A Better Way to Spend a Million Starpoints

About a month ago Starwood released some statistics on their program from 2012, perhaps what got the most attention was that a member was stupid enough to spend 870,000 Starpoints for 2 business class tickets to Italy.

Why is this stupid? Because even if they don’t want to worry about availability, they could have spent double miles to buy out of capacity controls through Alitalia’s frequent flyer program — 400,000 Alitalia miles would have gotten them 2 Los Angeles – Rome business class roundtrip tickets out of much broader inventory than saver awards. So 320,000 Starpoints transferred to Alitalia would have been enough, and again that’s without even looking for saver awards that they could have ‘saved’ 550,000 Starpoints.

For folks with more Starpoints than sense, looking to burn through their balance (perhaps bitter over announced changes to cash and points awards) can do much better.

Kagehitokiri passes along a redemption idea for burning a whole lot of Starpoints.

960,000 Starpoints transfer to 1.2 million Virgin Atlantic miles. You should transfer no more than 60,000 Starpoints per day, however, in order to get the full 5000 mile bonus for each 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

American Express points transfer to Virgin Atlantic as well, and I tend to earn Virgin miles for my 1-day Avis car rentals (1000 miles per rental regardless of rental length).

Virgin Atlantic offers a 7-night stay for two people, inclusive of all food and drink and return boat transfers from a nearby island at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.

At 74 acres, Necker Island is Sir Richard Branson’s private island, set amidst turquoise waters in a stunning and unspoilt area of the Caribbean. Share this island paradise with other couples during specially selected ‘Celebration Weeks’, when up to 14 couples share the island ‘house party’ style.

This works out to 137,143 Starpoints per night for an all-inclusive. Crazy, right? But it should also be a crazy experience. And compared to the retail rate there you’re getting nearly 3 cents per point.

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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  1. You’re assuming the trip to italy was redeemed as part of a well laid out plan, whereas it could have been a last minute emergency purchase? I once blew 70k skypesos on two one way F awards JFK-DTW because I had arrived too late to catch a hidden city ticket 😮

  2. “… was stupid enough to spend 870,000 Starpoints for 2 business class tickets to Italy”

    I am pleased to see your comments on this with matter-of-fact verbatim. In this day & time nobody calls things as he sees it, “politically correct” hypocrisy. Heck even Christmas is taken away, now you have to celebrate Xmas in HK, Taiwan or other Asian countries.

    I read you blog to see your opinion and you laid it out. Thanks!

  3. For that kind of money you could rent a nice house on Virgin Gorda with a similar view for a month or more. You’d have enough left over for a car and food and everything else you need. Or you could rent a good-sized sailboat and have a different view every day for two or three weeks, even if you had to pay for a crewed charter rather than a bareboat.

  4. 1.2m Virgin Atlantic also converts to 2.4m HHonors points, although somehow I can’t see Starwood advertising that route 😉

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