50% Discount on Purchase of Starwood Points, Buy Your Choice of Airline Miles for 1.4 Cents Apiece

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Starwood is offering a 50% discount on purchase of Starpoints. This is the biggest discount ever on Starwood Starpoints, which I believe is the most valuable currency (one point is worth more than one of any other point).

The ‘regular’ discount that Starwood runs occasionally is 25%, and the biggest previous discount was 35% over the summer.

This is valid on purchases of 5000 points or more, and will be available through December 31.

Although most reports I’ve seen so far are that members get this 50% off offer, the specific deal is targeted and it’s up to 50% off.

You have to log in to see the deal.

And in fact, I’m only targeted for 30% off, which is a shame, at 50% off I’m a buyer. I won’t take advantage of a 30% discount, that prices points at 2.5 cents apiece.

Though Starwood allows purchase of up to 30,000 points per year the purchase page only gives me an option up to 27,000. So to max out I’d presumably make a 25,000 point purchase and a 5000 point purchase.

At 50% off, purchases of 5000 points or more are 1.75 cents apiece.

I often get 3-4 cents per point in hotel redemptions, so this will be useful to some people — because outside of high and low season pricing at higher redemption categories, pricing for hotel awards is fixed while rates for hotels are highly variable across the year. As long as there’s a standard room available redemptions are best when hotels are at their priciest.


W Doha


Al Maha Desert Resort

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. The cost of 20,000 Starpoints under this offer is $350 (1.75 cents apiece) but when that gets you 25,000 miles you’ve purchased those 25,000 miles at — and then you are buying miles at 1.4 cents apiece.

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. Another play is Japan Airlines miles, JAL’s Mileage Bank is one of my favorite programs for distance-based oneworld awards and for Emirates redemptions.

Virgin America transfers are interesting, buy 30,000 Starpoints and transfer to 35,000 Virgin America Elevate points which is enough for one-way Virgin Atlantic Upper Class one-way between the East Coast and London (plus fuel surcharges).

Korean Air is an amazing option for first class redemptions, Europe business class redemptions, and Hawaii redemptions.


Korean Air First Class

And Aegean arguably has the single best Star Alliance award chart.

Here’s the full list of airline mileage transfer partners:

Frequent Flyer Program Exchange Ratio (Starpoints : Miles)
Aegean Airlines 1:1
Aeromexico Club Premier 1:1
Aeroplan/Air Canada 1:1
Air Berlin 1:1
Air China Companion 1:1
Air New Zealand & Air Points 65:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1
All Nippon Mileage Club 1:1
American Airlines AAdvantage 1:1
Asia Miles 1:1
Asiana Airlines 1:1
British Airways Executive Club 1:1
China Eastern Airlines 1:1
China Southern SkyPearl Club 1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles 1:1
Emirates Skywards 1:1
Etihad Airways 1:1
Flying Blue 1:1
Gol Smiles 2:1
Hainan Airlines 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank 1:1
Jet Airways 1:1
Korean Air Skypass 1:1
LAN LANPASS 1:1.5
Miles and More 1:1
Qatar Airways 1:1
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan 1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1
Thai Airways RoyalOrchidPlus 1:1
United Mileage Plus 2:1
Velocity Frequent Flyer 1:1
Virgin America Elevate 1:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1

Buy Starpoints

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. Gary,
    I am a platinum marriott member who got a starwood preferred platinum member due to the Marriott-Starwood merger. I only was offered a 30 percent discount-not 50.
    I wonder how they determine who gets 30 percent vs 50 percent.
    Maybe you can ask starwood for us.
    Best regards.

  2. Have you worked through how these points purchases might work out using Marriott travel packages?

  3. 30,000 starpoints translates to 90000 MR points. That’s 1/3 of what you need for a 270k Marriott travel package, generating 132,000 UA points or 120,000 on other airlines. Assuming you have the other 180,000 points, you’re effectively picking up 1/3 of 132,000 UA miles , or 44000 UA miles, for $575 (with the 50% discount, which neither I or my wife got). That’s 1.3 cents per UA point, or 1.44 cents for other airlines. That doesn’t include AMEX or other bonus points. It also doesn’t include the value of a week (or any portion) at a Cat 5 Marriott hotel.

