Nov022011

Buy Starwood points at $28 per 1,000 Nov 1-Dec 30, 2011

Starwood Preferred Guest is once again selling points at a 20% discount from November 1 to December 30, 2011 making the cost to buy 1,000 points $28 rather than $35. SPG members are allowed to receive a maximum 20,000 points per calendar year from purchased points or gifted points. SPG has offered this discount the past two years in the last quarter of the calendar year.

$28 per 1,000 points is a good value for many hotel rewards where the cost to buy points is lower than the room rate. Reward nights using points cover the room rate and tax. Some hotels have resort fees which are not included in a points reward.

I find SPG Category 4 hotels with Cash & Points availability typically very useful when rates are high. At this purchase price the cost of 4,000 points is $112 + $60 Cash for a reward night. Even with tax added to the $60, the total cost for a reward night is about $180 for many Starwood hotels that can easily be $300 per night. The savings is much smaller if there are only standard rewards at 10,000 points since you pay $280 to buy 10,000 points.

Starwood Preferred Guest now counts award nights for SPG elite qualification so Cash & Points stays are even more valuable awards.

In January 2012 you are eligible to buy another 20,000 points, but you might want to wait until Q4 2012 since this offer looks to be an annual sale offer.

I was surprised at how sparse SPG Cash & Points  award availability is for hotels in California when I looked for a good example of hotel rate savings.

Here is one example:

Four Points Los Angeles Westside Nov. 9, 2011 is $170 all-in AAA rate.

Four Points Los Angeles Westside, SPG category 2 award at $30 and 1,600 points.

  • Buy 2,000 points = $56
  • Cash & Points cash portion = $30
  • 12% hotel tax on $30 + 0.05% California tourism tax = $3.62
  • $89.62 Cash & Points rate when buying SPG points vs. $170.48 for AAA rate.

Buy Starpoints link.

Buy Starpoints Frequently Asked Questions.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Realized I had Dec 31 instead of Dec 30 just as I hit “Publish”. In 2010 the promo went to Dec 31. In 2011 the offer ends Dec 30.

    BoardingArea.com is so smart it will change the post image soon on the front page, but sorry if you got a RSS post feed with the wrong date.

  2. Ric – In my email it states: “The 20% discount offer is available for all Starpoints purchases made between November 1 and December 31, 2011, and is subject to change.” Have the terms already changed?

  3. that four points is horrible.

    the issue is when you can find great properties for cash and points. Don’t they make the most sense when traveling to Europe? For example, I used priority club points of 25,000 and 40,000 (roughly $150 and $240 to purchase) to stay at Holiday Inn Notre Dame (230 euros a night) and Intercontinental Le Grand (520 euros a night) for great values. (Also, the Hotel Indigo New York City costs 25,000 points ($150ai) to use points when it regularly goes for $250-300 a night.)

    Are there comparable values for optimizing this spg promotion of buying points when planning european or New york stays?

  4. @dealswelike – Interesting. I didn’t see the offer in an email. I am going by the SPG Buy Points page that shows Dec 30, 2011.

    @Michael – There are plenty of hotels where there will be good value above $28 per 1,000 points. New York and Europe are certainly places where you will find high value.

    My point was to show how even a category 2 hotel locally in California offers great savings. Four Points LA may not be an aspirational property, but my example shows there is quite a savings buying points compared to the room rate.

    Buying points can save cash at many Starwood Hotels all over the world when rates are high.

    There are plenty of us SPG members not going to Europe or NYC anytime soon, but still wanting to save money at a Starwood Hotel.

  5. nice analysis. i just ran into a situation today where it was worth it to buy points outright and redeem.

    sheraton gateway near LAX for one night, check-in on 12/31 is $139 at the AAA price or 3000 starpoints (no C&P option on this date).

    3000 starpoints is $84 right now. it’s almost like getting a discount for doing nothing.

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