Buy SPG Points For Less than 2.3 Cents Each
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
You might be hesitant to spend hard-earned cash to build out your Starpoints balance with the Marriott merger on the way, but this latest offer from SPG is definitely worth a look. Now through June 3, 2016, SPG members who have either the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express have an opportunity to purchase Starpoints for as little as 2.275 cents each, a 35% discount from the 3.5 cents you'd normally need to pay.
To purchase points at the discounted rate, head to this page and select the number of points you'd like to buy. You need to purchase a minimum of 5,000 points to take advantage. You can purchase up to 30,000 points per account per calendar year — as part of this deal, you'll pay $682.50 for 30,000 points, rather than the usual $1,050.
Should you do it?
As a long-term play, buying Starpoints doesn't make sense, since we know that Marriott will eventually be combining Starwood Preferred Guest with Marriott Rewards. While executives insist that they'll be adding value to the program (rather than removing it) following the merger, there's always a chance that Starpoints will be converted to Marriott Rewards points at an unfavorable rate.
That said, if you have a specific redemption in mind, it can make sense to buy points. In the example above, for a five-night stay at Honolulu's famous Royal Hawaiian over Christmas, you'll pay an average of $521 per night (including tax) even with the AAA rate ($582 per night if you aren't an AAA member). However, if you're redeeming Starpoints, you'll need just 17,000 points per night, since you'll be getting the fifth night for free. Purchased at 2.275 cents apiece, those 17,000 points will cost you $387, representing a savings of $134 per night.
Not all redemptions represent a great value, however. Take the example above, with a one-night weekday stay in July at Scottsdale's Phoenician. The middle of summer isn't exactly peak season for Arizona, when temperatures can soar well above 100 degrees. Since it isn't a desirable time to visit, rates at this Luxury Collection resort average $220 per night including tax, or 20,000 points. If you redeem your points, you'll be getting just 1.1 cents per point in value, and that's before factoring in the points you'd earn on a paid stay. At that rate, you'd be paying twice as much for your points than the value you'd get from a redemption.
So, as always, the decision of whether or not to buy points depends on the value you'll get from a redemption. Since you have until June 3 to take advantage, it pays to do your research here. Also note that if you're an Amex cardholder, you can also boost your balance by referring a friend to either SPG Amex card. And both the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express are currently offering sign up bonuses of 25,000 points (after $3,000 spent in the first three months with the personal card, or $5,000 spent in the first three months with the business card).
Will you be purchasing discounted Starpoints?