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Starwood ordinarily charges 3.5 cents per purchased Starpoint. If you max out this promotion you can buy up to 30,000 Starpoints 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.
As I’ve explained, there can be value in this deal whether you want to redeem Starpoints for hotel stays, convert Starpoints into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio, or convert Starpoints into airline miles.
In this post I wanted to outline some potentially unique ways to generate miles through this promotion, some of which I’ve covered before, and some of which I haven’t.
Buy American miles for 1.46 cents each
Through May 31, 2018, American is offering a 25% bonus when you convert Starpoints into AAdvantage miles. Bonus miles will post to your AAdvantage account within seven days of the initial conversion posting. 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.
Leveraging this promotion, you could purchase 20,000 Starpoints for $455, which would give you 31,250 AAdvantage miles. That’s a rate of 1.46 cents per AAdvantage mile, which is significantly less costly than purchasing them from American directly, even during a promo. For example, during American’s current promo on purchased miles, the lowest cost is 2.08 cents per mile, so buying Starpoints is a much better deal.
Buy Alaska miles for 1.82 cents each
Alaska Mileage Plan miles are one of my favorite points currencies. Starpoints convert into Alaska miles at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get 5,000 bonus miles. So if you bought 20,000 Starpoints for $455 you could convert those into 25,000 Alaska miles, which is a rate of 1.82 cents per Alaska mile.
Can this promotion be scaled?
The biggest limitation with buying Starpoints is that you’re limited to 30,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year. If you want to do a direct mileage transfer you may not even want to buy that many, since you only want to convert Starpoints into airline miles in 20,000 points increments, since that’s when you get the 5,000 point bonus.
Starwood does allow household points transfers. The idea is that you can transfer points between accounts registered at the same address for at least 30 days at no cost. Typically there’s no limit to how many household accounts you can transfer between, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to manipulate this. In other words, truly only use this for people at your address, and don’t change the addresses on a dozen accounts so you can combine that many points.
In 2016 I wrote about how Starwood was allegedly preventing people from transferring points between household accounts when the clear goal was to get around the yearly purchase limit. While that was a statement made by a Starwood representative, as far as I can tell that’s not actually the policy — it’s not in the T&Cs, and I’ve received several messages from readers who have stated that they’ve been able to do household transfers on Starpoints that they purchased.
Everyone has to decide for themselves here, but best I can tell it should generally be possible to combine points between accounts.
This promotion gets even better then!
If you are in fact able to combine purchased Starpoints across multiple accounts, this means you can buy American miles for 1.46 cents each and Alaska miles for 1.82 cents each in much larger quantities. But that opens up a potentially even better deal.
Say you buy 30,000 Starpoints each for three people in your household, at a cost of $2,047.50. You’d have 90,000 Starpoints, and once they’re in a single account, you’d have 270,000 Marriott Rewards points. You could then use those points to book one of Marriott’s awesome Hotel + Air Packages.
For example, 270,000 Marriott points will get you 120,000 Alaska miles plus a seven night stay at a Category 1-5 Marriott Rewards property.
Let’s take the seven night hotel stay out of the equation. Buying 120,000 Alaska miles for $2,047.50 is like paying 1.7 cents per Alaska mile. That’s a lower rate than you’ll ever see Alaska sell miles directly, and best of all, you get a free seven night stay thrown in.
This might be your only chance to do this
Generally speaking, this may be the only chance you have to take advantage of a promotion like this:
- American’s 25% bonus on hotel points transfers expires on May 31
- Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages will be changing in August, though we don’t know the full details of how they’ll be changing
- With Starwood Preferred Guest being folded into Marriott Rewards, we don’t know if they’ll sell points aggressively in the future (this is something Marriott has rarely done)
- It’s unlikely that the new Marriott program will maintain Starwood’s flexible policy of allowing points transfers between accounts
So this really is a great opportunity. Even though I have a huge balance of Starpoints, I generally don’t like to touch them, since I feel like the value will be going up even further soon. So maybe I’m crazy, but I’m tempted to take advantage of this promotion for three accounts at my household, mainly as a method of acquiring Alaska miles for 1.7 cents each, which would be the lowest rate I’ve ever bought them at.
Buying Starpoints for 2.275 cents each is a great deal in general, and in particular a good deal given the current opportunities available. This should be a way to buy American miles for 1.46 cents each, and Alaska miles for 1.7 cents each. Like I said, I see no reason household transfers with these points shouldn’t be possible — the terms don’t prohibit it, and I’ve received several reader reports suggesting this should be possible, and I have no reason to doubt them.
Anyone plan on buying Starpoints as a way of generating Alaska or American miles?