Starwood is Selling Points at 25% Off — Here’s When You Would Want to Buy

Starwood is offering up to a 25% discount on purchased Starpoints… should you buy any?

Save Up to 25% on Starpoints now through December 13, 2013 
Buy Starpoints® now through December 13, 2013, and receive up to 25% off the regular price when you buy 5,000 Starpoints or more. The more you buy, the more you save.

• Buy 500–4,500 Starpoints: N/A
• Buy 5,000–12,500 Starpoints: SAVE 20%
• Buy 13,000–20,000 Starpoints: SAVE 25%

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), 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 American Airlines account towards a good specific award then this can be a reasonable way to do it as it’s a lower price than American 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.

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, 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. I’m curious, what is the best offer you’ve seen on a “buy StarPoints” promotion and how does this one compare?

  2. There was a special purchase starpoints internally at my company for 1000@17.50 in 2010. I went all in and bought 300k points. Still milking my points via C&P redemption.

  3. Discover Card offers 5% cash back this quarter for “internet shopping”. It would be interesting if qualifies for the 5%. Anyone tried it?

  4. In terms of ‘topping off’, you might find a lot of value by purchasing the points for a flights and nights redemption with Starwood. We’re at 50k SPG points and could then redeem for 5 nights at Cat 4 + 50k airline miles. So essentially buying 5 nights at a Cat 4 for $105/night.

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