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Buying Starpoints from Starwood Preferred Guest was one of the main tools in any European travel hacker’s toolkit. Sadly, those opportunities disappeared when SPG was fully merged into Marriott, becoming Marriott Bonvoy. As far as I can remember, Marriott had NEVER sold points at a discount… until now!
Between now and 15 May, 2019, you can save 25% when buying at least 5,000 points. The annual maximum is 50,000 points. (although as with SPG you can combine points balances with family members)
Does it Make Sense?
If you buy 50,000 points you will pay $468.75 (approximately £360). On a per point basis that works out to 0.94 US cents / 0.72p. That feels a bit too high for my liking.
One of the main reasons for buying Starpoints was to immediately convert them into airline miles, so we can revisit our standard analysis. You will need to convert 60,000 Marriott points in order to receive 25,000 airline miles. At these “per point” prices, you’d be effectively paying $564 for 25,000 miles, or 2.25 US cents per mile. Except for those mileage programmes that do NOT ever sell miles, you are usually going to be able to buy miles directly from the airline for less (during the airlines’ own promos at least).
Even though on a valuation basis this price feels a bit high, you might be aiming for a “fifth night free” reward booking. In that case, the potential discount on offer might be well worth “over-paying” to get 50,000 Marriott points quickly. (The thought process is exactly the same as over-paying for a bunch of Avios in order to use a 2-for-1 voucher effectively.) As a reminder, this is what the award chart looks like. (still no peak / off-peak pricing as yet…)
If you are tempted to buy, make sure to re-read this post where I tell you how to earn cashback on purchases of points. You might want to wait until a direct link to the Marriott “buy points” page appears on Topcashback USA…
Are you tempted by this offer? Or planning to wait until later in the year in case Marriott adjusts its discounting strategy further…