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, 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 Frequently Asked Questions.