When to Take Advantage of 25% Off Purchased Starwood Points

Starwood is offering up to 25% off purchased and gifted Starpoints through April 30th.

Save Up to 25% on Starpoints Now Through April 30, 2013

Top off your account for less! Buy Starpoints between March 11th and April 30th, 2013 and receive up to 25% off the regular price. The more you buy, the more you save!

• Buy 500–6,500 Starpoints: SAVE 15%
• Buy 7,000–12,500 Starpoints: SAVE 20%
• Buy 13,000–20,000 Starpoints: SAVE 25%

Now let’s do the math. 20,000 Starpoints still costs you $525. That’s 2.625 cents per point.

Starwood points are worth a lot, and I’ll usually get at least 2 cents per point out of my hotel redemptions. But even for ‘topping off’ towards a hotel award this is dicey. Remember, you’ll get a better deal than buying Starpoints at 2.6 cents with cash and points awards. Those work out to buying back your Starpoints at about 2.1 cents apiece.

And there’s been much grumbling about that price since it’s higher than in the past (though I think it’s still marginally worth it).

But not for hotel awards except the very most expensive. And certainly not speculatively. If you know you have a specific hotel you want to redeem for, where you’re getting at least 2.7 cents a point or higher in value, and you need to buy points to achieve the redemption (a cash and points redemption, or where cash and points is not available) then go ahead. But don’t do it to replenish your points.

Let’s look at this one other way though — airline mileage redemptions.

With most airlines 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 airline miles. The $525 price to buy 20,000 Starpoints now looks like 2.1 cents per airline mile.

That’s not a price I buy miles at. I’m tempted but generally say no to US Airways at 1.88 cents per mile. Those points from US Airways at that price should eventually become American miles. (American was selling miles last month at 2 cents apiece through a 50% bonus.) Starpoints don’t transfer well (2 Starpoints to 1 mile) with United.

But if you need to top off a mileage account other than a United one. And there’s not a cheaper offer (such as a 100% bonus with US Airways or a 50% bonus from American). Then this could be a way of buying miles in your favorite airline cheaper than doing so directly from that airline.

And that’s a time that an offer — that at first blush seems too expensive still — could make good sense.

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. This is a great way to get certain types of miles that are otherwise difficult to accumulate, such as Miles & More miles. Yes, M&M’s award chart is expensive, but using M&M miles is the only way to access LH and LX F awards in advance nowadays.

  2. when i look at the value of my SPG points, i look at the price of a C&P award compared to a flexible reservation and not a pre-paid rate. this is a huge advantage as i can secure a room way in advance and then if a good deal pops up just before i travel then i can grab that and cancel the C&P reservation or just cancel the C&P outright if my plans change. i have done this many times and find it to be a very beneficial strategy.

  3. For a SPG cash & points award, do you have to have the points balance in advance, or do they let you buy the points like Priority Club does? Thanks.

  4. Mike S., for any points reservation (including cash & points) you must have the points in your account before making the reservation. The points are deducted when you confirm the booking. That (plus the fact that Cat 5 redemptions in expensive cities such as New York and London are often worth at least 3-4 cents/point) is why I like to keep a sizable “stash” of SPG points. (Another way to “buy” points is to pay your Federal, State, and property taxes with your SPG Amex, usually at a processing fee cost of 2.5 cents/point or a bit less.)

  5. I think it is still expensive. If you buy bean at CVS, you will get 1000 point for around 8$ and 10000 point for 80$. What do you think?

  6. @goals^n^dreams — At what CVS are you still finding beans? I bought about $30k worth at OD and then CVS over the past 7-8 months, but no more…

  7. Do you get the points from the spending on your card if you purchase them using the SPG AmEx card?

    @Gene-CVS has beans fairly regularly near me. I used them to hit the 10k bonus on my Club Carlson card two weeks ago. There apparently aren’t that many points&miles fanatics in south Louisiana

  8. I took advantage of this deal to get my SPG # to a multiple of 20k which then lets me transfer to ANA and get the SPG trasnfer bonus. So I bought 3500 Starpoints at ~$100 which enabled me to get the 5k bonus coming to 8500 ANA miles for $100…which is about 1.2 cents per mile. This made sense for me because I wasn’t going to get those 3500 points anytime soon.

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