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Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is back with a new offer, this time selling Starpoints for up to 50% off when you purchase 5,000 or more.
The exact discounts are targeted and range from 25%-50%. If you are lucky enough to have been targeted for anything over 35%, you’ll be buying Starpoints at the cheapest price I’ve ever seen (the previous best discount was 35%).
To check your own offer, just login here and it will come up automatically.
You have until the end of the year to take advantage of the offer (which is great), and SPG accounts have to be at least 14 days old to participate.
It is possible to get the discount when you gift Starpoints to others as well as when buying them for yourself. Each SPG account can only buy or receive a total of 30,000 Starpoints in a year, but it is permitted to gift 30,000 to as many accounts as you like. If you have a 50% offer, this means that you can use that offer to buy cheap Starpoints for friends and family.
It’s also worth recalling that you can then merge your Starpoints with anyone else in the same household as you, free of charge. So, a family with one member who has the 50% discount offer could gift Starpoints to everyone and then have all the Points transferred back into their own account.
It’s difficult to overstate what a great deal 50% off is – I was targeted for 30%, and despite having a very healthy Starpoint balance already, am still half considering buying. If I had been targeted for 50% I would have bought the full annual allowance of 30,000 already.
The standard price for Starpoints is ~ 2.6p (3.5 cents) each, so the discounted prices work out as follows:
- 25% off: ~ 2.14p (2.625 cents) per Starpoint
- 30% off: ~ 2p (2.45 cents) per Starpoint
- 35% off: ~ 1.86p (2.275 cents) per Starpoint
- 40% off: ~ 1.72p (2.1 cents)
- 45% off: ~ 1.57p(1.925 cents)
- 50% off: ~ 1.43p (1.75 cents) per Starpoint
I’m going to use the 1.43p figure in the calculations below, but obviously you can just multiply whatever the number of Points required is by your own discounted cost per Point.
The best thing about Starpoints is their incredible flexibility (they transfer to over 30 airline loyalty programmes, can be used for Starwood hotels and can now be transferred to Marriott at a great rate too), so there are really too many options to even think about, let alone cover here. I’m just going to focus on a few options for now, but suspect I’ll be returning to this subject more than once in the next 2 months while the sale is on.
The most obvious way to use Starpoints is to book Starwood hotels, and there are some great bargains to be had.
For example, the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel is a Category 2, which means it only costs 3,000 Starpoints at the weekends (4,000 during the week), rather than~£135.00 (150 Euros) per night much of the year.
Closer to home, rates at the Aloft Hotel in Liverpool can be very expensive for Saturday nights (£150.00+), but again it’s a Category 2, so you can just use 3,000 Starpoints instead.
With the 50% discount, 3,000 Starpoints would set you back just ~ £43.00! That could be a saving of more than two thirds, though remember you do have to purchase at least 5,000 Starpoints to get the discount.
The main reason I love Starpoints though, is the ability to transfer them to a very wide selection of airline loyalty programmes at a rate of 1 Starpoint = 1 Mile/Avios.
There is even a 5,000 Miles/Avios bonus when transferring blocks of 20,000 Starpoints. So, for example, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to British Airways Executive Club you would actually get 25,000 Avios in total; or if you transferred 40,000 Starpoints, you would get 50,000 Avios.
This is, by far, the most generous transfer ratio from hotel Points to frequent flyer Miles offered by any of the major hotel programmes.
The range of frequent flyer programmes you can transfer to is exceptional (35 in total, including great value programmes like Virgin America Elevate and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, which are otherwise quite difficult to earn miles with, from the UK). All the usual suspects like American Airlines, BA, Singapore Airlines, KLM/Air France, Etihad etc, are also included.
Singapore Airlines Transatlantic Business Class for ~£800 Return.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is one of the very best airlines in the world, and their Airbus A380s are the pride of the fleet, featuring the iconic ‘Suites’ in their First Class cabins. SIA happens to fly one of their A380s on a slightly surprising route between Frankfurt and New York.
Singapore Airlines is a partner of Virgin America, which means that you can redeem Elevate Miles for SIA flights.
The Elevate award chart for redeeming on SIA is generally excellent (they don’t actually have an award chart as such, you need to play around on the website looking up each route individually) and the Frankfurt-New York deal is extraordinary.
The Elevate programme is a bit unusual in that it allows one-ways, but charges more than 50% of the Miles required for a Return.
Frankfurt-New York (JFK) One-Way
- Economy: 12,000 Miles
- Business Class: 35,400 Miles
- First Class: 54,000 Miles
Frankfurt-New York (JFK) Return
- Economy: 20,000 Miles (equivalent to 10,000 each way)
- Business Class: 59,000 Miles (equivalent to 29,500 each way)
- First Class: 90,000 Miles (equivalent to 45,000 each way)
Every single one of these prices is incredible (even the more expensive one-way awards are, let alone the crazy Return prices!).
For crossing the Atlantic, most frequent flyer programmes require 20,000+ Miles/Avios in Economy, 50,000+ in Business and 80,000+ in First Class ONE-WAY.
The best bit though is that there aren’t any expensive ‘surcharges’ either! All classes of travel attract taxes of just ~ £52.00 ($75.00) one-way or ~£102.00 ($147.00) Return.
First Class award space can be tough to find, and the real standout value here (for me) is Business Class in any case, so that’s what I would focus on.
T0 get 59,000 Elevate Points you only need to transfer 49,000 Starpoints (remember you get 25,000 for every 20,000).
With the 50% discount, 49,000 Starpoints would cost about £700. Add on the ~£100 tax, and you’re looking at transatlantic Business Class with one of the world’s best airlines for about £400 each way.
You might also wish to enquire about the new Manchester-Houston Singapore Airlines route which has great award availability in Business Class on the Singapore Airlines site, but I don’t know if Virgin America can access the space yet.
Cathay Pacific Business Class one-way to/from Hong Kong for ~£550.00
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partners with Cathay Pacific and has some great value redemptions on the award chart.
For just 42,500 Alaska Mileage Plan Miles you can fly Cathay Pacific Business Class from any of Cathay’s European destinations to/from Hong Kong.
To get 42,500 Mileage Plan Miles you would only need to transfer 37,500 Starpoints, which with the current 50% discount would cost about £535.00.
Mileage Plan don’t have any surcharges on Cathay Pacific awards, so you’d only have to pay airport fees and taxes on top.
Half price Starpoints is a great offer. I don’t normally recommend buying Points or Miles, but if you’ve got a 40%+ offer I would take the time to seriously consider it.
The few things I’ve mentioned above are scarcely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the value you can get from discounted Starpoints – I’ll be covering many more between now New Year!