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Does it ever make sense to buy points or miles? While it’s always better to earn points through credit card spending and sign-up bonuses, the question as to whether buying points makes sense depends on what you’re going to do with them. Sometimes there’s a buy points/miles promotion that’s really tempting once you know how to maximize it. And a new one of those just popped up.
Now through May 31, you can buy Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints with a 35% discount. This discount drops the price to 2.28 cents per point vs. TPG‘s valuation of 2.7 cents per Starpoint. You’ll score this 35% discount when you purchase at least 5,000 Starpoints, and you can buy up to 30,000 points per account per calendar year.
Here’s how the promotion is structured — points are available for purchase in 500-point increments:
- Buy 500-3,000 Starpoints at 3.5 cents apiece
- Buy 5,000-30,000 Starpoints and save 35% (2.28 cents apiece)
One of the especially good perks of this promotion is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good rate. 5,000 Starpoints are going to only set you back $114.
The most obvious use of Starpoints is redeeming them for free nights at Starwood hotels. Some of these redemptions can make a lot of sense. For example, I’m writing this post from the Four Points by Sheraton Medellin, where I redeemed just 2,000 Starpoints for my one-night stay. When buying points with this promotion, that’s just $46 for the weekend night at a Category 1 property.
Hotel stays are just one of the many uses of Starpoints. You can also get good use out of them by redeeming them for SPG Moments or by transferring them to Marriott for Hotel + Air Packages. You can also stretch your Starpoints further through fifth night free award stays.
But perhaps our favorite use of Starpoints is transferring them to airlines. SPG’s program includes point transfer to numerous airlines at a 1:1 ratio, so at a purchase cost of 2.28 cents per Starpoint, this isn’t a bad rate for topping off an account for an airline redemption.
However, it gets even better when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to airlines, since you get 5,000 bonus miles for each increment of 20,000 Starpoints you transfer. That means you can buy 20,000 Starpoints through this promotion for $455 and transfer them to one of 33 airline partners to get 25,000 airline miles at an effective cost of 1.82 cents per mile. Note that the math is going to be different starting in August, but the value will still be the same.
Even better, you can combine this buy-point promotion with the hotel point 25% transfer bonus that American Airlines AAdvantage is currently offering. That means you can buy 20,000 Starpoints for $455, transfer to American Airlines AAdvantage to initially get 25,000 miles. Then, within seven days, you’ll get an additional 6,250 AAdvantage miles for a total of 31,250 miles.
Before factoring in points/miles you’re going to get from purchasing Starpoints, that’s like buying AAdvantage miles for 1.46 cents per mile – making it competitive with TPG‘s 1.4 cent valuation of AAdvantage miles.
Featured image of the W Dubai.
This post has been updated since publishing to point out how it can be combined with the AAdvantage transfer bonus. Thanks to @TravelerProInc for pointing this out.
- Earn a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after your first purchase on the Card at a participating SPG® or Marriott Rewards® hotel within your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- From now through July 31, 2018: Earn 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other eligible purchases.
- On August 1, 2018, SPG will convert every one Starpoint in a loyalty member account to three points. In general, corresponding redemption changes will occur. Visit members.marriott.com for details.
- Effective August 1, 2018: Earn 6 points for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 2 points for all other eligible purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
- Earn free nights at over 1,500 hotels and resorts in over 100 countries with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
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- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
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