Starwood is offering up to a 25% discount on purchased points through the end of the year.
- 10% off 500–9,500 Starpoints
- 15% off 10,000–14,500 Starpoints
- 20% off 15,000–19,500 Starpoints
- 25% off 20,000 Starpoints
This isn’t an uncommon offer — Starwood offered this back in April, last November, and the previous March — but it’s also the biggest discount I’ve seen (it can liekly be taken to be as good an offer as it gets).
The ‘normal’ price on Starpoints is 3.5 cents per point. Ouch. Fortunately, unlike airline miles, you don’t pay an additional tax on top. And there’s not also a ‘processing fee’ like many of the airlines charge.
If you max out on the discount, and buy 20,000 points (which is what you are permitted to buy each year, although each member of a family at the same residential address could buy 20,000 and combine the points into a single account), it would cost you $525… that’s 2.625 cents per point.
Still not compelling, it can be possible to get better than 2.6 cents per point in value from hotel redemptions but only the best redemptions do orders of magnitude better.
Here’s what it opens the door for, though. Most Starwood airline mileage transfer partners are at a 1:1 ratio, and they give you an additional 5000 miles when you transfer 20,000.
You can view buying 20,000 Starpoints as really buying 25,000 airline miles — and then you are buying miles at 2.1 cents apiece.
That’s going to be too rich for most people, but if you need to top off for instance an Alaska Airlines account towards a good specific award then this can be a reasonable way to do it as it’s a lower price than Alaska usually sells miles for even when they’re running promotions.
For most people, this is one to take a pass on, but some will find it strategically useful. It’s unfortunate for those people that the number of points you can purchase per account is so limited. Clearly the idea is to top off an existing balance, rather than to pay for significant stays at a discount.