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
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.
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.
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.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)