The Clock Is Ticking On Starwood’s 35% Off Points Sale

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For a bit over a month now, Starwood has been offering a 35% discount on purchased Starpoints, when you buy at least 5,000 points in one transaction. This promotion is valid through May 31, 2018, so if you’ve been considering this promotion, you only have a bit over a week remaining (and as I’ll explain below, you may want to take advantage of it sooner rather than later). Given Starwood’s airline partners, as well as their upcoming integration with Marriott, there are lots of people who could potentially benefit from this.

The basics of buying Starpoints for 35% off

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.

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.

Starpoints purchases are processed by points.com, so don’t count as hotel spend. However, if you use the SPG Amex you’ll earn two Starpoints per dollar spent, so that’s a good option for paying for these points.

Under what circumstances is this actually a good deal?

The way I view it, this promotion can be worthwhile for:

  • Those looking to redeem Starpoints for hotel stays
  • Those looking to earn Marriott Rewards points
  • Those looking to earn airline miles

I think the process of deciding whether it makes sense to buy Starpoints for redemptions at SPG hotels is pretty straightforward — just look at the paid rate, and compare it to the number of points required, multiplied by 2.275 cents per point. Sometimes the numbers work out, especially if traveling during peak season.

Perhaps what’s more intriguing is that Marriott Rewards doesn’t typically sell points at a discount, so this is an opportunity to indirectly buy Marriott Rewards points at a great rate. You can convert Starpoints into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, meaning that this is an opportunity to indirectly buy Marriott Rewards points for ~0.76 cents each, which is potentially an excellent deal.

Starting in August the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs will be merged, and this will present some incredible sweet spot redemptions for a limited time, given that the program won’t initially have a Category 8, and also won’t initially have peak pricing. As a result, you’ll have the chance to score some great deals on the highest end Marriott and Starwood hotels, so you want to be sure you have the points needed for that. For example, peak season stays at Starwood’s Category 7 hotels (like the St. Regis Deer Valley and St. Regis Aspen) will go from costing 35,000 Starpoints per night to 20,000 Starpoints per night, which is a great value when you consider that these hotels go for $1,000+ per night.


Redeem Starpoints at the St. Regis Deer Valley

The other great potential value here is acquiring airline miles this way. Starpoints can be transferred to over two dozen airline partners, including the following:

Aegean Airlines Miles+BonusAmerican Airlines AAdvantageHainan Airlines Fortune Wings ClubQatar Airways Privileges Club
AeroMexico Club PremierAsiana Airlines Asiana ClubHawaiian Airlines HawaiianMilesSaudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan
Air Canada AeroplanBritish Airways Executive ClubIberia PlusSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Air China CompanionCathay Pacific Asia MilesJapan Airlines (JAL) Mileage BankThai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Air France/KLM FlyingBlueChina Eastern Airlines Eastern ClubJet Airwaystopbonus loyalty
Air New Zealand Air PointsDelta Air Lines SkyMilesKorean Air SkypassUnited Mileage Plus
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanEmirates SkywardsLATAM Airlines LATAMPASS KmsVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
Alitalia MilleMigliaEtihad Airways GuestLifeMiles of AviancaVirgin Australia Velocity
ANA Mileage ClubGol SmilesLufthansa 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.

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, and significantly less than you’d pay if buying miles directly from the airline.


Pick up Alaska miles at a discount for redemptions in Japan Airlines first class

Another sweet spot — acquiring American miles for 1.46 cents each

Through May 31, 2018, American is offering a 25% bonus when you convert select hotel points into AAdvantage miles.

The bonus can be used for multiple hotel partners, and bonus miles should post to your AAdvantage account within seven business days of when the initial conversion posted to your account. There’s no limit to how many bonus points you can earn through this promotion, but registration is required using promotion code HTT25.

Starpoints convert into American miles at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get 5,000 bonus miles. So if you transferred 20,000 Starpoints you’d get 31,250 AAdvantage miles (which is 25,000 miles plus a 25% bonus), meaning you can potentially convert Starpoints into American miles at a 1:1.5625 ratio, which is something that many many find worthwhile.


Use American miles for Etihad’s business class

Leveraging this promotion, you could purchase 20,000 Starpoints for $455, which would give you 31,250 AAdvantage miles. That’s an effective rate of 1.46 cents per AAdvantage mile, which is significantly less costly than purchasing them from American directly, even during a promo.

Personally I value American miles at ~1.3 cents each, though I’m running low on them, which clearly means they have quite a bit of value for me lately. So I’m tempted to take advantage of this promotion, because acquiring miles at this rate isn’t something that’s otherwise typically possible, and we only see the transfer bonus from hotels to AAdvantage at most once per year.

I’d recommend buying Starpoints sooner rather than later so that you have plenty of time to initiate the transfer process here.

Bottom line

Purchasing Starpoints for 35% off can represent an excellent deal, regardless of whether you’re trying to acquire Starpoints, Marriott Rewards points, or airline miles. It’s an especially good deal if you’re trying to acquire American AAdvantage miles, given the two promotions you can stack at the moment.

Do you plan on buying Starpoints for 35% off?

Comments

  1. Remember to use your SPG card to purchase points as it gives 2X!

    @lucky: I might take the bit on this purchase. I have a stay coming up in Hong Kong in November. When the two programs merge, will the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong cost 60K Marriott Rewards Points?

  2. I have never bought points in the past but was swayed by this article…and the impending SPG AMEX earning devaluation. Currently, you get 1.25 airline miles per dollar spent on SPG AMEX but this is dropping with the merger. In the future it will be 2x points per dollar spent but the transfer ratio makes it essentially a 1/3 less airline miles per dollar spent. I’m trying to rack up as as many as possible before August.

  3. @ Erik — It will indeed, at least for the rest of the year. And good point about the SPG Amex, will update the post to reflect that.

  4. Topcashback gives a little cash back through points.com. Also, if you have the spg amex check for targeted promos in your offers. I had $50 statement credit x 2 for $1500 spend. So, stacking everything it turns out about $610 for about 31.2k SPG, which will be enough for three nights anywhere after Aug 1 through the end of the year. Alternatively if you have three spg members in one house, it is about $1830 for a Marriott Travel package at the 1-5 base level cert.

  5. I maxed out my SPG points purchased two years in a row. Under this 35% promo, I bought 60K worth of Starpoints for about $1300. In addition to the 10K transfer bonus to Alaska MileagePlan, I was able to redeem for a one way Cathay first class from JFK – HKG. Cash value of the same flight was $19K! Totally worth buying points in this scenario.

  6. @Bob, my history is such that transferring points from SPG to MR did NOT count towards lifetime. If anyone has experienced otherwise, please explain!

  7. Honestly, shocked that you’re close to running out of any type of point currency!

    Although, I’ve noticed that I’m getting to the point as well where I’m earning or purchasing points more quickly than I’m able to take the PTO to use them!

  8. I just recently opened my wife’s SPG account.

    SPG has a 14 day restriction before you are allowed to buy point.s Does anybody how strict SPG is handling this issue?

    Thanks.

  9. @ Timo — In my experience very strict — don’t expect the points to post if you buy them and the account isn’t 14 days old yet.

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