Buy SPG points for 35% off. Cheap way to buy Marriott points or airline miles

Through March 16th, Points.com is offering SPG Starpoints for 35% off.  Since the normal price is 3.5 cents per point, this discount makes it possible to buy those points for 2.275 cents each.

Buy Marriott Rewards points for 0.76 cents each

Marriott usually sells their points for 1.25 cents each.  Since SPG points transfer to Marriott at a rate of 1 to 3, you’re always better off buying SPG points if you need Marriott points.  At the usual price of 3.5 cents per SPG point, that comes to 1.17 cents per Marriott point — a slightly better deal than buying from Marriott directly.

With the 35% discount, you can buy SPG points for 2.275 cents each then convert them 1 to 3 to Marriott Rewards.  In the end, your cost per Marriott Rewards point will be only 0.76 cents each.

Airline Miles

SPG points transfer to many airline mile programs at a rate of 20,000 SPG to 25,000 airline miles.  Thanks to that generous transfer ratio, by buying SPG points for 2.275 cents each, you can buy airline miles for only 1.82 cents each.

For a complete list of SPG airline transfer partners, see: SPG Transfer Partners.

Airline Miles via Marriott

Marriott Rewards offers a couple ways to convert points to miles: direct conversion, and through flight & hotel packages.  Via direct conversion, they offer the following transfer rates (found here):

  • 56,000 Marriott points –> 25,000 United miles
  • 70,000 Marriott points –> 25,000 miles in a variety of programs: Aeromexico, Aeroplan (Air Canada), Alaska, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic

And via flight & hotel packages, they offer the following transfer rates (found here):

  • 270,000 Marriott points –> 132,000 United miles (plus a 7 night category 1-5 certificate)
  • 270,000 Marriott points –> 120,000 miles in a variety of programs: Aeromexico, Air Canada*, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic (plus a 7 night category 1-5 certificate)

If we buy Marriott points for 0.76 cents each as shown above, then we can indirectly purchase miles at the following rates:

  • Buy 25,000 United miles for 1.7 cents per mile
  • Buy 25,000 miles in a variety of programs for 2.128 cents each (there’s not much point to doing this since buying SPG points and transferring 20K points to 25K airline miles is cheaper)
  • Buy 132,000 United miles for 1.55 cents per mile
  • Buy 120,000 miles in a variety of programs for 1.71 cents per mile

The biggest obstacle to buying miles through flight & hotel packages is that you need 270,000 Marriott Rewards points to make it happen, and SPG limits point purchases to 30,000 points per person (90,000 Marriott Rewards).  There are ways around this, but they’re outside the scope of this post.

Note that the price per mile shown above does not account for the fact that you’ll also get a certificate good for 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel.  You can return that certificate for 45,000 Marriott points (15,000 SPG) to make the price per mile effectively lower.

For more details about Marriott flight & hotel packages (also known as travel packages), see: 12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages.

Should You Buy?

In general, I don’t recommend buying points or miles unless you have a specific award in mind for which you need extra points.  Buying SPG points can be a great way to quickly get enough SPG or Marriott points for discounted hotel nights.  Top tier Marriott hotels (such as the St. Pancras London) cost 45,000 points per night for a standard room.  At .76 cents per point, you can get those rooms for $342.  That’s not necessarily cheap, but compared to standard rates at such hotels it can be a bargain. Even better are the lower end hotels.  Category 2 and Category 3 (off season) hotels go for 10,000 points per night.  Buy purchasing points, it’s possible to stay in these hotels for only $76 per night.

Buying SPG/Marriott points can also be a great way to get the extra airline miles you need to top off an award, especially when the points are available at a discount as they are now (through March 16th).

Save More

You can save more money by clicking through a portal to buy the SPG points. TopCashBack currently offers 2.5% cash back when buying SPG points.

By clicking through TopCashBack for 2.5% back, you will get more SPG points for less money (after the TopCashBack rebate).  In the end, your cost will be:

  • SPG Points: 2.12 cents each
  • Marriott Points (transferred from SPG 1 to 3): 0.7 cents each
  • Airline Miles (transferred from SPG 20,000 to 25,000): 1.78 cents each

If for some reason you don’t want to bother with portals, you can always use our affiliate link instead (with our thanks!): Click here to buy SPG points (affiliate link).

Earn 2X SPG Points with the purchase

Pay with your SPG card in order to earn 2X rewards for the purchase. This has been confirmed to work, but it might require selecting Credit Card Type “SPG American Express” rather than just “American Express” as shown below:

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Pingbacks

  1. […] These changes will be taking effect from March 6, 2018. The nice thing is that SPG are allowing you to make reservations for stays after that date at their existing points cost. If you have your eye on a property that’s moving up a category, it’d therefore be best to book before March 6. If you’re short of points, it might make sense to purchase additional points with their current 35% discount. […]

Comments

  1. Hello:

    If I have purchased the Marriott’s flight & hotel package (270k Marriott Rewards points=120k airline miles plus 7-night certificate at categories 1-5), is it possible to “return that certificate for 45,000 Marriott points (15,000 SPG) to make the price per mile effectively lower”? How? Please feel free to private message me as this may be off-topic. Thank you.

