Update: This offer for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
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As I first wrote about at the beginning of February, through March 16, 2018, Starwood is offering a 35% discount on purchased Starpoints when you buy at least 5,000 points in one transaction.
Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. If you max out this promotion you can buy up to 30,000 Starpoints (which is the maximum number of points you can buy per calendar year) at a cost of $682.50, which is a rate of 2.275 cents per Starpoint.
In addition to this potentially being a great deal for acquiring hotel points for stays with Starwood and Marriott, this can also be a great deal for acquiring airline miles.
Starwood Preferred Guest is transfer partners with the following 35 airline programs, and most of them allow 1:1 transfers:
|Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus||American Airlines AAdvantage||Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||Qatar Airways Privileges Club|
|AeroMexico Club Premier||Asiana Airlines Asiana Club||Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||British Airways Executive Club||Iberia Plus||Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Air China Companion||Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus|
|Air France/KLM FlyingBlue||China Eastern Airlines Eastern Club||Jet Airways||topbonus loyalty|
|Air New Zealand Air Points||Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||Korean Air Skypass||United Mileage Plus|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||Emirates Skywards||LATAM Airlines LATAMPASS Kms||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||Etihad Airways Guest||LifeMiles of Avianca||Virgin Australia Velocity|
|ANA Mileage Club||Gol Smiles||Lufthansa Miles & More|
As mentioned, Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. So whenever possible you’ll want to convert Starpoints into airline miles in increments of 20,000 points. So if you’re acquiring Starpoints at 2.275 cents each and convert them at a ratio of 1:1.25, then you’re really paying just 1.82 cents per airline mile.
If your goal is to acquire airline miles it could make sense to buy 30,000 Starpoints if you currently have 10,000 Starpoints, for example. But if you don’t currently have any Starpoints, the sweet spot is buying exactly 20,000 Starpoints, as that allows you to acquire 25,000 airline miles for $455.
At the moment you can even do significantly better than paying 1.82 cents per airline mile. A couple of days ago I wrote about how Air Canada’s spun off Aeroplan program is offering a 25% bonus when you convert hotel points into Aeroplan miles.
If you are in the market for some Aeroplan miles, you could stack these two deals:
- You could buy 20,000 Starpoints for $455
- That would turn into 25,000 Aeroplan miles
- Then you’ll receive a further 6,250 miles due to the 25% bonus
- In the end you’re getting 31,250 Aeroplan miles for $455, which is a cost of 1.456 cents per mile.
Also note that if you use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express to purchase Starpoints, you’ll earn two Starpoints for every dollar you spend purchasing points. I value Starpoints at ~2.2 cents each, so to me that’s a further ~4.4% return, and that would reduce the cost per acquired Aeroplan mile from 1.46 cents to 1.42 cents.
This isn’t necessarily a deal everyone should take advantage of, but that’s an attractive price for purchasing Starpoints and converting them into Aeroplan miles, especially if you’re looking to top off an account for a redemption.