Starwood Preferred Guest usually imposes a 30,000 Starpoints limit on points purchases each calendar year, however, during this promotion running until 29 December, you can buy up to 40,000 points.
Buying Starpoints is useful for high-end, usually expensive hotel stays or for transferring to one of their many partner frequent flyer programs.
You can find value in the usually inaccessible currencies for points purchasing like Velocity, Asia Miles and KrisFlyer, all of whom partner with Starwood.
For example, I’ve used Starpoints purchased in previous promotions to top up my American Airlines AAdvantage and Asia Miles balances over the past two months, booking two American Airlines and Japan Airlines Business Class redemptions from Miami to Santiago and Sydney to Tokyo.
I topped up my AAdvantage balance to book my parents Japan Airlines Business Class flights to Japan next year
The current Starpoints promotion
The maximum purchase is now 40,000 points, which is 10,000 more than the usual limit for each calendar year. The deal runs until 29 December.
Discounts are tiered as follows:
- 500 to 3,000 Starpoints: no discount
- 5,000 to 30,000 Starpoints: 35% discount
At the 35% discount level, this yields a cost of 2.275 USD cents per Starpoint, or if all 20,000 points are transferred to airline miles with the 5,000 point bonus, 1.82 USD cents per airline mile/point at 25,000 miles.
You’ll need to have an SPG account that is at least 14 days old to take advantage of this deal, so sign yourself and other family members up (with their permission!) for the current (or future) promotions.
Finally, with the merger of Starwood and Marriott well underway, it’s worth understanding that the SPG program is going through a range of changes. For now, you can transfer points out to Marriott Rewards at 3 Marriott Rewards = 1 Starpoint. This opens up some new opportunities for redemption too, which you can read more about here, but these are not points to buy and hold for the long term (as usual with most points currencies).
|November-December 2017 (current offer)||35||Highest public offer|
|June-July 2017||35||Highest public offer|
|November 2016||50||Highest targeted offer|
|September 2015||20||Lowest public offer|
Using Starpoints to transfer into airline miles/points
Starwood Preferred Guest has the widest range of airline partners out there, including Velocity, KrisFlyer and Asia Miles – but not Qantas Frequent Flyer. The full list of transfer partners and ratios is below.
For all 1:1 transfer partners, for a transfer of 20,000 points you’ll also get a bonus of 5,000 additional airline points or miles, which really makes it worth targeting that 20,000 point transfer as the sweet spot.
|Frequent Flyer Programs||Exchange Ratio - Starpoints:Airline Miles|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1|
|Air China Companion||1:1|
|Air New Zealand & Air Points||65:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||1:1|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||1:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||1:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1|
|China Eastern Airlines||1:1|
|China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club||1:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||1:1|
|LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms||1:1:5|
|Miles and More||1:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||1:1|
|United Mileage Plus||2:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1|
Note that Virgin America’s Elevate program is no longer a partner thanks to their recent merger with Alaska Airlines.
Example uses of Starpoints
I’ve used Starpoints to top up a range of my frequent flyer accounts for redemptions, including American Airlines, Velocity, Asia Miles and KrisFlyer. I’ve also redeemed Starpoints for exclusive events through SPG Moments, and for hotel stays.
The use for airline redemptions is too broad to cover off in one guide, but for starters have a read of the following guides to give you some ideas:
- The best value frequent flyer program redemptions – the programs and routes to target
- And here’s the full set of guides to buying frequent flyer miles for cheap Business or First Class travel. If you’re buying Starpoints, you’re potentially buying airline miles, so the same tips apply.
Limitations on purchase and transfer amounts
Starwood put a 30,000 limit on the maximum number of points per SPG account you can purchase per (calendar) year, so at first glance, it seems like this promotion can’t be used for large purchase amounts.
However, one way to get around this restriction is to use household points transfers, where SPG allows members who have the same address on their account the ability to transfer between accounts.
There are also techniques to follow to maximise the amount of airline miles you can receive from SPG transfers.
There’s a limit of 79,000 miles that be transferred out of your account per 24 hours, and given that Starwood only awards the 5,000 point bonus for 20,000 point transfers, you’ll miss out on one chunk of 5,000 bonus points if you transfer the maximum 79,999 Starpoints.
As a result, the transfer sweet spot is 60,000 SPG points to 75,000 airline miles, so to maximise the bonus, transfer no more than 60,000 points (to a single program) per 24 hours.
Some transfer bonus examples come out as follows:
10k SPG = 10k airline miles
20k SPG = 25k airline miles (20k + 5k bonus)
30k SPG = 35k airline miles
40k SPG = 50k airline miles (40k + 10k bonus)
50k SPG = 60k airline miles
60k SPG = 75k airline miles (60k + 15k bonus)
70k SPG = 85k airline miles
79,999 SPG = 94,999 miles (79k + 15k bonus)
Starpoint purchases can be an excellent way to top up an overseas frequent flyer account, where miles or points are otherwise hard to come by. The sheer volume of their transfer partners yields a lot of opportunities to use these points.
You can also leverage them into cheaper hotel stays, but that’s completely dependent on the nightly rate a hotel is charging on a given night, versus what they want to charge in Starpoints.
There may be an opportunity for your specific hotel stay plans, so check on that if you have any stays coming up.