From now until
December 13, 2013, you can receive up to 25% off the regular price when buying Starpoints. Below are the different rates:
- Buy 500 – 4,500 Starpoints: No savings
- Buy 5,000 – 12,500 Starpoints: Save 20%
- Buy 13,000 – 20,000 Starpoints: Save 25%
You can either buy these points for your personal account or you can send the points as a gift to family and friends, which comes just in time for the Christmas holidays.
Starpoints are extremely valuable because of the 30 different transfer airline transfer partners. I wrote about the Starwood program here. Furthermore, keep in mind the 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 points that you transfer to partners.
Normally it costs 3.5 cents for 1 Starpoint, no tax or processing fee. If you take advantage of this promotion, it a point can cost as low as 2.625 cents each. I still find this quite expensive, I do not really like paying for points, but if you want to buy, there are a few options to maximize the value.
Let us take Aeroplan as an example. If you buy the maximum, 20,000 Starpoints, it will cost you $525. You can then transfer those 20,000 Starpoints to Aeroplan, and receive 25,000 Aeroplan points. There are times when Aeroplan offers additional bonuses for transfering points. Between April 15 to May 13 of 2013, there was a promotion (now expired) that gave you 4,000 bonus Aeroplan points when you converted 25,000 points. If you believe that Aeroplan will have another similar promotion, you can buy the points ahead of time now, paying $525 for 20,000 Starpoints, which would then convert to 20,000 + 5,000 (Starwood bonus) + 4,000 (Aeroplan bonus) = 29,000 Aeroplan points.
Problem is, a flight between the East and West cost is around $550 during the sale season or 25,000 Aeroplan points. Once you factor in the surcharge for the award booking, it may not even seem worth it to buy the points at all. I think buying the Starpoints can be valuable if you need to book a flight ticket within North America during high season, which can cost a lot more than $550.
Since the points are so close to breaking even, this could be a good gift for someone looking to top up their accounts for a specific reward redemption. For example, if the person has 15,000 Starpoints, they only need 5,000 points (costing you $140) to make it to 20,000 Starpoints to transfer the points to an airline partner to receive the additional 5,000 bonus points. This could make the gift worthwhile for them because their 15,000 Starpoints would turn into 25,000 airline points of their choice, enough for a free flight ticket around North America.
I’m still not a fan of paying the $140, but it could be worthwhile because Starpoints expire if there is no activity on your account within 12-months. So this is one way to keep your account active. I suggest that you figure out what your needs are and then calculate whether it is worth it to buy the points.
In terms of using the Starpoints for rewards nights at a hotel, keep in mind that you can be paying the maximum $525 for 20,000 Starpoints. Can you book rewards nights with the 20,000 for more value than that $525 that you paid?