting for the next US Airways mileage sale where they sell miles for <1.9 cents per mile.

  3. @Lantean , you wont…you buy the points at a 3rd party site and you will just get 1x normal spg points if charged to your spg amex

  4. Thanks for the tip! Since I have exactly 10k miles in Krisflyer (back in the day when I assumed Singapore’s frequent flyer program was as good as her inflight experience), it could work out, since I’m more concerned about securing the one-way segment from SIN-LAX during december’s travel period without being hit by a full-fare Y ticket.

  5. My average redemption with Starwood is 5.97cpp on their hotels. By that metric it makes some sense. I usually stock up slowly over time by paying my rent on my SPG Amex (when I’m not throwing it at a card to make minimum spend). They charge me 2.4% so close to what the fee is here, but there’s no limit other than my rent.

  6. @ Zhong Liang Ong — Just keep in mind that KrisFlyer charges big fuel surcharges on award redemptions, so it’ll cost a bit of cash in addition to the miles.

    @ arcticbull — Sounds like you’re doing a great job redeeming, though just keep in mind that in many cases there’s a difference between the cost of the hotel and what you’d be willing to pay for it. For airline award redemptions, for example, I don’t think of myself as getting 20 cents per mile of value when I redeem 100,000 miles for a $20,000 ticket, though I know many do.

  7. my $0.02:

    1. if you use AmEx Spg Personal or Biz card to purchase 500 pts (charging $14), you get 514 pts. So, you pays $0.0272 per pt.
    2. i used to ask marriott hotel that if i use chase premier marriott visa card to purchase marriott gift card or marriott points on marriott website, do they give me 5 points per dollar (the points I earn for paid stay). Their answer is, NO! i earn 5 pts per dollar only for paid stay (including additional charges suh as meal but excluding tax). so, i assume other hotel has a similiar policy not to reward point buyer or gift card buyer the paid stay rate.

  8. @Lucky,

    I saw over 2 years ago, SPG had a promotion to convert spg pts into AA miles with 35% bonus. Do you have any idea when or if spg may offer such promotion again?

    If such promotion is offered again, I think it is worthwhile to take advantage of this promotion, i.e., to purchase spg pts with 20% discount.

    any advice?

  9. @ Andy — I’d say it’s quite likely such a bonus will be offered again, as a big mileage transfer bonus happens at least once annually.

  10. @lucky Yeah I know, that’s sort of my feel-good number, but most of the time it’s not that far off what I’d really pay. These are the type of mid-range properties I’d likely send up staying at in the first place. I only ever use Cash & Points which makes it easier. Admittedly I could price line, but then I lose out of my SPG status benefits and elite night credits.

    Long story short, I think I’m probably break-even buying SPG at 2.4. I wouldn’t pay more than that for them, but I’m happy getting elite credit and benefits.

    My favorite C&P stays are cat 2/3 for 1-2 nights where the points welcome amenity ends up discounting the number of points required quite substantially heh.

  11. @lucky Oh and yeah, I use your valuations for airline miles — that is to say between 1-1.8cpm depending on program.

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