Update: The 35% off sale ends today! It’s a great way to get discounted hotel stays or miles into amazing mileage program like Alaska or United on the cheap.
Unfortunately since this post was originally published on 11/2, JAL has started adding fuel surcharges to Emirates awards.
Originally posted on 11/2:
You can earn Starpoints with the Starwood Consumer AMEX, the Starwood Business AMEX, or the Chase Marriott Visa. You can view credit card offers by hovering over the “Credit Cards” tab. You can then click on “Hotel Credit Cards.“
For example 20K Starpoints are on sale for $455 instead of $700 or 30K Starpoints are on sale for $682.50 instead of $1,050. That’s a cost of 2.275 cents per Starpoints instead of the regular 3.5 cents per Starpoint.
Of course you also earn miles for the purchase, which makes the real cost even less.
If you have a Starwood AMEX and buy 30K Starpoints for $682.50 you will earn 1,366 Starpoints for the purchase, so effectively you’ll pay $682.50 for 31,366 Starpoints, or 2.175 cents per Starpoint.
There’s no reason to buy them speculatively at those rates. But it can definitely make sense if you have a specific redemption in mind.
If you need more than 30K Starpoints you’ll have to buy them with additional Starwood accounts.
You can freely transfer Starpoints between Starwood accounts that are located at the same address. Note that you need to wait 14 days from when you open a new Starwood account until you can buy Starpoints.
Here are some ideas for those points:
1. United miles+Marriott nights:
With Marriott’s miles+nights. 270K Marriott Rewards points would normally convert into 132K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel.
With the current United transfer promotion running through 11/30, 270K Marriott Rewards points will convert into 157K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel.
You can buy 86.5K Starpoints for $1,967.88, plus you’ll earn 3,936 Starpoints by buying those points on an SPG card, giving you a total of 90,436 Starpoints.
If you value the 7 night hotel stay at just $500 ($71/night) then you’re effectively paying $1,467 for 157,000 United miles. That’s a bargain at just 0.93 cents per mile.
Of course that cost is less if you already have Starpoints or Marriott points.
It’s worth noting that some Marriott agents will refund 45K Marriott points (15K Starpoints) if you return the 7 night stay certificate. That’s not a good value for the 7 night hotel certificate, but if you won’t use the hotel stay then it’s better than nothing. If you do that it will be like transferring 75K Starpoints into 157K United miles.
2. Cathay Pacific Business/First Class to Vancouver or Asia and 7 nights in a hotel:
With Marriott’s miles+nights. 270K Marriott Rewards points would convert into 120K Alaska miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel.
As mentioned before, even if you have no Starpoints, you can buy 86.5K Starpoints for $1,967.88, plus you’ll earn 3,936 Starpoints by buying those points on an SPG card, giving you a total of 90,436 Starpoints.
Alaska charges just 50K miles to Asia in award winning Cathay Pacific business class and 70K miles in Cathay Pacific first class, where you’ll have the best seat and bed in the sky.
With 120K Alaska miles you can fly one-way in business and one-way in first class.
For example you can fly from the US to Taipei and get 7 nights at a category 5 property there. Or stay fly and at a category 5 JW Marriott resort in Vietnam. You can even stopover in Hong Kong once or twice for as long as you want with Alaska miles. That’s perfect if you want to have custom clothing made there as you can go back to have them fitted perfectly.
Don’t want to leave the continent?
A Cathay Pacific first class flight from JFK to Vancouver is 35K miles and a Cathay Pacific business class flight is 25K miles. 120K miles would be enough for 2 people to fly there in first class and return in business class.
3. Discounted stays in SPG hotels:
Buying points for 2.175 cents each can make sense in pricey SPG hotels.
-The Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview is 3K Starpoints on weekends (That’s just $65.25 when buying Starpoints) and 4K Starpoints on weekdays ($87 when buying Starpoints) vs paid rates that can be more than $300/night!
Plus you won’t owe any tax on Starpoint stays.
-The S. Regis Bal Harbour can cost over $1,100/night after tax, but you can use 30K or 35K Starpoints to stay here, which is like paying $652.50-$761.25. Stay for 5 nights and you’ll pay 24K or 28K Starpoints per night, which is like paying $522-$609 per night.
-The W Fort Lauderdale is 12K Starpoints ($261 when buying Starpoints) or 9.6K on 5 night stays ($208.80) vs paid rates that can be more than $400/night.
-The S. Regis Rome is 20K Starpoints ($435 when buying Starpoints) or 16K on 5 night stays ($348) vs paid rates that can be more than $750/night.
Many other hotels are bargains with points, especially during peak travel times.
4. Emirates Shower Class:
Emirates A380 first class is affectionately known as “Shower Class.”
Sure, you get your own walled-in suite and access to the onboard bar.
But it’s the onboard shower that sets it apart.
You can fly it from JFK to Milan and by far the best way to book it is with JAL miles.
Emirates charges massive fuel surcharges when you use their miles, but Alaska and JAL can book you on Emirates without those fees.
However, Alaska charges 360K miles to fly round-trip from JFK to Milan while JAL charges just 100K miles round-trip!
You can transfer 80K Starpoints into 100K JAL miles thanks to the 25% transfer bonus. It other words by buying Starpoints at 2.175 cents each you can fly round-trip in Emirates shower class to Europe for just $1,740!
Want a longer flight in Shower Class?
JAL charges 135K miles from JFK to Dubai round-trip to 155K miles from JFK to the Maldives via Dubai round-trip.
Of course there are endless other ways to use your Starpoints where it can make sense to buy some points to reach an award redemption. How do you use your Starpoints?