Starwood Preferred Guest is back with another great sale offer on buying Starpoints. These points can be used for high-end expensive hotel stays, or can be transferred to one of their many partner frequent flyer programs.
Buying Starpoints is a great way to effectively ‘purchase’ points with the likes of Velocity, Asia Miles and KrisFlyer. These currencies are usually difficult to come by in New Zealand unless you’re doing a lot of flying, or earning points through everyday spend with American Express Membership Rewards.
The current Starpoints promotion
The maximum purchase is 30,000 points (which is the limit for each calendar year) for $682.50 USD. The deal runs until 31 May.
Discounts are tiered as follows:
- 500 to 3,000 Starpoints: no discount
- 5,000 to 30,000 Starpoints: 35% discount
At the 35% discount level, this yields a cost of 2.275 USD cents per Starpoint, or if all 20,000 points are transferred to airline miles with the 5,000 point bonus, 1.82 USD cents per airline mile/point at 25,000 miles.
You’ll need to have an SPG account that is at least 14 days old to take advantage of this deal, so sign yourself and other family members up (with their permission!) for the current (or future) promotions.
Finally, with the merger of Starwood and Marriott underway and due to be completed in August, it’s worth understanding that the SPG program is going through a range of changes. Read our full guide on the merger to find out more.
How to stack this offer with AAdvantage’s current points transfer bonus
American AAdvantage is offering a 25% bonus when you convert Starpoints into AAdvantage miles until 31 May.
This is a great opportunity to ‘buy’ AAdvantage miles at 1.46 USD cents each – far cheaper than the 1.72 USD cents that they cost under their best ever buy miles promotion, which last came up in July 2017.
The biggest sweet spot from New Zealand would be flights to Asia with Cathay Pacific and/or Qantas, including to Hong Kong, Japan, China, and Singapore, for only 27,000 Starpoints + 5,000 bonus ($614.25 USD).
As usual, make sure that you check award availability through AAdvantage before purchasing points, if you plan to use them for a redemption on specific dates.
Guide to buying Starpoints from SPG for cheap hotel stays and airline transfers
|April-May 2018 (current offer)||35||Highest public offer|
|January-March 2018||35||Highest public offer|
|November-December 2017||35||Highest public offer|
|June-July 2017||35||Highest public offer|
|November 2016||50||Highest targeted offer|
|September 2015||20||Lowest public offer|
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 Programs||Exchange Ratio - Starpoints:Airline Miles|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1|
|Air China Companion||1:1|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||65:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1:1|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||1:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1|
|China Eastern Airlines||1:1|
|China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club||1:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1:1|
|LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms||1:1|
|Miles and More||1:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||1:1|
|United Mileage Plus||2:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1|
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.
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:
* The best value frequent flyer program redemptions – the programs and routes to target
* And here’s the full set of guides to buying frequent flyer miles for cheap Business or First Class travel. If you’re buying Starpoints, you’re potentially buying airline miles, so the same tips apply.
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.
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)
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.