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Cheap airline miles, including Avios, via half-price Starwood points

Starwood is offering an exceptional, but targetted, deal at the moment – a 50% discount when you buy 5,000+ Starwood Preferred Guest points.

You need to log in here to see what discount is offered to you.  I got the full 50% off.  I have never, ever seen Starwood points sold this cheaply.

At the top end, you will be paying $525 (£420) for 30,000 points under this deal.

I value SPG points at 1.5p each when used for hotel redemptions.  You are paying 1.4p here so there is not a major arbitrage.  That said, because Starwood has ‘last room availability’ (if there is a room for cash, you can have it for points) you can easily exceed 1.5p per point on a peak day.

However, there is real value to had when you convert these points into airline miles.

Starwood points convert into 30 airline schemes (list here), including Avios, at 1:1.  If you convert in chunks of 20,000 points, you get a 5,000 point bonus.  Many Starwood partners, such as Lufthansa Miles & More, often make it hard to pick up miles cheaply via any other route.

Buying 20,000 Starwood points under this deal will cost $350 (£280).  That will convert into 25,000 airline miles.  You are paying 1.12p per mile.

I am not a buyer of Avios points at that price, although it is a good deal for topping off an account.  I may well be a buyer of Lufthansa miles at that price as I am keen to do another Lufthansa First Class redemption.

SPG Starwood

There is an even better deal available.

Starwood points can now be converted into Marriott Rewards points at 1:3.  You can also transfer Starwood points to anyone who lives at the same address as you as long as you have shared that address for at least 30 days.

My wife and my Mum ‘live’ in our house.  This means that, as long as they are all targetted for a 50% discount, I can buy 90,000 Starwood points which gets me 270,000 Marriott points.

I wrote in this article about the amazing value offered by Marriott travel package rewards.

This page of the Marriott website outlines all you need to know about Marriott travel packages.  There are different deals for different airlines.

Here is the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic conversion chart.  Remember that you need to divide these numbers by three to get to the relevant number of Starwood points (click to enlarge):

As you can see, 270,000 Marriott Rewards points (90,000 Starwood points) will get you 7 nights in a Marriott Group Category 1-5 hotel AND 120,000 Avios points.

This is a very attractive deal.

How the maths works

Let’s assume that I buy 30,000 Starwood points for myself, my wife and my Mum – assuming they are all targetted for the full 50% discount – and then move them into one account.  This will cost a total of £1,260.

If I move those 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott Rewards and redeem for this travel package, I will receive 120,000 Avios or Virgin miles AND 7 nights in a Marriott Category 1-5 hotel!  All for £1,260.

The only downside of these packages if that you may not want to stay for a week in the same hotel.  Even if you do, there is no guarantee that reward nights will be available for a seven night block.  The Marriott call centre can book stays with a mix of paid and free nights, for example an 8 night stay which had 3 free nights, 1 paid night in the middle due to no reward availability and then 4 free nights on the end.

To be clear – the miles are dropped into your airline account. You do NOT need to use them for a redemption linked to your stay. You can spend the miles as you please.

You can learn more about Marriott Travel Packages here.

Even if don’t want to go down the travel package route, this Starwood ‘buy points’ deal still offers good value for anyone looking for some cheap airline miles, Marriott points or Starwood points.

You can check if you are targetted for the 50% discount via the SPG ‘buy points’ page here.

PS.  Some readers reported last night that, whilst originally targetted for a 50% discount, they were now seeing a lower bonus.  My bonus was still showing as 50% as at 4.30am this morning.  Do post below if your bonus seems to have changed.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Bits: Hilton APAC Flash Sale, Amex Platinum Cashback promo, Clubcard to Avios competitions
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Comments

  1. Playing devil’s advocate.

    I got 50%, my daughter got 35%. Could I:

    Buy 30,000 points for myself @ 50%
    Gift 30,000 points to my daughter @ 50%
    Buy 30,000 on my daughter’s account @ 35%

    Transfer the points all into one account, and then transfer to myself at Marriott? Do the names on the SPG and Marriott accounts need to match?

  2. Karen Patterson says:

    Aaron,
    I believe there is a max of 30,000 points per account. So if you gift your daughter 30,000 points she will not be able to buy points for herself. Both online transactions may complete but one will be cancelled. So I would advise doing only the gift transaction at 50%.

  3. Karen Patterson says:

    If you sign someone up as a new SPG account you will need to wait 14 days before you can gift points to them.

  4. James Ferryman says:

    Hi, thanks for the details of this offer! I have been offered 50% bonus and will see if other members of my household also avail of this offer!

    I am thinking of a few days (Week) in Hawaii next year, e.g. Kauai. Can anyone recommend any good Marriotts on the Hawaiian islands? Also, is there an easy way to check the category level of these hotels? If I bought the package above for Category 1-5, and the hotel is Category 6, can I still use the hotel+air package and upgrade with points or cash? Many thanks in advance!

  5. Nicholas Lavender says:

    Anyone got any good suggestions for a Marriott cat 4-5 redemption flying <9 hours ?

    Must be over 20c in Feb.

  6. Andrew Tucker says:

    My bonus was 50% two days ago, today – 25% Have we got grounds to complain? Anybody else come up against this and resolved it?

  7. Andrew Tucker says:

    FYI, I phoned SPG following the disappointing rate I’d been given. They told me that the rate changes daily, so to try again tomorrow… or the next day etc etc. If you got 50% today you might have to give it a bit more thought – today!

    • Andrew, did you rate change? Mine is stuck at 25% Thanks.

      • Nicholas Lavender says:

        Same

        • Nicholas Lavender says:

          Still the same for me. SPG response when question does it change:

          The Mystery Starpoint promo can save you up to 50% off Starpoints. It is a random promo and it will present you with an amount when you are buying points. There is no way to select your percentage or tell what it will be. You should be offered an amount between 25-50 percent.