How to buy more than 30K SPG points

buy more than 30K SPG

I reported at the beginning of the month that SPG was holding their semi-regular 35% off sale on points.  This wouldn’t be particularly remarkable except that the Marriott SPG merger has opened up many great new uses for SPG points (see: Marriott SPG Complete Guide to Sweet Opportunities).  And, of course, Marriott is planning to move both programs into a single combined program sometime within the next year or so.  When that happens, it will most likely never be possible to buy SPG points again.

Whether it makes sense to buy SPG points at all depends on how you plan to use them.  At a price of 2.275 cents per point (after the 35% discount), SPG free night awards aren’t particularly cheap.  For example, a hotel that charges 15,000 points per night would cost you over $340 for the purchased points.  In many cases you can do better by paying cash for the room outright.  Using points for Marriott free nights can make more sense since SPG points transfer to Marriott 1 to 3.  For example, if you want to stay in a Marriott hotel that costs 30,000 points per night, you would only have to buy 10,000 SPG points for $227.50.  That’s still not particularly cheap for a hotel room in general, but in some cities it can be a bargain.  A better use of the sale is for those looking for international premium cabin flight awards.  SPG points transfer to airline miles both directly 20,000 points to 25,000 airline miles, and indirectly through Marriott Travel Packages (see my previous post for more information).  Either way, if you know what you’re doing, indirectly buying miles through SPG can be a fantastic deal.

The 30K Per Year Limit

Starwood limits people to buying 30,000 SPG points per year.  That’s a problem particularly for those who were hoping to buy enough SPG points to get a Marriott Travel Package.  Travel Packages start at 270,000 Marriott points which means that you would need 90,000 SPG points.  Is it possible to buy that many points despite the 30K limit?

Option 1: Buy for household members, then combine

Limits: 30,000 SPG points per household member

SPG allows household members to transfer points to each other for free.  So, an easy workaround to the 30K limit is to buy up to 30,000 points for each household member, and then have them transfer those points back to you.  Note that each person you buy points for must have been a SPG member for at least 14 days before the point purchase.  Also note that to transfer points among household members, the addresses must be the same on both accounts for the past 30 days.  Once a transfer is initiated it can take up to 5 business days to complete.

A couple of years ago, some information came out on Flyertalk that seemed to indicate that SPG was no longer allowing point transfers as a way to exceed the 30K per year purchase limit.  Since then, I’ve seen evidence that this technique still works, so that seems to have been an unsubstantiated rumor.

Option 2: Buy for others, then combine via Marriott

Limits: 16,000 additional SPG points

Marriott allows anyone to transfer points to anyone else for a small fee: $10 for most members, or free for Gold and Platinum members.  Unfortunately there’s a 50K point limit per year to transferring points from or to your account.  Still, this would let you buy 16,000 additional SPG points by buying them for a friend and having the friend convert those points to 48,000 Marriott points, and then transfer the points to you.  You could then convert those 48,000 Marriott points in your account into 16,000 SPG points.

Option 3: Buy for others, then combine via Marriott award booking

Limits: Only limited by number of friends willing to help out

Marriott offers an exception to their 50K per year point transfer limit.  Specifically “Members who are transferring points in order to satisfy a specific award may exceed the 50,000 limit up to the amount needed to satisfy the reservation.”  This exception can be used to indirectly transfer any arbitrary number of points from one person to another.  Here’s an example of how it would work:

  1. You buy 30,000 SPG points for yourself
  2. You buy 30,000 SPG points for a friend
  3. Both of you convert your 30,000 SPG points to 90,000 Marriott points.
  4. You call Marriott to book a stay for far out in the future that requires 180,000 Marriott points and that your friend is willing to share his/her points for this purpose.  The agent should move the 90,000 points from your friend’s account to your account and then book the 180,000 point award for you.

The same should work if you want to combine points from 2 friends.  For example, if you bought 30,000 SPG points for yourself and each of two friends, it should be possible to use all 90,000 SPG points (270,000 Marriott points) to book a Marriott Travel Package.

Reader Experiences

I’d like to hear from you If you’ve done any of the techniques listed above.  I’m particularly interested to hear if anyone has done option 3 with three people at once booking an award.  Please comment below!

Resources

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.

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kevin
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kevin

if you use a Marriott cc to buy the points do you get a Marriott or SPG bonus?

AlexL
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AlexL

I believe you have to use SPG card to get X2 bonus. Please check the second link in the “Resources” section.

Justin
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Justin

Good post and info. Thanks Greg

JB
Guest
JB

Which portal would you use to buy the points?

