Are the new SPG and Carlson ‘buy points’ deals any good?

Both Starwood Preferred Guest and Club Carlson have launched new ‘buy points’ deals this week.  The Starwood one is particularly interesting due to the ability to transfer SPG points to a large number of airlines at an attractive rate.

20% bonus Starpoints – when you buy before September 20th

Starwood is offering a 20% bonus when you buy points before September 20th. The link to buy is here.

The bonus applies to ALL purchases, however small, which makes this a good way of topping up your account for a specific redemption.

If your target was 20,000 points, 17,000 points plus a 20% bonus (total 20,400) will cost you $595 (£388). These can be converted in 25,400 airline miles in the majority of programmes. The price per mile works out at 1.5p which is certainly not a bargain but less than a lot of airlines charge for buying their miles directly.

(It is worth remembering that some airlines, like Lufthansa, do not allow you to buy miles at all so offers like this are particularly useful.)

£388 would also get you the 20,000 points you need to get a pair of tickets for the SPG Suite at the O2 which I reviewed over the Summer. This may be a decent deal for a sold out concert although it is obviously pricey.

The rules are straightforward – points post within 24 hours, maximum purchase of 20,000 points per year excluding the 20% bonus, your SPG account must be 14 days old to participate.  If you are interested, you can buy via this link.

It is also worth remembering that Starwood cut the redemption cost of many European hotels this year.  There may be some mid-range hotels where buying all the points needed for a stay makes sense, especially as Starwood guarantees to have a reward night available if a basic room is still available for cash.

SPG Starwood 350

30% bonus when you buy Club Carlson points

The Carlson (Radisson, Park Inn, Park Plaza) deal is bigger in percentage terms but not necessarily more attractive.

Until October 15th, you will receive a 30% bonus when you buy Club Carlson pointsThe link to buy is here.

The standard price is $7 per 1,000 points which, under this promotion, make it $7 per 1,300 points.  This is roughly 0.54 cents or 0.35p.   The maximum purchase before the bonus is 40,000 points.

Following the devaluation this year which pushed up top category hotels to 70,000 points, the maths does not really work – 70,000 points (if you could buy that many, which you can’t) would cost £245 which is roughly the cost of a 70,000 point hotel night anyway.

I would also recommend transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Carlson before buying points.  At the 1:3 transfer ratio, you are effectively getting (0.35p per Carlson point x 3) 1.05p of value per Amex point based on the money you save.

There are some scenarios where buying points may make sense.  A cheap Park Inn is often just 9,000 points which would cost you £31.50 under this deal – I doubt you’d get a room for that.

Buying points to transfer to airline miles is definitely a non-starter due to the 10:1 conversion ratio.  If you do want to top up your Carlson account via this offer, the ‘buy points’ page is here.

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

Bits: new 'Luxury Travel Diary' auction, HFP in the media
£10 off a £100 BA Euro Traveller ticket, £50 off ANY BA Club Europe!
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  1. Was thinking about getting some SPG points now and then waiting for the next SPG – AAdvantage conversion bonus which is usually 20%, but when do you think the next one will be?

    • Seems to be annually but no fixed date and, of course, no guarantee it comes back.

      • Not to mention that most expect AA to devalue substantially sometime soon.

        • I was thinking about that, I need to use the miles I have and book something up for next year, just wanted to get enough for 2 to fly in Etihad in first.

        • Hold off as long as you can on SPG then. United have just launched another buy miles promo; if history is anything to go by AA will follow suit within a few days. However, it is always just your luck whether the best discounts or bonus cutoff points fall around the amount you need.

        • Cheers, will keep an eye out for that then.

  2. Pat Butcher says:

    For posts like these it would be handy if you included when the last 2/3 offers were and what the offer was. Good to be able to compare although more work for you!

    • I did with the recent Hilton ‘buy points’. We are moving house this week and todays content was done in record time at around 1am this morning – from the old house, as we have no internet in the new one!

  3. Did anyone ever get to the bottom of whether the hotel perks on the PLAT card were removed?

    • Various people were told it was due to IT issues with Accor – Amex has not got back to me on my query (which was sent to a specific person with whom I am on good terms).

  4. Sorry if this is an obvious question – I have a few thousand spg points which are due to expire next month. Was planning on transferring these out to an airline program – but would purchasing points extend the expiry of my existing?