Bits: buy half price SPG points – and use for a Marriott travel package, two Hilton sales now on

News in brief:

Last day to buy Starwood points at a possible 50% discount

Starwood is offering a very good, but targetted, deal which ends TODAY – 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 (£425) 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 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.

Even better, you can now convert Starwood points at 1:3 into Marriott Rewards and redeem for a Marriott Travel Package.

These can offer excellent value – 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.  If there are three people in your household who are SPG members, you could buy 30,000 Starwood points each under this bonus offer, combine them and then redeem for one of these packages (EDIT: see the comment below about this and my response if you are planning this).

You can find out more about this deal in my original article on the Starwood ‘buy points’ bonus here.

SPG Starwood

Two Hilton sales now on

Just to be confusing, Hilton has two sales running at the moment.  They are both worth a look if you are in a position to firmly commit for stays later in 2017.

The first sale covers the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  The special landing page is here.

Whilst it is nominally called the Winter Sale, you can book for any weekend between now and the end of 2017.  The sale offers a discount of up to 30% off the standard Best Available Rate if you are a Hilton HHonors member, albeit that sale rates require prepayment and are non-refundable.  You receive a smaller discount (25%) if you are not logged in.  This offer is for all Hilton Group hotels, including Hampton, Conrad, Waldorf-Astoria etc.

The Europe / Middle East sale runs until 31st January.

The second sale covers Asia-Pacific, which includes Australasia, India and the Maldives as well as Asia.  The special landing page for that sale is here.

This sale is valid for ANY day of the week for any point in 2017.  If you are a Hilton HHonors member, you will receive a discount of 17% to 35% (7% to 25% for non members).

The Asia-Pacific sale runs until 20th January.  Note that China and Hong Kong are excluded.

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  1. On the point of ‘last room availability’,

    I found that a lot of hotels re-code their, otherwise identical in size and furnishings, rooms as enhanced rooms (better view, higher floor) and voila, no availability at standard redemption rates, as it should be per SPG Category.

    Sydney’s Sheraton on the Hill is one example.

  2. the real harry says:
    • They already have, albeit like-for-like – i.e. they match the DY fare that includes meal and bag as that’s what you get on BA, and add on the difference between LGW and LHR charges, but it’s readily available. What they absolutely refuse to match is the one-way pricing bit, so you have to buy a return (including the old Saturday night rule). I don’t imagine they’ll go any further than that, at least not until they introduce no-luggage-no-meals fares for longhaul anyway.

    • Is that really a deal? BA would be sub £400 in a sale. BA won’t charge for food or luggage. You also need to look at the Norwegian flight times which are often awful – if you are effectively losing a day of your holiday because of bad timings then the saving isn’t worth it.

      Wasn’t it the Norwegian New York flight which got into Kennedy past midnight? Since the subway is not a lot of fun at that time you were basically forced to take a taxi or Uber which ate up any saving from the flight – and you could have taken the BA morning flight instead and got an extra day away too.

      • That may have been in the past? At the moment (i was looking at nyc for a weekend in feb) the flight arrives at 8.30pm in NYC and leaves at 10.30pm (arriving at 10am the next day).

        With norwegian you can also save 20 or so quid if you buy via their norwegian site

        Harry, you can get it as low as 215 return to boston

        • Because of the BA sale they are doing flights to NYC for 400 cheapest. Which isnt bad but not amazing. But then if you book via american express you can get that 50 quid off offer that came out the other day and get it down to 350… which seems more palatable

        • Those times are fine, I agree.

        • the real harry says:

          £215 is real cheap

          Oh! to be a student again 🙂

  3. As well as converting SPG points to airline schemes you can use them on to book flights on almost any airline with no availability restrictions.

    • I’ve never looked at that as I’ve always assumed it was better to use cash. How much do they give you per point?

      • It goes in bands e.g. 10,000 points up to $150.
        It is not as good value as hotel stays, as you would expect, but the availability was more important to me in this case.

  4. More on Hilton…

    Also worth re-mentioning the 5k Visa offer booking with App during January.

    AND this from LL, 20℅ off MVP for US stays..

  5. GodSaveThePoints says:

    This is not correct and will cost people money if you don’t update. Starwood has changed their policy ( a while back) to prevent people circumnavigating the 30,000 per person limit.

    For a start:

    1) the other people must share an address for 30 days before a transfer can be made.
    2) transfers must be made in 1,000 point increments, which would require 60 clicks to transfer.
    3) transfers of points earned via purchases are prohibited and won’t complete. Some people have been able to work around this if they had pre existing points, but anyone creating fresh accounts will simply be out of money, even though the purchase price is good.

