Buy Miles With Your Choice of 30 Airlines for 2.1 Cents Apiece

Starwood is offering a discount of up to 25% on purchased points through December 31. Starwood points are the most valuable loyalty currency, and there’s leverage in any bonus they offer, however I don’t think this offer quite is cheap enough to justify buying.

Still, if you need to top off most any frequent flyer account this could be strategically useful.

Here are the discount tiers:

The ‘normal’ price on Starpoints is 3.5 cents per point. Ouch. Fortunately, unlike airline miles, you don’t pay an additional tax on top. And there’s not also a ‘processing fee’ like many of the airlines charge.

This offer drops the price per point down to 2.625 cents apiece. It’s a semi-regular though infrequent offer, for instance it was available in April, twice in 2014, and once in 2013.

20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 airline miles with those airlines where points transfer 1:1. That means you are effectively buying 25,000 miles with your choice of airline at 2.1 cents apiece.

You can only buy 20,000 points per calendar year per account. Of course you can overcome the restriction by having other people in your household buy points for their own accounts. Starwood allows you to transfer points free between family member accounts registered at the same address.

Here’s the full list of airline mileage transfer partners:

Frequent Flyer Program Exchange Ratio (Starpoints : Miles)
Aeromexico Club Premier 1:1
Aeroplan/Air Canada 1:1
Air Berlin 1:1
Air China Companion 1:1
Air New Zealand & Air Points 65:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan 1:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1
All Nippon Mileage Club 1:1
American Airlines AAdvantage 1:1
Asia Miles 1:1
Asiana Airlines 1:1
British Airways Executive Club 1:1
China Eastern Airlines 1:1
China Southern SkyPearl Club 1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles 1:1
Emirates Skywards 1:1
Etihad Airways 1:1
Flying Blue 1:1
Gol Smiles 2:1
Hainan Airlines 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank 1:1
Jet Airways 1:1
Korean Air Skypass 1:1
Miles and More 1:1
Qatar Airways 1:1
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan 1:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1
Thai Airways RoyalOrchidPlus 1:1
United Mileage Plus 2:1
Velocity Frequent Flyer 1:1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1 processes these transactions, so buying Starpoints does not earn a bonus as hotel or Starwood spend with various credit cards.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Buy with 6 accounts in same household and then transfer to aeroplan with current promotion price go down to 1.6557

  2. It depends on how inflated the program is. Aa is bloated. The miles have been handed out like candy. United is probably too. That would make them mean. But I think it haa more to do with how much Starwood haa to pay to buy those miles.

    They have to pay a lot to air new Zealand. No so much to other programs.

    May Allah be with you.

  3. as Dov mentions, aeroplan has a promotion going as well. it gives bonus miles for transfers from hotel programs.
    one question for me is who gives the bonus (20k to 25k) on transfers from spg, them or the airline?
    i’m imagining the following scenario:
    my wife and i buy 20k spg points each.
    she transfers spg points to my spg account
    i transfer 20k points to aeroplan twice which would end up being 50k aeroplan points
    there is a 10k aeroplan bonus for transfers of 50k, that bonus is cumulative.

    so i’m calculating 60k aeroplan points for $1050 (USD of course) which brings points to 1.75 cpm which could make me a buyer for a specific upcoming trip especially if i can book before dec 15.

    are my assumptions correct here?

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