Starwood Hotels Offering 20% Discount on Starpoints Purchases
Per this thread on FlyerTalk, Starwood is offering a 20% discount on all Starpoint purchases through November 30th. Purchasing Starpoints normally costs 3.5 cents per point. With this promotion, you can buy Starpoints for 2.8 cents each.
To purchase, simply follow this link and input your Starwood Preferred Guest information along with your payment selection.
I see that Starpoints top your Mile Value Leaderboard. Is this a good deal? Should I take part in this promotion?
Starpoints top the Mile Value Leaderboard due to Starwood’s versatile number of frequent flyer transfer partners. Better yet, for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to frequent flyer programs, Starwood will kick in 5,000 additional miles. That’s a 25% bonus for every transfer! A complete list of Starwood airline transfer partners can be found here.
Though you can purchase Starpoints through this promotion for 2.8 cents and I value Starpoints at 2.44 cents, there are still a few ways that this deal could make sense. For one thing, my valuation is strictly based on airline transfers, and many people don’t find that to be the best use of SPG points.
One of the best ways to extract maximum value out of Starpoints is through their Cash & Points hotel awards, where you pay a small amount of cash along with Starpoints for an award night.
I found several examples of hotel award redemptions that got more than 2.8 cents value per Starpoint.
Pulling up some dates in May, I found the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel for approximately $270/night. With the Cash & Points option, you would pay $60 + 4,000 Starpoints for a room.
To see what value we get out of the Starpoints, I subtracted $60 from the $270 room rate. We are using 4,000 Starpoints for the remaining $210 balance due on the room rate.
$270-$60= $210 $210/4,000= 0.0525
We are getting 5.25 cents per Starpoint, an incredible value!
Another place to get more than 2.8 cents per Starpoint is at Starwood’s luxury properties. I found exorbitant room rates at the W Hotel in Bali later this month, but Cash & Points award nights were still readily available.
It will cost $425 per night at this property or $150 + 8,000 Starpoints. Crunching the numbers, we should subtract $150 from $425 to get $275. In essence, we are using 8,000 Starpoints to save $275 in cash. This redemption is not as lucrative as the Sheraton Frankfurt, but we still get 3.43 cents in value for each Starpoint.
If this were a property you were dying to try, or you absolutely had to stay here for your trip, purchasing the Starpoints would make sense. You would be buying the Starpoints for 2.8 cents and redeeming them for 3.43 cents.
It’s pretty clear that if you value hotel rooms at their retail rate, this can be a good promotion.
How many Starpoints can I purchase through this promotion?
Starwood caps the number of Starpoints individuals can buy at 20,000 per year. If you have not already bought Starpoints this year, you can purchase up to 20,000 in increments of 500.
Can I buy Starpoints and transfer them to someone else?
According to Starwood’s terms and conditions, “Starpoints may be transferred between two designated Program accounts sharing the same residential mailing address.” Spouses can easily transfer between each other, but attempting to transfer to others is a clear violation of Starwood’s terms and conditions.
Purchase United Miles With Up To A 60% Bonus
Dubbed “People Power” and in the same vein as communal deals on Groupon and Living Social, United is encouraging frequent flyers to spread the word about this promotion. The more people who buy United miles, the more the bonus rises, maxing out at a 60% miles bonus if more than 4,000 people participate.
The link to this promotion can be found here, which ends on October 19th. As of the time of this writing, 427 people have bought miles, a little more than 10% needed to break the 4,000 participant barrier. As it stands, buying United miles at this time in the People Power promotion will get you a 30% bonus on your purchase. If no one else bought miles, you would be getting them for about 2.9 cents per mile. If enough people take part and the 60% bonus is achieved, you will be purchasing miles for about 2.3 cents per mile.
When do the miles post to my account? How will I know which bonus I receive?
According to the terms and conditions below, the amount of miles you purchase should post to your account within 48 hours. Bonus miles, whether the current 30% or anything up to 60%, will post approximately seven days after the promotion ends on October 19th.
Is this a good deal?
United miles are some of the most valuable currency out there. Per the Mile Value Leaderboard, I put their value at 1.81 cents per mile. Oneway awards on United can be booked for half the price of roundtrip tickets. United belongs to the largest airline alliance, the Star Alliance, and allows you to redeem your miles for travel on dozens of partners. For a complete list of Star Alliance members click here.
United’s website displays Star Alliance availability with relative reliability, and you have the option of adding on a free oneway to your award ticket. For more reading on my valuation of United miles and the free oneway trick, make sure to read my past posts Free Oneways on United Awards and How Much are Mileage Plus Miles Worth?
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this deal, even if more than 4,000 people take part and the bonus kicks up to 60%. Buying miles at 2.3 cents only makes sense if you have a specific award in mind and need to top off your account to reach that goal. The fact that we don’t even know if the 60% threshold will be attained makes me worry as well. This is rolling the dice on a gamble that won’t pay off if it hits.
If you are looking to buy miles for use on Star Alliance carriers outright, read my post about the US Airways 100% Share Miles Bonus which is available until October 31st. In this deal, you can share miles between Dividend Miles accounts and essentially buy up to 50k US Airways miles for 1.1 cents each. This is a fantastic deal and one which I maxed out with no specific redemption in mind; that’s how highly I thought of the promotion.
Though the United People Power promotion might sound like an interesting play, I would steer clear and instead focus on the US Airways share miles bonus if you are simply looking to boost your Star Alliance mileage balance.
At first glance it may seem like the Starpoints 20% discount is not worth your time. However, there are specific stays, especially Cash & Points reward nights and stays at luxury properties, where this deal could make sense.
Though the United People Power promotion attempts to incentivize people to purchase points in bulk, the math doesn’t add up. United miles are still prohibitively expensive with this so-called deal. The best way to obtain cheap miles for Star Alliance redemptions is through the US Airways share miles promotion.