So, this is it, guys! The absolute last sale on Starpoints, for real this time. Through July 20th, if you buy at least 5k SPG points, you will pay 2.27 cents apiece It’s a non-affiliate link, or you can join Topcashback through my referral link and get $10 bonus and 1.5% cashback by going through Points.com.
Keep in mind that you can buy a maximum of 30k points yearly per member, and Starpoint purchases can only be made by those whose accounts have been active for a minimum of 14 days. You can combine them for free with members of the same household.
So, limited time offer, buy it now, ends soon? Nope. Not for most people, at least. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent price on SPG points (lowest ever), and I doubt you will ever see an equivalent once Marriott takes over on August 1st. But is it such a hot deal that you should drop everything and load up on points speculatively? Probably not.
Who should jump on this opportunity
People with extra money to burn, that’s who. If you like to transfer SPG points to Japan Airlines frequent flyer program and book Emirates first-class seats, then sure, go for it. Ditto to Alaska Mileage Plan. It’s definitely cheaper to redeem miles than drop $25k on revenue ticket equivalent.
The same logic applies to high-end SPG resorts. If you remember, for few months after programs are combined, all top properties will cost 60k Marriott points per night (or 20k SPG points).
You can see all Category 7 SPG hotels and resorts here Currently, they cost 30k-35k SPG points per night or 90k-105k Marriott points respectively. So, obviously, there is an opportunity here. The most expensive resorts are in French Polynesia and Maldives.
However, there is still conflicting info on whether all-suite properties will cost just 60k Marriott points per night or if there will be an up-charge (I’m guessing it’s the latter). Plus, no one knows what award availability will look like in August. Not to mention, even when factoring in “5th night free”, you would still be paying 16k SPG points per night, or around $363. And that’s assuming you can even find award availability for five consecutive nights in the first place.
Is it worth the gamble, especially if you have a sizable stash of SPG/Marriott points already? Only you can decide. Paying $363 for a fancy resort in Bora Bora or Maldives is certainly a good deal, no question about it. But is it such a good deal that you should trade the ultimate flexibility that cash provides for relative flexibility of SPG points? Were you already planning to go to Bora Bora or another place where there is a fancy SPG resort in a near future?
Of course, if things don’t work out, you can always transfer Marriott points to miles. Marriott program has already confirmed that the transfer ratio will be 3:1, and there will be a bonus on transferring 60k Marriott points at one time. So, the question is: will you be OK buying miles for 1.82 cents apiece if the hotel plan doesn’t work out? If the answer is yes, this could be an argument in favor of buying.
One of the most intriguing options currently discussed in miles and points blogs is redeeming points on a Marriott travel package before August 1st. I won’t rehash all the info, Frequent Miler has a series of excellent posts on the subject. Once again, there is a lot of uncertainty, but there is a potential for a huge upside. I don’t like to speculate, so you’ll have to decide if redeeming Marriott points on a travel package before August 1st will make sense for you.
Remember, you can buy SPG points for 2.27 cents apiece, but you can’t “sell” them for that amount. Not directly anyway. You should be able to break close to even if your current plans don’t materialize, but the upside may not be as great as you think. As long as you are OK with it, purchasing SPG points via this last ever promo can make sense. It sure beats trying to accumulate them via everyday spending IMO.
What about the average Joe/Jane?
If like me, you are not swimming in extra cash, you should think long and hard before taking advantage of this promo without a specific use in mind. I highly recommend this post on MoneyMetaGame blog: Purchasing points for the first time
I like the analytical approach the author takes and agree completely with his conclusions. For infrequent travelers, it rarely makes sense to buy points speculatively. As long as sign-up bonus opportunities exist, focusing on that form of travel hacking will almost always be cheaper for the average Joe who takes 2-3 trips per year. If, however, you live on the road, then it’s a different story.
A few reasons to consider buying SPG points now:
1) You regularly pay cash for fares on Amtrak.
As reported on LoyaltyLobby, transfers from SPG to Amtrak will cease after July 31st. Each Amtrak point is worth close to 3 cents towards Amtrak fares, and SPG points transfer on 1:1 basis. So, you would be getting a sizable discount that way.
2) You want to top up your mileage account for a specific award.
If you only need 5,000-6,000 miles, buying SPG points is probably the way to go.
3) You are looking to redeem Marriott points on Air+Hotel package and only need a few thousand points to top up your account.
In all likelihood, Marriott will devalue this option in August, but it’s impossible to know for sure.
4) Low-category Marriott and SPG hotels.
1 SPG point=3 Marriott points
One excellent example is Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls (American side) that is currently a Category 2. It costs 3k SPG points on weekends, 4k points on weekdays. Thanks to current promo, you can spend a weekend here for $136 all-in. During the summer, hotels near Niagara Falls charge a premium:So buying points can be a great way to experience this amazing natural wonder on the cheap.There are many other examples, of course.
5) You are planning to splurge on one night at a fancy hotel, and buying points will provide a sizable discount.
While I ended up going a different route, buying SPG points via this promo would have saved me around $65 on expensive Marriott resort in Fiji, booked as a treat for my father-in-law.
Just because everyone else in the hobby is buying a certain type of currency, doesn’t mean it’s a no-brainer for you. As is the case with annual fees, make sure to watch your hard-earned money, especially if you are a person of limited means.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.