SPG is having one of their seasonal promotions where you an get up to a 25% discount on purchased points.
Other than the US Airways (in this case targeted) 100% promotion on purchased miles also happening, this is one of the cheapest ways to purchase “exotic” airline miles for international first class redemptions.
SPG has fantastic, fantastic transfer partners, some of which have decent award levels and great space for international first class. Especially if you’re in Canada (which means much lower credit card signup bonuses) and have a decent budget for international first class, Singapore KrisFlyer has a great award chart and decent award space for SQ premium cabin space which isn’t accessible to partners. I wrote about how to book that here. Another partner which is fantastic is JAL Mileage Bank which most likely has the cheapest Emirates First Class redemptions not touching the US. Or Korean Air, which has fantastic First Class award space and a decent product.
Starpoints are sold for 3.5 cents apiece, which means 25% off is 2.625 cents for each point when purchasing between 13,000 – 20,000 points. Given that it’s fairly hard to acquire SPG points other than spend on the card (and signup bonuses are that high either), if you’re looking for a hotel redemption or airline transfer it’s not a bad deal at all.
Since you’re paying $525 USD for 20,000 points, they also transfer to 25,000 miles in airline miles. This means it’s a flat 2.1 cents to purchase miles in nearly ANY currency in ANY increment of 20,000. $2100 would mean 100,000 miles in any of these programs which is enough for a segment in first class. It’s pricy, for some people, it might be worth it. You are limited to 20k purchased miles per account, but SPG does allow transfers between members with the same address, so if you have friends or immediate family who don’t need to purchase, you could use their accounts.
I would not recommend buying miles to transfer to Alaska, USDM, and AAdvantage, as I’ve seen that these currencies have had sales for lower than this price. But if you do need to top up, this would probably be one of the best ways since you can buy in 20k increments.
This is just for airlines! At 2.625 cents, purchasing miles for hotel redemptions could be useful as well if you have some pricy hotels in mind.
SPG hotels require the following points per night:
Cat 1: 3,000 = $78.75 USD
Cat 2: 4,000 = $105
Cat 3: 7,000 = $183.75
Cat 4: 10,000 = $262.5
Cat 5: 12,000 = $315
Cat 6: 20,000 = $525
Cat 7: 30,000 = $787.5
This is not such a great deal, but with certain (expensive luxury hotels) and fifth night free, it makes luxury hotels slightly less pricy. For example, with a fifth night free, 80,000 points can be purchased (with multiple accounts) for $2120 which makes each night only $420. Some hotels in that category (such as Westin Paris) go for over $600 per night which buying points makes slightly cheaper.
Of course, make sure that you carefully analyze the cost of the hotel before buying miles. I know some of you are chockfull of miles, but for some of you who don’t, it could be worthwhile.