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Through today, May 31, 2015, 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 5,000-9,500 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%
But is this actually a good deal?
How much do Starpoints cost?
Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. So if you max out this promotion you can purchase 20,000 Starpoints for $525, which is 2.625 cents per Starpoint.
As a reminder, you can purchase a maximum of 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year, and accounts have to be at least 14 days old in order to participate in this promotion.
For what it’s worth, points purchases are processed by points.com, so wouldn’t qualify as airfare for the purposes of credit card spend. That means you’d only earn one Starpoint per dollar spent if you use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. That being said, given how valuable Starpoints are, that might still be the best card on which to put this purchase.
Should you buy Starpoints?
This isn’t a rate at which I’d personally speculatively buy Starpoints, though with a specific use in mind it could make sense to take advantage of this promotion. Specifically:
Transferring points to an airline partner
Starwood has about two dozen airline transfer partners, and when you transfer points to them you receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.
If you buy 20,000 Starpoints for $525, you could convert those into 25,000 airline miles. That’s a rate of 2.1 cents per mile. For many mileage currencies, that’s a pretty good deal.
For example, I bought Alaska Mileage Plan miles through Alaska’s recent 40% bonus on purchased miles, and those miles cost 2.11 cents each, so were (ever so) marginally more expensive than the rate at which you can buy them through this promotion. So if you missed the recent Alaska Mileage Plan bonus miles promotion, this is actually a great alternative.
Convert Starpoints into Alaska 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 days to a couple of weeks.
Cash & Points and Fifth Night Free
Two of 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. As the name suggests, when you redeem points for a five night redemption, the fifth night is complimentary.
Say you want to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan over New Years. The paid rate is $449 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 $449 hotel room — that’s over half off!
How to get around annual Starpoint purchase limit
One way to get around the limit of only being able to purchase 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year is to make 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.
I wouldn’t buy Starpoints at the regular price, and even with 25% off I wouldn’t buy points just to have them. There are definitely circumstances where it can make sense to stock up on SPG points, though it all depends on what you’d usually redeem points for.