Starwood is offering up to 25% off purchased and gifted Starpoints through April 30th.
Save Up to 25% on Starpoints Now Through April 30, 2013
Top off your account for less! Buy Starpoints between March 11th and April 30th, 2013 and receive up to 25% off the regular price. The more you buy, the more you save!
• Buy 500–6,500 Starpoints: SAVE 15%
• Buy 7,000–12,500 Starpoints: SAVE 20%
• Buy 13,000–20,000 Starpoints: SAVE 25%
Now let’s do the math. 20,000 Starpoints still costs you $525. That’s 2.625 cents per point.
Starwood points are worth a lot, and I’ll usually get at least 2 cents per point out of my hotel redemptions. But even for ‘topping off’ towards a hotel award this is dicey. Remember, you’ll get a better deal than buying Starpoints at 2.6 cents with cash and points awards. Those work out to buying back your Starpoints at about 2.1 cents apiece.
And there’s been much grumbling about that price since it’s higher than in the past (though I think it’s still marginally worth it).
But not for hotel awards except the very most expensive. And certainly not speculatively. If you know you have a specific hotel you want to redeem for, where you’re getting at least 2.7 cents a point or higher in value, and you need to buy points to achieve the redemption (a cash and points redemption, or where cash and points is not available) then go ahead. But don’t do it to replenish your points.
Let’s look at this one other way though — airline mileage redemptions.
With most airlines 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 airline miles. The $525 price to buy 20,000 Starpoints now looks like 2.1 cents per airline mile.
That’s not a price I buy miles at. I’m tempted but generally say no to US Airways at 1.88 cents per mile. Those points from US Airways at that price should eventually become American miles. (American was selling miles last month at 2 cents apiece through a 50% bonus.) Starpoints don’t transfer well (2 Starpoints to 1 mile) with United.
But if you need to top off a mileage account other than a United one. And there’s not a cheaper offer (such as a 100% bonus with US Airways or a 50% bonus from American). Then this could be a way of buying miles in your favorite airline cheaper than doing so directly from that airline.
And that’s a time that an offer — that at first blush seems too expensive still — could make good sense.