I Just Bought Starwood Points Before the Starwood Program Ends

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Starwood is offering a 35% discount on buying Starpoints through July 20. They’re selling Starpoints at the lowest public price they’ve ever offered. And I’ve just gone in on it myself.

At just under 2.3 cents apiece they’re letting you buy points at a price which those points are worth. This may be the last chance to do it before Marriott swallows the program in August. And the new award chart will create a window through the end of the year with some nice deals.

Of course since Starpoints transfer to airline miles with a bonus — transfer points into 20,000 miles and receive 5000 bonus miles — if you’d rather you are effectively buying airline miles with your choice of programs (any of the many where Starpoints transfer 1:1) at a cost of 1.82 cents apiece.

Starwood only lets you buy 30,000 points per year for your account.

This isn’t the biggest discount we’ve ever seen, but it’s close. We saw it in February. There was a targeted better off a year ago and a half ago for 50% off Starpoints.

This price is probably worth it if you need to top off a frequent flyer miles account or top off your Starwood points for an award since I regularly get 3-4 cents on my hotel redemptions. It’s hard to get hurt at this price even if your goal isn’t a top tier redemption. Marriott points transfer to Starwood at 3:1. You’re buying Marriott points at less than $0.008 apiece which is also reasonable.

On the other hand though the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card is offering 100,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months and has a $95 annual fee and this has been announced as ending July 12 so you don’t have nearly as much time.


Al Wadi Desert Resort: Less than 14,000 Starpoints Per Night Transferred to Marriott

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

Frequent Flyer Program Exchange Ratio (Starpoints : Miles)
Aegean Airlines 1:1
Aeromexico Club Premier 1:1
Aeroplan/Air Canada 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
LAN LANPASS 1:1.5
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

Bear in mind that the new Marriott program coming in August will no longer have Amtrak as a transfer partner.

Technically Starwood Preferred Guest will still exists August 1, but that’s a legal distinction. Marriott, Starwood, and Ritz-Carlton will all have the same program at this point just with different names because contractual issues prevent them from calling it one program. For all intents and purposes though this is the last sale of Starpoints qua Starpoints.

Buy Starpoints

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. Is is 30K points per calendar year, or “in the last 12 months” ? (I bought 30K points on Dec 29 — can I buy more?)

  2. Was crunching the numbers and it seems that cash booking for cat 6 20k hotels are just under $400k. I have enough now for my cat 7 hotels (where the return during 4q) will be great. So I’m on the fence.

    I think the opportunities for outsized return in 2019 will be limited, not because of the new categories, but in my experience (Lifetime Plat in both programs), Marriott is very stingy with awards in prime time travel. So if cash prices are yielding outsized award returns in theory, there won’t be availability.

    But it would be hard to get hurt much at that price.

  3. Don’t forget to click-thru a cashback portal to points.com! For example, Topcashback.com (US Version) pays 1.25% kickback on purchases of Starpoints & 2.5% on purchases of most other points & miles!
    And Kerry, the 30K limit is per calendar year, so you may buy another 30K in 2018.

  4. @Gary —> Slightly different question.

    Given the “uncertainty” of what will happen to the award chart(s) and valuations going forward of Starwood and Marriott points (other than the eventual mandatory 1=3 conversion), which is more worthwhile: buying Starpoints now for conversion to airline miles, buying Starpoints now for conversion to Marriott at the end of the month, or not buying them at all?

  5. @Jason Brandt Lewis – in my view I won’t get hurt buying Starpoints for hotel stays, and I may have some upside. Plus I can transfer to miles which amounts to buying miles at a decent price — but not one where I’d be buying them speculatively. I figure I’m buying points that may be used for hotels but that retain option value as miles. This isn’t a screaming deal, double or triple your money kind of thing, but one where there’s upside and little downside for me.

  6. Are you confirming that 60,000 Marriott points will be exchanged for 25,000 air miles, when and if desired?

  7. @Juan David Flueck confirmed that to me in April.

    https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2018/04/16/heres-full-details-new-combined-marriott-program-end-spg/

    They essentially have adopted the Starwood airline points transfer structure. They will have “more than 40 airlines” to transfer to, with some airlines that were unique to Starwood and some unique to Marriott surviving into the combined program.

    What’s more they’re keeping points transfer bonuses. Today transferring Starpoints into 20,000 miles generates a bonus of 5000 miles. Flueck tells me that they’ve kept this, and simply adjusted the numbers of the new points currency, just multiplying by three.

  8. I read in a Marriott email that w/ my 2 credit cards (Marriott & SPG), only ONE of them will get the 15 elite nights per year. It seems it’s no longer worthwhile to pay the annual fee for BOTH cards.

  9. @Lindy —> You’re correct in that the 15 night elite credit will not stack. Regardless of how many Marriott and SPG co-branded cards (personal and business) you hold, you’re only going to receive a total credit of 15 elite nights.

    As for paying the AF for both the Chase Marriott Rewards/Rewards Premier Plus AND the American Express SPG cards (both of which I also hold), I believe you are correct in thinking one is now superfluous. That said, I’ve yet to decide what to do. Obviously, as of next month, the merger has certainly devalued the major attraction of the SPG card. That said, I’ve held the SPG card longer — both sentimentality and whatever impact closing the account may have on my credit score suggests I keep the SPG card.

    I am *leaning* towards calling the “retention line” for both cards as the AF becomes due and seeing if there’s any enticement to keep the card(s), before cancelling one of them outright.

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    @Gary —> Any thoughts?

  10. If I apply for and get the SPG card, does anyone know if I will still be able to transfer my points to miles on my American Airlines account? It seems like the best way for me to build up my miles in a hurry, but not if SPG drops American airlines, or if they change the ratio from 1:1.
    Any thoughts?

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