Up to 35% discount on Starpoints on offer from SPG until 30 June

Guide to buying Starwood Preferred Guest points - one of the only ways to buy Velocity points, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Asia Miles or KrisFlyer miles

GUIDE: Buying Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: June 2, 2017
UPDATED: June 8, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards, Iberia Plus, Virgin America Elevate, United MileagePlus, Alaska Air Mileage Plan, Starwood Preferred Guest

While there are currently no Starwood group hotels (now owned by Marriot) in New Zealand anymore, the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programme is a favourite of mine, offering better value for Kiwis in it’s ability to buy points to transfer to one of their many International Airline partner loyalty programs.

Starwood are running a new Starpoints purchase promotion, with a discount offer of up to 35%. Aside from the targeted offer back in November 2016, this is about the best discount you can get for SPG points.

The maximum purchase is 30,000 points, and the 35% discount starts at purchases of 5,000 points. If you max out, the total cost will be $682.50 USD. The deal runs until June 30.

This is a great deal for Starwood points with value to be had from high end, usually expensive hotel stays, or transferring to one of many partner frequent flyer programs.

You can find value for the usually inaccessible currencies for points purchasing like KrisFlyer, Velocity or Asia Miles, all of whom partner with Starwood – this is about the only way to buy Velocity and some other points/miles in any meaningful volume.

The current Starpoints promotion

Discounts are tiered as follows:

  • 0 to 4,000 Starpoints – no discount
  • 5,000 to 30,000 Starpoints – 35% discount

At the 35% discount level this yields a cost of 2.27 US cents per Starpoint, or if all 35,000 points are transferred to airline miles with the 5,000 point bonus, 1.70 US cents per airline mile at 40,000 miles.

You’ll need to have SPG accounts that are at least 12 days old to take advantage of this deal, so sign yourself up and other family members (with their permission!) now if you think you might get in on this offer.

Finally, with a merger of Starwood and Marriott well underway, it’s worth understanding that the SPG program is going through a range of changes. For now you can transfer points out to Marriott Rewards at 3 Marriott Rewards = 1 Starpoint. This opens up some new opportunities for redemption too but these are not points to buy and hold for the long term (as usual with most points currencies).


Guide to buying Starpoints from SPG for cheap hotel stays and airline transfers

Offer History

  • June 2017 (current offer): 35% discount
  • March-April 2017: 30% discount
  • November / December 2016 – 50% discount (targeted)
  • June 2016 – 30% discount
  • March 2016 – up to 25% discount
  • December 2015 – 25% discount
  • September 2015 – 20% bonus
  • May 2015 – 25% discount
  • December – 25% discount
  • May 2014 – 25% discount

Using Starpoints to transfer into Airline miles / points

Starwood Preferred Guest has the widest range of airline partners out there, including Velocity, Krisflyer and Asia Miles – but not Qantas Frequent Flyer. The full list of transfer partners and ratios is below.

For all 1:1 transfer partners, for a transfer of 20,000 points you’ll also get a bonus of 5,000 additional airline points or miles, which really makes it worth targeting that 20,000 point transfer as the sweet spot.

Frequent Flyer ProgramsExchange Ratio - Starpoints:Airline Miles
Aeromexico Club Premier1:1
Aeroplan/Air Canada1:1
Air Berlin1:1
Air China Companion1:1
Air New Zealand & Air Points65:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan1:1
Alitalia MileMiglia1:1
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club1:1
American Airlines AAdvantage1:1
Asia Miles1:1
Asiana Airlines1:1
British Airways Executive Club1:1
China Eastern Airlines1:1
China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles1:1
Emirates Skywards1:1
Etihad Airways1:1
Flying Blue1:1
Gol Smiles2:1
Hainan Airlines1:1
Hawaiian Airlines1:1
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank1:1
LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms1:1
Miles and More1:1
Qatar Airways1:1
Saudi Arabian Airlines1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:1
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus1:1
US Airways Dividend Miles1:1
United Mileage Plus2:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1
Virgin Australia1:1

Example Uses of Starpoints

I’ve used Starpoints to top up a range of my frequent flyer accounts for redemptions, including American Airlines, Velocity, Asia Miles and KrisFlyer. I’ve also redeemed Starpoints for exclusive events through SPG Moments, and for hotel stays.

Melbourne GP 2014 Panorama
Using my Amex points for an F1 experience: SPG Moments package at the 2014 Melbourne Grand Prix

The Westin Resort, Langkawi
The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa Review – Langkawi, Malaysia

The use for airline redemptions is too broad to cover off in one guide, but for starters have a read of the following guides to give you some ideas:

Limitations on purchase and transfer amounts

Starwood put a 30,000 limit on the maximum number of points per SPG account you can purchase per (calendar) year, so at first glance it seems like this promotion can’t be used for large purchase amounts.

However, one way to get around this restriction is to use household points transfers, where SPG allows members who have the same address on their account the ability to transfer between accounts.

You would purchase miles for each account individually, and then request a ‘household’ transfer, which can be made online or over the phone. Thanks to One Mile at a Time for this tip.

There are also techniques to follow to maximise the amount of airline miles you can receive from SPG transfers.

There’s a limit of 79,000 miles that be transferred out of your account per 24 hours, and given that Starwood only awards the 5,000 point bonus for 20,000 point transfers, you’ll miss out on one chunk of 5,000 bonus points if you transfer the maximum 79,999 Starpoints.

As a result, the transfer sweet spot is 60,000 SPG points to 75,000 airline miles, so to maximise the bonus, transfer no more than 60,000 points (to a single program) per 24 hours.

Some transfer bonus examples come out as follows:

10k SPG = 10k airline miles
20k SPG = 25k airline miles (20k + 5k bonus)
30k SPG = 35k airline miles
40k SPG = 50k airline miles (40k + 10k bonus)
50k SPG = 60k airline miles
60k SPG = 75k airline miles (60k + 15k bonus)
70k SPG = 85k airline miles
79,999 SPG = 94,999 miles (79k + 15k bonus)

[spgindex]

Conclusion

Starpoint purchases can be an excellent way to top up an overseas frequent flyer account, where miles or points are otherwise hard to come by. The sheer volume of their transfer partners yields a lot of opportunities to use these points.

You can also leverage them into cheaper hotel stays, but that’s completely dependent on the nightly rate a hotel is charging on a given night, versus what they want to charge in Starpoints.

There may be an opportunity for your specific hotel stay plans, so check on that if you have any stays coming up.