In absolute terms, the most valuable rewards currency are SPG points. They have access to an incredible variety of travel, airline, and hotel redemptions. The best way to earn Starpoints are through the SPG Personal American Express and the SPG Business American Express, but accumulating miles takes time. The best way to quickly increase your balance is through buying points. You can buy SPG points at a discount through March 16, 2018. This is generally the highest discount available.
SPG Points 35% Discount Promotion
For the next month and a half, you can get a 35% discount with a purchase of 5,000 or more Starpoints. With this discount, it costs 2.28 cents for each SPG point; normally, each Starpoint costs 3.5 cents. There is a limit of 30,000 SPG points that you can purchase per account. Your account must also have been active for at least 14 days to be eligible. Maxing out the promotion, 30,000 SPG points will run you $682.50.
This is one of the best deals ever for buying miles. Why? Because you can transfer to airlines at a 1:1.25 ratio. With such a transfer, the cost of an airline mile drops to 1.82 cents. This is the lowest rate that you can get for buying airline points. This indirect purchase/transfer is even lower than buying Alaska and AAdvantage miles directly from the airline, and is a great way to top-up your airline mile balances. For example, a 40% purchase bonus on Alaska Airlines miles would still run you 2.11 cents each.
Furthermore, you can also transfer SPG points at a 1:3 ratio to Marriott Rewards. This means that you can earn up to 90,000 Marriott points through this promotion. The cost of each Marriott point would be 0.76 cents. This makes more sense if you control several SPG accounts from your friends or family, as you can transfer unlimited SPG between accounts through this trick. This works even better if you or a friend has Gold or Platinum elite status. You can easily transfer points to the account with status, and redemptions also count for elite stay and night credits for both Marriott and Starwood.
Best SPG Redemptions – Hotel
I rarely buy points, but there are many scenarios where it make sense, even for me. Take the following example:
Whistler is notoriously expensive during ski season with correspondingly high hotel rates. The Westin Whistler is a Category 5 property, requiring 12,000 points a night. Purchasing these points would run you $274 a night. However, cash rates on those dates would be 479 CAD ($381 USD), excluding 15% hotel taxes. Furthermore, the lowest rates are prepaid and non-refundable. For friends who haven’t earned enough miles for this redemption, purchasing Starpoints is the best way to save money on a rate you would pay cash for.
Before buying points, I think about when I will redeem the points, thus avoiding the negative consequences of a devaluation. As well, I consider whether I would pay less by buying points for a redemption in comparison to the actual cash rate – how much you would actually pay. This applies particularly to international first class airfares which can run over $10,000, which I definitely wouldn’t be paying full price for. With the situation above, both conditions are met.
Best SPG Redemptions – Air
There are also fantastic deals on many airline redemptions. One of the best values with Starpoints is Etihad First Class through Asiana Airlines. It costs only 40,000 Asiana Club Miles to fly from Abu Dhabi to London on their A380 Apartments. Through buying SPG points, that could cost only $728. It’s by far the cheapest way to get comfortably from the Middle East to Europe.
These are just two scenarios out of many where buying points for a redemption winds up being cheaper than paying cash outright. Other redemptions I’ve written about include the best flight redemptions with SPG, redeeming for Emirates First Class with JAL Mileage Bank, transferring SPG to Marriott Hotel and Air Packages, and more. If you value high-value luxury travel, SPG points should occupy a large portion of your points portfolio.
As well, you can transfer Membership Rewards at a 2:1 ratio into SPG. Eligible cards include the American Express Platinum Card, the Business Platinum Card, the Business Gold Card, and the Gold Rewards card. The new American Express Cobalt Card also offers this transfer opportunity.