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Until May 31, 2015, you can up to 20,000 Starpoints with up to a 25% discount on the normal purchase price.

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Starpoints are normally sold in increments of 500 points for 3.5 cents per point. The percentage discount you receive during the current sale is based on the number of points you buy.

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Purchasing 4,500 points or fewer offers no discount, and you pay the full 3.5 cents per point.

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Purchasing 20,000 points, the maximum points you can purchase per year, receives the full 25% bonus, bringing the price down to 2.625 cents per point.Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 4.04.09 PM

How to Use Starpoints

There are three main ways to get huge value from Starpoints.

  1. Free nights at SPG properties
  2. Cash & points nights at SPG properties
  3. Transfers to airline miles with 25% bonus

1. Free Night Awards

Starpoints can be used for free nights at any Sheraton, W, Westin, Le Meridien, Aloft, Four Points, St. Regis, Element, or Luxury Collection Hotel. Free nights start at 2,000 points per night. And the best part is: if a standard room is for sale, you can book it with Starpoints. Free night awards are not capacity controlled like award flights are.

Here is the Free Night Awards chart:

Book a four night award at Category 3-7 hotels and get a 5th night free. Here are the total prices for five nights:

I just booked two free nights for 12,000 points per night at the Westin Maui when it was going for over $400 per night.

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2. Cash & Points Awards

Cash & Points awards are a way to stretch your cash and your Starpoints. You’ll generally get even more value from your Starpoints through these awards though they are capacity controlled. Here is the Cash & Points chart:

As you’ll notice, a Cash & Points night requires half the Starpoints (or fewer) of a free night plus a cash co-pay.

On a Cash & Points stay, think about it like booking a free night and then buying back half the points for the cash copay. The price of the points you are buying back varies from 1.5 cents (category 4) to 2 cents (category 1.) These are good prices to buy Starpoints.

3. Transfer to Airlines with a Miles Bonus

For people who eschew chain hotels, Starpoints are incredibly valuable to transfer to airline miles because their are so many partner airlines, and in most cases, transferring 20k Starpoints nets you 25k miles in the account of your choice, a 25% bonus!

Starpoints transfer to 30 airlines in total, mostly at favorable rates. Starpoints are the only transferable point to transfer to a major US-based airline in each alliance as well as several major airlines that are not part of any alliance. Starpoints have far better options than Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards.

The best two options are American Airlines and Alaska. Starpoints transfer in a 20k points to 25k miles ratio (1:1.25) to both airlines, and neither airline is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, or Citi ThankYou Points.

Buying 20,000 Starpoints for $525 would allow you to transfer to 25,000 miles. That’s like buying the miles for 2.1 cents each. (Not a good deal speculatively, but possibly a good deal if you have an immediate high-value use.)

When to Buy (Math)

Is buying SPG points for 2.625 cents each a good deal?

I would not buy SPG points speculatively for 2.625 cents each because I value them at 2.5 cents each. But if you have an immediate high value redemption in mind, buying points can be a good deal. I listed the high value uses above. Do the math on the redemption you have in mind.

Buy SPG Points with These Credit Cards

Starpoints purchases are processed by, so the purchases will not code as a bonus “travel” or “hotel” purchase on any credit card. You will not earn category bonuses from the purchase of SPG points.

That means you should make the purchase with whatever card you need to meet a minimum spending requirement on.

For me, that’s the Citi Prestige® Card, which I got for its 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in spending in the first three months, its $250 Air Travel Credit that refunded my first $250 of airfare and award taxes this year, and its unrivaled airport lounge access.

Bottom Line

You can buy 500 to 20,000 SPG Starpoints for as little as 2.625 cents each until May 31. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate uses for the points where that price offers great value.