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Sunday Reader Question: Is Buying Starpoints With a 20% Discount a Good Deal?

by on December 9, 2012 · 10 comments

in Buy Miles Promotions, Starwood

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TPG reader Sherie asks:

“I noticed that SPG is running a 20% off when purchasing points. Is this a good deal? I am SPG Gold and hold the AMEX SPG card as well.”

Starwood is offering a 20% discount on buying points until December 14, 2012. The normal price of points is 3.5 cents apiece but with this promotion, you can buy up to 20,000 for $560, or 2.8 cents apiece.

20,000 SPG points for $560. I’m not exactly going crazy over this promo, but it might make sense for some people.

In general, I don’t think this is a great deal. While I find Starpoints to be very valuable, if you purchase them at 2.8 cents apiece, you need to make sure you are going to redeem them for amazing redemptions. I generally get great value out of Cash & Points redemptions and there are also mid level properties during peak times that can make sense to redeem for free night.

If you want to transfer to airline miles, you can transfer to many partners and those 20,000 points would turn into 25,000 airline miles. American is probably one of their most valuable transfer partners, but I personally wouldn’t pay $560 for 25,000 AA miles (2.2 cents a piece), though it isn’t hard to get much more than that, especially on Cathay Pacific First and Business class redemptions from the US to Asia for 55,000 miles in business and 67,500 for first class. Cathay First is a great experience and award availability is pretty good.

Cathay Pacific First Class is relatively cheap to book via AA.com

You mention you have the SPG Amex, which gives 2x on Starwood purchases, however these points are actually sold through points.com, so they unfortunately won’t earn the Starwood bonus.

As always, do the math to see if this makes sense, but if you don’t have an immediate redemption in mind that will get you more than 2.8 cents in value, I’d recommend not purchasing Starpoints- even with the 20% discount.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • John

    My comment here is similar to the one I had for your other Sunday Reader, TPG, on transferring Delta miles. I have been following and reading your blog for the past few month but never wanted enough to post these comments until today. I have read a lot of posts of points/miles buy/transfer, etc. In the end it is not worth it. It’s not a good deal and many times not even an OK deal. So why do you have to write about these things or are you running out of the goodies? I would say if it does not interest you, like you mentioned above, don’t write about it. Anyway, I will still follow and read your blog since occasionally, you do write something that is useful although those are the minority…. You are one of the most active blogger with the highest percentage of useless stories…

  • thepointsguy

    What may not be a great deal for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t for someone else. My goal with these posts is to help people understand the landscape so they can decide for themselves.

  • Jtgray

    I recently found value this way. I needed 6000 points to get to 60,000 points, which I wanted to redeem for two nights at the St. Regis Bal Harbour. Because of the current points – back promotion, I will get 30,000 points back after my stay, so it was worth it to buy the 6,000 points to make the trip happen. With the 30,000 points back, they are worth over 3 cents each at the st. regis.

  • Jtjgray

    John – how about you follow your own advice, and if it doesn’t interest you, you don’t read it…

  • John

    Actually, what may not be a great deal for me, may not be a great deal for someone else in the same situation either. So it depends on the situation and maybe you can make it more useful to the readers by giving a few scenarios where the deal could be a great deal. For this one, it is not a good deal to buy points for the entire free night but maybe good to buy if you only need a few more points like the above example.

  • PJ

    Try to catch the 30K sign on bonus: so far I was first in my family to sign on . I net 35K for spending ~5K. then I refered three family members to apply ( actually I applied on line for them with their permissions) i got 15K referral bonus ( 3@5K) and raked in another 105K after hitting 5K spend for each card. I am working on the low regualr bonus on Starwood business card. All in all, we plan to net 185K starwood points for 5 cards on ~25K spend . I value each SPG point at least 2 cents each; 185K~=$3700 >> ie via a bit better planning, all of us can get 15% off the credit card spend.

    Of course, I pass on the 20% discount deal.

  • evodad

    I think it’s as TPG said, probably not worth it unless you had a specific award /itinerary in mind. I have a 2 day stay coming up at the sheraton times square. For a club level king room 2 nights is 29,000 points. That same room for cash was going for over $1300 for the two nights with all taxes included. Essentially I’m getting right about 4.5 cents per point.

    Pretending I was a new spg amex cardholder who had received their first 10,000 bonus points with first purchase, I would still need 19,000 points for such a sty. At a cost of $532 for those 19,000 points you would be well ahead of the $1300 total cost of the stay even if you factor in a cost of $0.02 per point for the other 10k points of your own that you are using (bringing your total ‘cost’ to $732) you are better off buying the points and booking an award stay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seri-Kelana-Mokhtar/518811264 Seri Kelana Mokhtar

    I bought 20,000 points at $560 recently and transfer them to Qatar Priviledge Club for two business class tickets from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires (12,500 miles each). It was well worth it considering the economy tickets were sold at the same price.

  • Jimmyt

    Well said Jtjgray.

  • DeltaSkyMilesCAM

    SPG is having a promotion here in Phoenix. You stay at 2 different SPG Resorts by December 31, 2012 and they give you 10,000 points.
    I stayed at both properties for $100 each per night and they gave me 10,000 points and an extra 5,000 points (lucky me). Add the 15,000 SPG points to my hard earned 2,400 points and you get 17,400 points.
    Then I bought SPG points for $84 to get me just over 20,000 points that I converted into 25,000 DELTA Skymiles.

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