Until July 1, 2016, Starwoodis offering a 30% discount on the normal purchase price of SPG points.
The deal applies to all purchases of 5,000 points.
This is the second cheapest I’ve ever seen Starpoints sold, behind last month’s 2.275 cents price that was only open to SPG credit card holders. Since you can transfer Starpoints to most types of miles at a rate of 20,000 Starpoints = 25,000 miles, buying Starpoints for 2.45 cents is like buying many types of miles for 1.96 cents each.
How to Use Starpoints
There are three main ways to get huge value from Starpoints.
- Free nights at SPG properties
- Cash & points nights at SPG properties
- 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:
Last year I booked two free nights for 12,000 points per night at the Westin Maui when it was going for over $400 per night.
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 have far better transfer options than Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Ultimate Rewards.
The best four options are Asiana, Aeroplan, Alaska, and new partner Virgin America. Starpoints transfer in a 20k points to 25k miles ratio (1:1.25) to all four airlines, and only Aeroplan is a 1:1 transfer partner of another transfer program (Membership Rewards.)
Buying 20,000 Starpoints for $490 would allow you to transfer to 25,000 miles. That’s like buying the miles for 1.96 cents each. (Not a good deal speculatively, but possibly a good deal if you have an immediate high-value use.)
Buying 30,000 Starpoints for $735 would allow you to transfer to 35,000 miles, which is like buying miles for 2.1 cents each. While $735 for 35,000 miles is a terrible deal in the abstract, it is enough Asiana miles to book a one way in Business Class to Southern South America and almost enough Virgin America points (45,000) to book a one way in Business Class to Australia.
When to Buy (Math)
Is buying SPG points for 2.45 cents each a good deal?
I value SPG points at 2.5 cents each, but I don’t really want to convert hundreds of dollars to points without a plan for them. 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.
You can buy 5,000 to 30,000 SPG Starpoints for 2.45 cents each until June 1. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate uses for the points where that price offers great value.
Key Link: Buy SPG Points