  4. Gary,
    Can you explain a bit more about this statement?
    “…when factoring in the double points for payment with a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express — 1.7 cents apiece.”

  5. Both my wife (no SPG status) and I (SPG Gold) are “targeted” at 35 percent, not 50; we’ll pass.

  6. 25% here. Why no love for this SPG Plat? Even at 50% I would still not buy. I have more points than I need, Still feel slighted by SPG by this.

  7. @Patrick I think he means paying with an SPG card you get another 2 SPG points per dollar return, bringing down the price from 1.75 cents per starpoint to 1.7

    I got targeted for 50%, no status!

  8. @Elaine
    2x points because you get 2x when using your SPG card for SPG expenses? SPG hotels, food, etc?
    So if I bought the max number of points 30,000 and that ends up costing me $525, I’d get an additional 525 points due to the 2x factor?
    A total of 31.050 points?
    Thanks

  9. Husband is Platinum and I have no status and we both were offered 25%. Sorry, we’ll pass. I’d have bought 30,000 at 50% off, probably for both of us.

  10. @Tom
    Now you really got me confused. What does points.com have to do with 2x on this purchase?
    Thanks

  11. 30% for me (SPG Platinum/Lifetime Gold). With the spend I can otherwise generate from my SPG Amex, it is not a good deal for me either

  12. @Patrick — MOST companies “sell” their points, NOT directly, but through the website points.com. (Have you never purchased points before? Even if you haven’t/don’t, try the process sometime — without clicking on the final “BUY” button: you’ll see the website change from anyairlineorhotel.com to points.com.) Thus, because you are *not* buying the points directly from Starwood (or other airline or hotel site), your co-branded credit card does not qualify this transaction as a purchase from the brand, but rather it will fall in the general spending category for 1x points (no bonus).

    So you spend (to use Gary’s example above) $350 on 20,000 points (@ a 50% discount), but remember you’re buying from points.com NOT Starwood. You get the points you buy, plus 1x points for using the credit card (not 2x or 3x or whatever bonus category you may think you’re qualifying for) — so you would get 20,000 points from the points purchase, plus an extra 350 Starpoints for using your SPG AMEX card for the transaction. Total: 20,350 points for $350 = $0.0171 per point.

  13. @Gary, that’s a first! They never earned 2x on purchases I made previously . . .

  14. Doesn’t sound like a deal breaker then. It’s either going to be 2x or 1x points. So you might “lose out” on 525 SPG points at the most.

  15. Me 50%, spouse 35%, kid 30%. Note I have an account balance of 0 and no activity for years – go figure.

  16. @Frank — did you READ Gary’s post? Not only is there a BIG and rather colorful graphic from SPG stating, quite clearly, “SAVE UP TO 50& ON STARPOINTS — See your special offer, It Could Be Highest Discount Yet”; but also he wrote this: “Although most reports I’ve seen so far are that members get this 50% off offer, the specific deal is targeted and it’s up to 50% off.”

  17. I’m assuming this is doable?
    My wife has the 50% offer.
    She buys / gifts 30,000 to me and she also buys 30,000 for herself and we transfer them into my account?

  18. could we have stumbled on a workaround?
    Borrow someone else’s coupon after they have used it?

  19. Stumbled? Nah…

    I just completed part 1.
    She bought and gifted them to me and they are already in my account. 🙂 that was FAST.

  20. in the terms and conditions she can gift other accounts up to 30,000 points per account.
    Now if only someone lent me a coupon…..

  21. I’m getting slightly different math.

    Spend $525 for 30,000 points.
    Get $13.13 from TopCashback.
    Earn 2 points per dollar with SPG Amex.