  6. OT: IHG.
    Had email saying there will be a sale soon – does anyone know if reduced price rooms still qualify for acelerate targets ?

  7. You must have been reading my mind on this article Rob. I was thinking about doing this with SPG/Marriage 2 days ago and read the articles on your site on them yesterday !

  8. Unfortunately our SPG offers are 35% and 30%… I wonder how they decided the offer levels, or if it’s random…

    • I emailed them on this issue explaining that anything less than 50% bonus did not really work in UK due to falling pound. I was hoping my 35% would be uprated to 50% but the reply I got was that bonus rates applied were random(!) and that I should keep signing in in the hope of a better offer. I have done so on a daily basis and the offer has never budgec. Same with my partners and my dads. At 50% I would have been a buyer but not 35%.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        As per all these offers its usually pretty random

        I can gift at 50% discount, twitter name is the same as here if you want to get in touch.

        • Thanks very much TG, however, I am already looking at saving only for 2019 flights so will take my chances on avios at 0.6p or less.

  9. OT: be aware that BA redemption monthly view may not be showing up all available flights that can be found searching day by day.

  10. OT. £20 back on £50 spend at Cafe Rouge on my BAPP

  11. What’s your view Rob on redeeming the travel package and using the AA miles on Etihad ?

    I’m tempted to transfer Amex points to increase it to enough for 2 business tickets or a single first class redemption to AUH rather than dump them in Avios.

    • AA can book any reward seat Etihad shows its own members IIRC – and without the fuel surcharge – so it isn’t a bad deal.

      • So a circulatory way of getting AA miles might be to get SPG points, swap into Marriott, buy a package, receive AA miles and then use on Etihad ?

        Does anyone know if the miles from the Marriott packages only credit when you have completed your stay or is purchase non refundable and they credit fairly swiftly ?

        Is there another way to get AA points ?

        • You get the miles now and can use the hotel later (a year?). You can also upgrade the hotel bit with more points at the time, so if you redeem for Cat 1 + 120k miles you can redeem the difference later to change the hotel to, say, Cat 5 + 120k miles.

  12. I got 30% and the wife 35%, boo!

  13. 35% here too… could have used a small top up right now as well

  14. Only 25% for me so I’m feeling really unloved, 35% for my wife, can’t really complain as we’ve never spent a night there between us! IHG and Hilton for us for 2017!
    Happy new year guys and girls.

  15. Gin and Tonic Please says:

    OT: Has anyone got the new Virgin Atlantic website to remember their security questions yet? Mine is STILL asking me to confirm each time (meaning I can’t use AwardWallet)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You will need to reset your password to make it work If you check back tomorrow I will post the step by step I was sent yesterday

  16. Pangolin says:

    I got offered a max of 25% so I can safely avoid that. Having to pay 2.6c per point isn’t going to rock my world.

  17. OT: we have the Amex travel offer(spend £209 get £50 back ) on 3 of our cards. But no direct flights to anywhere in Southern Europe on their website. We just want to go somewhere sunny and good for kids in April. How have people been using it? Any tips?

  18. Happy New Year all

  19. OT

    Does Starwood have a special paid for membership in Asia ?

    e.g. Marriott Gold Card, Hilton Premium Club ?

    Also, are there any other ones which we should be aware of ?

  20. I’m looking to generate as many Amex MR points as I can in the shortest time possible in order to then move to SPG and onto Marriott for the purpose of booking a travel package.

    What would the recommended strategy be around sign up bonuses etc?

    I currently have Gold Rewards card and my wife has no Amex charge cards, just the BA PP.

    Should I upgrade my Gold card to Platinum then refer my wife for Platinum to get the higher referral points, then cancel both cards (once points transferred) and repeat in say 7 months or so?

    I’m guessing we could also both apply for the SPG Amex cards for the sign up points.

    Any other or particular thoughts or recommendations?


    • No upgrade bonus to Plat, unless the call centre offers something at random.

      However, you may still want to do it as Plat referring Plat gets 18k whilst Gold referring Plat now only gets 9k under new rules.

      Get an SPG Amex too and then refer your wife for 5 plus 11.

      • Thanks, had not contemplated the referral route on the SPG Amex for additional points.

      • Just crunched some numbers (correct if I’m wrong please) – but a new application via referral for a Plat (35k + spend to hit bonus) then Plat referral by myself for my wife (18k + 35,000 + spend to hit bonus) would net greater number of points in less time than the Gold to Plat UG route had there been bonus points on offer.

        After hitting the sign up spends cancel both accounts (after transferring points to SPG) and then repeat in 7/8 months time.

        Or a i miss calculating on this?