Sunday Reader Question: Is Buying Starpoints With a 20% Discount a Good Deal?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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.
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.
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.