For the time being, Starpoints remain the most valuable hotel loyalty currency. You can use them for hotel stays, cash and points awards, and transfer them to dozens of airlines. Now through December 31 you can save up to 25% when you purchase 20,000 Starpoints.
By maximizing this promotion, you can buy Starpoints for as little as 2.63 cents vs. the usual 3.5 cents each. I don’t know that all redemptions are a good deal at 2.63 cents, but it’s not unreasonable. Always remember to compare the cost of a paid stay against an award stay.
|Buy or Gift Points||Discount||Cost per Point|
|Buy 5,000 – 9,500 points||10%||3.15 cents|
|Buy 10,000 – 14,500 points||15%||2.98 cents|
|Buy 15,000 – 19,500 points||20%||2.80 cents|
|Buy 20,000 points||25%||2.63 cents|
Also remember that you get a 20% bonus when you transfer a block of 20,000 miles to any of Starwood’s various airline partners. Most transfer at a 1:1 ratio. So, if you buy 20,000 Starpoints at 2.63 cents ($525) and transfer to one of these airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, American, or Delta, you’ll get a total of 25,000 miles. You’ll be paying an effective rate of 2.1 cents per mile.
Purchasing 20,000 Starpoints is enough for a couple free nights depending on the hotel — particularly if you find some good cash and points award availability. There are several good options at 10,000 points per night. If you need more than 20,000 points. remember that you can transfer points without cost between members living at the same address for more than 30 days. (Just update the account profile and wait if you haven’t done this already.) Also remember that you get the fifth night free — on free night awards and on cash and points awards — when you book a longer stay.
The impending acquisition of Starwood by Marriott means that SPG’s days are numbered. However, I don’t think the program will be discontinued within the next year (the acquisition won’t even be finalized until mid-2016), and there should be plenty of notice about what will happen to your existing points and status.
So, don’t worry much about buying Starpoints now if you have plans to use them in the next year. But stockpiling for 2017 and beyond? I’d hold off until we know more.