    So you’ve spent ($525 – $13.13) for (30,000 + 1,050) points. That’s 1.6 cents a point.

  22. So, if I have this straight, if my wife and I both had a 50% discount, we could buy/gift 90,000 points for $1575, convert them to 270,000 Marriott points, then get a UA travel package giving us 152,000 UA miles (with the current 20K bonus) plus 7 nights in a Marriott, which gives us UA miles for 1.04 cents plus a free week in a Marriott, plus 3150 extra SPG points for using the SPG card? Sounds like a pretty good deal, now if only we had gotten 50% instead of 30 and 35%, I would be a pretty happy camper (well, not literally camper, cuz I would be in a Marriott hotel, but pretty happy, nonetheless!)

  23. @BG
    It could be if you have some plans in the near firture to use these “cheap” points in an advantageous way.
    Gary gave a few examples of how you could get some really good value out of this offer.

  24. OK, this is weird. Never stayed at a Starwood, haven’t had the cards in 4 years although still Gold, have exactly 183 points in my account, yet I’m targeted for 50%.

    I guess they’re trying to get new patrons.

  25. Yes, it is really starting to look like the more you have used the program, the smaller discount you will be offered.

  26. My wife and I just joined SPG to try this out, along with a cat. My wife got 25%, I got 30%, the cat got 35%.

  27. I dunno why but I got 50% off and it immediately made me a buyer because I decided that this was a great opportunity to put some points into my NEW SQ KrisFlyer account, which has had no points since I joined the program 2-3 months ago after being approved for the CSR, in preparation to begin redeeming premium award tickets on SQ DIRECTLY using UR points from the CSR account, rather than trying the nearly impossible feat of booking SQ awards through united.com or using UA miles.

    I just no longer cared for the gymnastics of relying on UA to try to redeem premium tickets on SQ, which is a great *A airline I’d redeemed a lot of UA miles to fly on in premium cabins until the two carriers had a falling out that does not seem to have an end in sight. This SPG offer seemed like a perfect opportunity to begin getting some points into my KrisFlyer account. All my limited AMEX MR points will go there as well, and then I’d just need top off the account by transferring UR points to KrisFlyer miles as necessary from my CSR accounts. That’s for next year and beyond because I am all set for this year. By that time, I should have enough points/miles to be able to criss cross N and SE Asia in premium cabins on SQ 😉

  28. BTW, I made the purchase above with my Chase United Club visa card, which earns 1.5 UA miles/$ on general, non-UA spend and would thus earn me 1.5x UA miles/$ here as well…

  29. I’ve stopped staying at Starwood.They are like Barclays. If you don’t stay there , they will give you offers for free nights and better points purchases.
    When will they learn we know all about this, and it’s BAD BUSINESS to offer those who don;t stay often a better deal.
    I am going with Hyatt and IHG. HYatt Ziva always upgrades me to a suite, and despite being an all inclusive, they have a Regency Club with better food and premium alcohol.
    It’s like AA giving away Exec Plat for flying a low number fo miles in a promotion.
    I have not been upgraded in months on short flights, and have NEVER been able to use a 500 mile upgrade

  30. SPG Plat last 3 years, already qualified for 2017. Got 50% bonus.

    There’s no apparent pattern in the data points….

  31. Calling BS on Starwood promo. Wife was offered 50% discount the day she opened reward account. She bought 20,000 miles for $350. Credit card transaction was pending for 7 days, then dissapeared. Call Starwood, accounts have to be open for 14 before buying starpoints they say. OK we get it the fine print. But now her account offer is only 25%, why the change in offer to her? Calling BS on Starwood!

    DOC

  32. Hi, I received the 50% off also the day this promotion came out, however when I went back to sign back in to purchase points the offer was changed to 25%. I don’t know what’s going on. Any help would be greatly appreciated

  33. I also was offered 50% on November 1; 25% today. I tried a different browser, and tried using Chrome in incognito mode – same result. Something is rotten in the state of Starwood….

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