Purchase Starwood Points at a 20% Discount

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Through November 30, 2012 you are able to purchase SPG points at a 20% off discount. This means that it will now only cost you $28 for each increment of 1,000 points you purchase (typically it is $35 for 1,000 points). While I would not suggest to just purchase points out of the blue, if you do the math for a particular  upcoming hotel stay, you might actually find that purchasing and redeeming points might be cheaper then just paying for the hotel outright.

Some things to know with this promotion:

  • This promotion ends November 30, 2012
  • The maximum number of points you can purchase in a calendar year is 20,000 points
  • You can purchase points in increments of 500
  • Points take up to 24 hours to deposit into your account
  • Your Starwood account must be activated for at least 14 days – if you are new to the program and looking to make a purchase make sure to create an account now
  • Purchase points here

Some examples of when this is a good deal:

  • Aloft Bangkok – This is a category 1 hotel, which only requires 2,000 points on the weekends or 3,000 points during the week. This hotel will cost you around $100/night (with tax) or you can purchase the points necessary at $56 for a weekend night or $84 for a weekday night.
  • Le Meridien Chiang Mai or Le Meridien Chiang Rai – This is a category 2 hotel and is typically always available for cash + point redemption. This will require you to redeem 1,600 points + $30. Assuming you have a spare 100 points laying around, you can purchase 1,500 points for $42. The cost of the points plus the “cash” portion of the redemption will only cost you $72. A room at this hotel typically costs at least $120/night.
  • Sheraton Mountain Vista Villas in Vail – This is a category 4 hotel and only requires 4,000 points + $60 for a cash + points stay. I even looked up availability in the peak of winter (ski season), and cash + point stays were still available. You can purchase up to a 5 night stay (due to the 20,000 point maximum per account), which will cost you $112 (to purchase the points) + $60 for a total of $175/night. For a five night vacation your grand total will be $875.  While this might still like a lot to pay to purchase points, the regular prepaid rate at this hotel is about $330/night!
  • Le Meridien Dead Sea, Israel – For those of you who got on the Tel Aviv mistake fare, this hotel at the Dead Sea is a category 1, thus requiring 2,000 points on the weekend or 3,000 points during the weekday. This hotel has a shocking $250/night rate, so purchasing the points required will actually only cost you $56 or $84 a night – probably one of the best value for your points!

There are many hotels where this will actually work to your advantage, so definitely do the math for your particular situation to see if it makes sense.

Pros/Cons of Redeeming Points:

  • You will still get stay/night credits even when redeeming (pro)
  • You will not get the points (con)
  • If there is a bonus at the time, you will be ineligible when redeeming points (con)
  • If you are using all points, you will not have to pay any taxes (pro)
  • If you are using points + cash, you will only have to pay a small amount on the cash portion (pro)
  • If using cash + point, you sometimes need to pay tax on the cash portion, but since this is on such a smaller amount you will not have to pay the full tax on the regular rate and at some resort and city locations this can be extremely high (pro)
  • At some hotels, you do not have the pay the resort fee if using points to redeem for your stay (pro)

So unless there is some unbelievable promotion going on, or the cost of purchasing points is close to the cost of actually paying for the stay, definitely use points when it is cheaper.

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