  2. So, when I go into topcashback.com, there’s a link that takes me directly to the spg purchase page and says the cashback is 2.5 percent. That seems easier.

  3. Hmm, not sure I see the value. Westin Maui is $529.00 OR 25,000 Points which is only 2.116 vs buying 30,000 at $682.50 and a 2.5% rebate through topcashback. That would cost you 2.2181. Please help me out because I must be missing the nuance here. Thanks

    • I think its the classic, do you have a specific redemption that will justify the cost? Your example pretty clearly doesn’t. YMMV.

      For me, I’m contemplating grabbing them, moving them over to Marriott to combine with the 150K or so MR points I’ve got, grabbing a 5 night flight & hotel package, and redeeming them for 132K United miles. There is a flight redemption I’m looking at that where 135K United miles will buy me 3 tickets that are currently going for $1900 round trip, but because I’ve got status with United, I can grab them at the saver level. So, if I pay $650 bucks (give or take a buck or two) to get me up to the 235K I need for the travel package (I can buy 5 night packages), and get 3 plane tickets worth just under $6K – pretty solid redemption. Plus I”ll probably trade the travel package back in and get 45K MR points back, which I can then move back to SPG for 15K SPG points.

    • Here’s my math on this: Purchase 30,000 at $665.44 with the topcashback. Get 2x using SPG amex. Total haul — 31,365 starpoints. Transfer to Marriott at 3 to 1, for 94,095 points. (You can only transfer in 1,000s, but I can combine with another 635 starpoints.)

      $665.44 for 94,095 Marriott is .71 cents per point. Combine with other Marriott points that I have and book 5 days at the Maui Wailea resort for 160,000 points. The week I’m looking at is quite expensive for Maui — upwards of $800/night — but even just looking at a typical summer rate at the Marriott, an AAA rate all in for a standard room for five nights is $2625. $175 of that is resort fees, which have to be paid on award bookings too, so total value for the 5 nights using points is around $2450, so for the 160,000 points. By not paying cash, I forego earning about 32,000 marriott points. So, to make the math as conservative as possible, I’m going add the 32,000 points to the 160,000 points to make my cost 192,000 points. So, I value my redemption around 1.28 cents per point. The ability to purchase 94,095 Marriott at .71 cents and use them to contribute toward a 1.28 cent redemption is worth about $536 to me.

  4. Does buying points from SPG count as travel for other credit cards? or is the SPG Amex the only card know to get a category bonus?

  5. I’m interested in this but would need 300,000 Marriott points for the package that I want. I believe that Marriott has an annual 50,000 point transfer limit. Is there a way around this? Thanks.

    • I think the point transfer limit refers to point transfers from other MR members. I don’t think there’s a limit on how many points you can transfer from your personal SPG account to your personal MR account.

  6. Has anyone been able to purchase these? After clicking on buy starpoints link on SPGs website it takes me to points.com and it says site is under construction. I have tried it using the links above as well.

        • There’s no phone number that I’m aware of for points.com. I sent them an email but they make it quite clear in their auto response that they’ll get back to you whenever they feel like it and not to expect a response for at least a week.

          I did do an online chat with SPG, since it doesn’t matter if you go through the points.com portal or straight from the SPG homepage, you get the same error message. The online chat rep had little to say except they’re aware of the problem, working to fix it, and have no timeframe for resolution. So basically-a useless interaction.

  7. That’s great, thanks for sharing though. Was hoping to top off my marriott account and finish up a reservation. I tried transferring some SPG points from my wife’s account to my SPG account and it’s been 3 days still didn’t show up. Same address – any experience with transferring spg to spg points?

    • Hi Greg, would you message/email me how i could buy some extra points beyond 30k for me and 30k for wife. ill likely to make a big booking before devaluation. thanks

    • has anyone attempted to buy and was successful? i have tried multiple times over past few days and it keeps giving me a credit card error. Tried multiple credit cards and even called CC company no luck, they said error is on point.com site. The charge shows up as pending on my CC and disappears few days later. I have tried an amex and visa and same error

  8. A few people asked about how to buy more than 30K. Here’s one way:

    1) multiple people each buy up to 30K
    2) each person converts their SPG points to Marriott points
    3) Call Marriott rewards to book an award with multiple people’s points. This can be a travel package or any other award for which the caller doesn’t have enough points in his/her own account. The points will be transferred into the caller’s account and then used for that award.

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