I just got an email today from Starwood Preferred Guest announcing up to a 25% discount on the purchase of Starpoints. Through December 31, 2014, you can purchase up to 20,000 Starpoints with the following discounts:
- 500 – 9,500 Starpoints — 3.15 cents each (10% off)
- 10,000 – 14,500 Starpoints — 2.975 cents each (15% off)
- 15,000 – 19,500 Starpoints — 2.8 cents each (20% off)
- 20,000 Starpoints — 2.625 cents each (25% off)
Should you buy Starpoints at the discounted price? Maybe…
Who shouldn’t miss this sale? Who can skip it? How can you get around the 20k Starpoint purchase cap?
I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each, so buying them without a use already in mind doesn’t made sense at 2.625 cents each, especially when you can get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with a 25,000 Starpoint bonus after spending $5k within six months.
But there are a ton of Starpoint redemptions where you can get 3-4+ cents of value per point. If you have one of those redemptions ready to go, but you need a few more points, this can be a great deal. What redemptions specifically might offer you a great deal?
Nights & Flights Awards
My favorite SPG awards are Nights & Flights, which allow you to redeem Starpoints for hotel nights and airline miles at once.
- 60,000 Starpoints: you get 50,000 American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, or other 1:1 SPG airline partner miles plus five free nights in a Category 3 hotel
- 70,000 Starpoints: you get the same 50k airline miles plus five free nights at a Category 4 hotel
Check out my full write up of Nights & Flights Awards in How to Get 10 Nights in Hawaii and First Class Flights for Free.
Cash & Points Awards
Cash & Points Awards often let you get 3 or 4 cents of value per point by getting a hotel award night for half the normal amount of points plus a cash co-pay to make up the difference. The drawback is that they are capacity controlled, unlike free night awards, which are available whenever there is a room for sale.
Check out my full write up of Cash & Points awards in A Chance to “Buy” Starpoints for 1.1 Cents: Starwood Cash & Points Awards.
Transfer to Airline Miles
Starpoints transfer to dozens of airline partners, often at a better than 1:1 ratio. For any of the airline partners–including US Airways, American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and many more–listed here with a 1:1 ratio, you can transfer 20k Starpoints to 25k miles.
That means buying 20k Starpoints gets you 25k miles for $525, which is 2.1 cents per mile.
I don’t value any of those miles at 2.1 cents in the abstract, but there are tons of awards you can book that get more than 2.1 cents of value from any of those miles. If you have such an award in mind and see award space, this can be a great way to get the miles you’re short.
Getting Around the 20k Purchase Limit
You are limited to purchasing 20,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year. But Starwood is encouraging folks to buy Starpoints at the discounted rate for friends and family during this promotion.
There is no limit to how many gifts of 20k Starpoints you can give.
And the only limit to free sharing of Starpoints between accounts is that the addresses on file with SPG must be the same for 30 days before sharing. So you can buy 20k Starpoints for all the people with whom you share an address and later combine them into one account.
Don’t Expect a Category Bonus for Buying Starpoints
Starpoints purchases are through points.com, not starwood.com, so you won’t get a category bonus for hotel spending.
I am not going to buy Starpoints now because I have enough at the moment to meet my needs.
The 25% discount on Starpoints means you can buy them for 2.625 cents each. If you have a great idea for their use, and you already have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and business version, this can be a great deal for you. But I do not recommend buying the points speculatively.