AlexL
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AlexL

TopCashBack at 1.5%

Greg
Guest
Greg

Don’t see SPG or Starwood Hotels listed as a merchant on TopCashBack.

Greg
Guest
Greg

Retailer is Points.com. This post provides more detail on the portal. https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2018/02/02/buy-spg-points-35-off/

Neil
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Neil

Don’t I recall last year in the Fall there was a way to buy up to 35,000 points, not just 30,000?

John
Guest
John

Option 1 worked for me last December. Purchased 40k SPG (when they raised the limit from 30k to 40k temporarily) for each of 3 household members and combined all household members points into one account, then transferred 90k SPG to 270k Marriott for a travel package.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

They stated that the max points you can purchased/ received as gift is 30k per year. Will it be counted as gift if I purchase using household member and transfer to my account later?
“30,000 Starpoints per account per calendar year, whether purchased by the member him/herself or received as a gift from another member. If your purchase for another account exceeds that account’s 30,000 Starpoint purchase/gift maximum, the recipient will not be able to receive any Starpoints until the next calendar year. There are no refunds in these instances.”

Doc
Guest
Doc

Was disapointed to find the 35% bonus gone before 12 midnite of the 16 March, I live in Hawaii, and it is still the 16th at 8:45 pm. No discount offer for Hawaii residents bah humbug on points.com

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[…] One of the most valuable uses of Starpoints is transferring 90K points to 270K Marriott Rewards points and redeeming them for Marriott Travel Packages (see: Why are Marriott Travel Packages a good deal?). However, Starwood also has their owns Nights & Flights packages, where 60K Starpoints will get you 50K airline miles and 5 nights in a Category 3 hotel or 70K Starpoints will get you 50K airline miles and 5 nights in a Category 4 hotel. Through March 16th, SPG points are on sale — so you could take the welcome offer on this card + the 7,000 points from meeting the spend and buy an additional 28K points for $637 to get a Category 4 nights and flights package (35K + 7K + 28K = 70K). For more on purchasing points, see: Buy SPG points for 35% off. Cheap way to buy Marriott points or airline miles. If you’d like to buy up to the 90K for a Marriott travel package, see: How to buy more than 30K SPG points. […]

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[…] While there is a 30K limit per person in purchased points per year, Greg has previously written about how to get around that (See: How to buy more than 30K SPG points). […]

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[…] You max out this promotion by buying 30,000 SPG points at US$682.50, or an effective purchase price of 2.275 US cents each (vs 3.5 US cents each normally).  Remember that you can purchase a maximum of 30,000 SPG points in a calendar year, but there are some ways of getting around this restriction. […]

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[…] While there is a 30K limit per person in purchased points per year, Greg has previously written about how to get around that (See: How to buy more than 30K SPG points). […]

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[…] While there is a 30K limit per person in purchased points per year, Greg has previously written about how to get around that (See: How to buy more than 30K SPG points). […]

trackback

[…] You max out this promotion by buying 30,000 SPG points at US$682.50, or an effective purchase price of 2.275 US cents each (vs 3.5 US cents each normally).  Remember that you can purchase a maximum of 30,000 SPG points in a calendar year, but there are some ways of getting around this restriction. […]

trackback

[…] pointers: you can purchase a maximum of 30,000 SPG points in a calendar year, but there are some ways of getting around this restriction. If you’re buying SPG points, the transaction is processed by Points.com which means you have […]

ADAK
Guest
ADAK

Is there a way to combine more than 50K Marriott between accts? Thanks

Nick Reyes
Editor

Yes – you just need to be booking an award. Let’s say you have 80K in one account and 100K in the other. Call and say that you want to transfer 80K over so you can book 7 nights at a Category 6 property (30K per night, 5th night free, so 7 nights = 6 x 30K = 180K). You’ll probably have to book an actual Category 6 hotel, so just find one with a cancellation deadline way out in the future. After the points are combined and the reservation is made, just cancel the reservation and you’ve got the points in one account.

If at least one of the members has Gold status, there’s no fee.

ADAK
Guest
ADAK

wow, Nick thanks for the ultra-fast reply!!
will they only allow the required amount as even the remaining balance?

ADAK
Guest
ADAK

Also, would you recommend this method instead of going from Marriott acct A>SPG A> SPG B>Marriott B?

MRW
Guest
MRW

Can we combine the Marriott points with more than one person for booking an award, like 3 persons altogether?
And what is the definition of a year for the Marriott 50k transfer limit? Say if I move 50k to another account on 8/7/18, do I wait until 1/1/2019 or 8/8/2019 to move the next 50k?