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Starwood is once again offering 35% off on the purchase of SPG Starpoints for purchases through July 20th. I imagine this has to be the last time this will be offered (and I am surprised to see it return this close to the combining of points from the three programs). Purchasing points isn’t always a good move, but it is definitely possible to put these points to use at a greater value than the cash price if you use them strategically.
- Purchase SPG Starpoints for 35% off when you buy 5,000+ through July 20, 2018
- Direct link to this promotion (our affiliate link, though keep in mind that you can shop through a portal to go to Points.com to save a bit more)
- You can buy a maximum of 30,000 points per year (though there are ways around that — see below)
- Sale valid until 11:59pm ET on July 20, 2018
- While transactions are processed by Points.com,
many members have reported earning 2x on point purchases in the past when paying with an Amex SPG cardUpdate: While many members have reported earning 2x with the SPG card in the past, I did not receive 2x in the latest sale, nor did many others. YMMV.
With the SPG and Marriott programs set to merge in August, this certainly looks like a last opportunity to buy Starpoints as we know them. These points would convert to Marriott at a ratio of 1 SPG point to 3 Marriott points, so 30K Starpoints is really 90K Marriott points down the road. See our Marriott SPG Ritz Transition Guide for more on the future of the programs.
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).
The maximum 30K points will cost you $682.50. Category 1 Starwood properties cost 2,000-3,000 points per night and Marriott’s chart starts at the equivalent of 2,500 SPG points per night. If you were to get ten nights out of the points, an average cost of $68.25 per night would probably put you ahead in many instances. If you take advantage of 5-night bookings for the 5th night free, you can do even better. Properties at the top end of Marriott’s chart today cost 45K Marriott points — the equivalent of 15,000 Starpoints. Two nights at a current Category 9 Marriott for $682.50 can still be a deal in some markets. In fact, I used 90K Marriott points for 2 nights at The Algonquin in New York City this past weekend and got a nice upgrade to The Dorothy Parker Suite.
That said, the better move here is generally using points to either transfer directly to airlines or to buy Marriott Travel Packages (See: Why are Marriott Travel Packages a good deal?). If you’re able to use Greg’s techniques above to purchase the 90K Starpoints necessary for a 270K Marriott package, that would get you 120K airline miles in a number of programs and a 7-night Category 1-5 certificate for $2,047.50. Considering the fact that 120K is enough miles for round trip business class to most locations around the world (provided you transfer to the partner with the sweet spot you wish to exploit), that could be a deal if you value the 7-night certificate at all. I’ve previously written about that idea: Business Class to Europe + 7 hotel nights for $2225: Investing in Marriott Travel Packages. Note that while that post references a transfer bonus, many airlines now exclude the Marriott Travel Packages from earning the transfer bonus (but it can still be a solid deal).
Greg has written about possible opportunities regarding travel packages — see: Marriott Travel Package Arbitrage. That said, we are awaiting clarity as to how unused certificates will convert and what the new travel packages will look like. There should be a value play one way or another.
While I don’t generally buy points, there are a variety of reasons why it might make sense in this situation if you can get significantly more value out of the points than the cost to purchase. It’s worth running the math if you’ve got some redemptions in mind.