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In my opinion, Starpoints are the most valuable points currency out there. They can be redeemed for an incredible variety of airline and hotel redemptions. A shortcut to earning Starpoints are by buying them during promotions. Through July 20, you can get a 35% discount for purchases of 5,000 Starpoints or more. This is the highest discount available and your last chance to buy miles before the Marriott-Starwood merger.
You can earn SPG points with the Starwood American Express, although the bonus is poor currently. If you are planning to get a new AMEX, the American Express Business Gold Card would be your best option with a welcome bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards and first year annual fee waiver. Membership Rewards can convert at a decent 2:1 ratio until August 1. It’s likely this ratio would be reduced after, so now is a good time to make your transfers.
With this 35% discount, it costs 2.275 cents for each SPG point; normally, each costs 3.5 cents apiece. There is a limit of 30,000 SPG points that you can purchase per account, with your account being a minimum of 14 days old. Maxing out the promotion, 30,000 SPG points will run you $682.50.
This is a good time to buy miles because I suspect that sales in the future will not be as lucrative. If we look at Marriott’s program, they currently sell points at 1.25 cents each, which is the equivalent of 3.75 cents if being converted into Starpoints. I’ve also never seen them run a sale on purchasing points.
Marriott Hotel and Air Packages
One of the best values of Starpoints is transferring them to Marriott Rewards for their Hotel and Air Packages. They start at 270,000 Marriott points (90,000 Starwood), and give you a 7 night hotel certificate and up to 120,000 airline miles. These prices will change August 1, so now is a good time to redeem your points.
Extrapolating the purchase price, 90,000 Starpoints would run you $2047.50. If you value a Category 1-5 7 night certificate at $500, each airline mile costs you just 1.29 cents. That’s an incredible value and you’d be hard pressed to find anything close to that price.
What further makes Starpoints exceptionally valuable is that the upcoming award chart changes improve prices of many top-tier hotels. After August 1, the most expensive properties will only require 60,000 Marriott points. Thus, only 20,000 Starwood points is needed to redeem for a standard room at most properties until 2019. Right now, a Category 7 Starwood property requires 30,000-35,000 points for a standard room.
You can view Starwood Category 7 hotels here. There’s a whole page of very nice hotels, the St. Regis Bal Harbour among one, which are very high on my list.
Starpoint Redemptions – Air
Starpoints also are fantastic value for flights redemptions, with over 30 airline transfer partners. One of my favourite redemptions is Etihad First Class through Asiana Club. It costs only 40,000 Asiana Miles to fly from Abu Dhabi to London or Paris on their Airbus A380 Apartments. By buying SPG points, that could cost only $728 and airport taxes. It’s by far the cheapest way to get comfortably from the Middle East to Europe.
There are plenty of other great flight redemptions available.
I highly value luxury travel, which is why I have a lot of Starpoints. These sales are one of the best purchase promotions, which is why I’ve already purchased 90,000 points in the accounts I control, and am considering buying more. However, for families or others with different travel patterns, there are still plenty of cheap redemptions that are available.