A couple of big promotions have been released this week for earning thousands of extra Starpoints. These include buying points, signing up for the SPG American Express card, and referring others to the SPG Amex. All of these have been valid ways of earning points. However, these promotions are now unusually valuable and more rewarding than in the past.
Buy up to 30,000 Starpoints at 25% Discount
In years past Starwood has frequently offered either bonus points or a discount on purchased points a couple times a year. Generally a discount is the better deal. But either way there was an annual cap of 20,000 purchased points. It appears with the latest promotion that the cap has been raised to 30,000 Starpoints.
Buying points isn’t always a smart choice. With the maximum discount points will still cost 2.625 cents each, yet they are typically worth somewhere between 2.2 and 2.5 cents each. In other words, you better make sure that you have a very good redemption in mind before purchasing them. That could be a hotel award or a transfer to an airline partner. (Transfer 20,000 points and you’ll receive 25,000 miles with most airlines. You can still receive the maximum discount if you only want to purchase 20,000.)
My preferred use of Starpoints is for cash and points awards that let me stretch the points further, or free night awards on five night stays, since the fifth award night is complimentary. I usually avoid transferring to airlines simply because I already have so many airline miles.
Receive 35,000 Starpoints by Getting the SPG Amex
Both the personal and business versions of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express cards are offering 35,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months (personal card) or $3,000 in the first three months (business card). These are much more generous than the standard offer of 25,000 points. Even past promotions only raised it to 30,000 points.
You must apply for either card by March 30, 2016, in order to receive the higher offer. Keep in mind that household members may transfer points to consolidate them in a single account, which may be helpful if one of you has elite status. The only rule is that you must have lived at the same address for 30 days.
Earn up to 55,000 Starpoints by Referring Friends
Finally, those who already have one or both SPG cards can refer their friends and earn additional bonus points. You can refer up to 11 friends and receive 5,000 points for each successful application — a maximum of 55,000 points pear year. I’d be happy to refer you to either card if you’re interested.
Having so many offers at once gets the mind working. Why so generous, Starwood? One could say that in past years Starwood has simply been very stingy. This is their effort to final make up the difference. Another possibility is that Starwood — and American Express — are making efforts to entrench the loyalty of their customers while they still can. This also means it could be one of the last opportunities to get a good deal on buying points or applying for a card.
If the merger between Marriott and Starwood proceeds, it’s very likely that Starpoints will become Marriott Rewards points. That has led some people to be concerned that their Starpoints will lose value. Furthermore, it’s likely that the Marriott Rewards Visa from Chase will take precedence over the Amex SPG card. Amex may be trying to lock in a base for its existing card before it has to give up enrolling new customers.
I’m not worried about such changes happening in the near future. We still haven’t heard any news about a timeline for a changeover. But be watchful. I wouldn’t buy points on speculation. Those who have a use for Starpoints in the near future, particularly in the next six to nine months, will probably be okay.