Should You Buy Starwood Starpoints At A Discount?

Through May 31, 2014, 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 500-9,500 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%


Basic terms of the promotion

Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per Starpoint. You can only purchase a maximum of 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year. Accounts have to be at least 14 days old to take advantage of this promotion.

Starwood household points transfers

One way to get around the limit of purchasing 20,000 Starpoints per account is by making 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.


Crunching the numbers on the promotion

If you max out the promotion and purchase 20,000 Starpoints it will cost you $525, which is 2.625 cents per point.


Is it worth taking advantage of this promotion?

Everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves, but this probably isn’t a rate at which I’d speculatively purchase points.

You have a couple of options that could potentially work in your favor, though:

Transferring points to an airline partner

Starwood has about two dozen airline partners, and when you transfer points to them you receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer. So 20,000 Starpoints gets you 25,000 airline miles, which you’d be paying $525 for. That’s 2.1 cents per mile, which isn’t a bad rate at which to top off mileage in some programs.

Cash & Points and Fifth Night Free

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. Basically when you redeem Starpoints for a five night award redemption, the fifth night is free. So let me give an example of how you can come out ahead here.

Say you want to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan over New Years. The paid rate is $331 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 $331 hotel room — that’s a nice deal!


Bottom line

This promotion runs for over six weeks, so you have plenty of time to decide whether you want to take advantage of it or now. There are definitely circumstances where it can make sense to, though it all depends on what you’d usually redeem points for.


  1. Will probably buy max points for our two accounts specifically because of 5th night free and for transfer to Miles & More or other airlines that don’t partner with UR or MR.

    But I do agree that before buying points, you definitely need to have a good reason and, ideally, if redeeming for a hotel stay be familiar with rates at desired properties — if you can’t get 3 cents or more of value, probably not worth it.

  2. Just got US Grant in San Diego for a stay coming up for 5K+$75/night, now that is a bargain and, Yes, I did buy 20K more SPG points.

  3. Thanks for the breakdown and tips.

    One question, do you ever get offered extra starpoints for a paid upgrade? I’ll be staying at a Sheraton tomorrow and noticed they sent me an e-mail offer to upgrade for Euro 25 (approx USD 35) and to sweeten the deal, they offer 250 starpoints. So thats about 13.8 US cents per mile. Based on your above analysis (and the 20 000 miles over for USD 525), it does not sound like a deal I should take. Do you agree this is not worthwhile? Thanks!

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