Why Purchasing Discounted SPG Points is Worth Considering Now

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We now know the end date for the Starwood Preferred Guest program as we know will be July 31, 2018, as the program will be combining with Marriott Rewards on August 1, 2018. This means there are just a little over three months to earn and use SPG points as we always have before the new award chart and program rules kick in later this summer.

Last call for earning points in the SPG program as we know it

If you were hoping to rack up lots of SPG points quickly in advance of the combined program, it may not be super simple. Both of the SPG Amex cards have already changed their welcome bonuses from SPG points to statement credits, which was a big bummer. Thankfully, there is another way to get 30,000 SPG points in a hurry. You can get out your credit card and just buy them. Fortunately, Starwood just launched a sale where you can purchase SPG points at a 35% discount over the ‘regular’ price until May 31, 2018.

Purchase SPG points with a 35% discount

This means that if you purchase a minimum of 5,000 points, they are just 2.275 cents each. This is the same discount we have seen a few times over the last year, but I don’t know how many more times it will be available before the programs combine on August 1, 2018. At that time, your Starwood points will transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, meaning that with this discount you are effectively purchasing points at about 3/4 of a cent each for the new program.

Top Tier SPG properties will temporarily get cheaper in the new program

I think this sale is a little more intriguing than normal given that we are coming up on the end of the line for SPG as we know it and we know that the top tier Category 7 SPG resorts will actually temporarily get cheaper in the new program. Currently, it costs 30,000 to 35,000 points SPG per night to book award stays at Category 7 properties including St. Regis Princeville in KauaiSt. Regis Punta Mita in MexicoSt. Regis New York in Manhattan, the St. Regis Aspen, St. Regis Deer Valley in Utah, and many more.

However, from August 1 until they add a Category 8 in 2019, you will be able to book all of those properties for a maximum of 60,000 points per night in the new program. This is the equivalent of 20,000 SPG points. If you book five nights, you will only pay for four dropping the per-night price to just 16,000 points per night. That is almost half off of the current maximum rate of 35,000 points per night, and it may present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay at these world-class resorts for a reasonable award rate.

Grand Hyatt Kauai or St. Regis Princeville

Lock in Category 1 stays from just $45.50 per night

At 2.275 cents per point, 16,000 points per night comes to $364 per night, which certainly isn’t cheap, but is much less than what these resorts can often sell for with cash. On the other end of the spectrum, a Category 1 stay on the weekend costs just 2,000 SPG points per night, which is the same as $45.50 per night at 2.275 cents per point. Even if you don’t actually need a Category 1 stay, that may help some who are pushing for Platinum status on stays for one final time pick up some inexpensive stay credits.

Free household transfers means your family can purchase even more

You can purchase a maximum of 30,000 SPG points per year, but remember that SPG allows for free transfers between household members, so your partner with the same address could do the same and you could combine your points down the line.

Pay with your SPG Amex to earn more points

Finally, if you do make a purchase, remember to pay for your points with your SPG Amex cards in order to earn 2x points on the purchase.

Will you be picking up some final SPG points with this 35% off sale?

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Comments

  1. Everyone needs a spreadsheet to figure out how much each kind of point worth for themselves. I’m glad I jumped on the $7k/35k SPG business on your advice 🙂

  2. Hi Summer,
    We are booked into our Wstin timeshare on Maui in August. We have always had the privilege of using star points to pay for our meals, drinks, etc. Will we still be able to do so? We have over 150,000starpoints. Otherwise should I transfer those points to United or another airline for our flights?

    • Well, you don’t want to transfer directly to United (bad deal) but others are OK. Best bet for United is 90,000 Starpoints -> 270,000 Marriott -> 7-night Cat-5 Marriott hotel + 132,000 United miles. Or you can beef up the Category by spending more (10,000 Starpoints for each Marriott category upgrade for the 7 nights).

  3. Absolutely! We stayed at St Regis Punta Mita when it was 20000pts per night, and it is one of our favorites in the entire world. Can’t wait for 8/1…

  4. A little confused. After August 1st I can book the St. Regis hotel Park city for 60K Marriott points.. but do I have to travel before December 31st before the new rate starts.. or can I book for the new year? Thanks

  5. A little confused. Can I book St Regis Park City after August 1st for 60k Marriott points and travel after Jan 1st or do I have only until Dec 31st? Thanks.

    • Karen, my understanding is you can book as far out as the calendar allows as normal from August 1 – early 2019 when the rates are lower.

  6. I just wanted to confirm this bit – “Finally, if you do make a purchase, remember to pay for your points with your SPG Amex cards in order to earn 2x points on the purchase.” Isn’t the purchase processed by points.com?

  7. Very tempting -my first trip to a Hawaiian Island is in September. Kauai slated for 7 nights. The Princeville lost out to Hyatt (only due to having a lot of UR points) but not without reservation. I think in order to take advantage with such a short booking-stay time span I’d have to reserve with cash now then make the change to an award stay once that becomes available in August.
    What would you do?

    • If it was me, I would book a trip you are happy with and then if this pops up with availability for your dates then make adjustments at that time. So, maybe book at Hyatt with points and then make a change in August if this all works out!

  8. All this new information about the merger is making my head spin. I’m sitting on 81K SPG points and have been debating buying the extra 9K to then use for a Marriott Hotel and Miles pkg. Now I’m wondering if I should buy enough to upgrade the certificate, or sell back the certificate and just use the extra points to book a 5th night free after Aug? Does that make any sense?

  9. 2 weeks ago I was happy that I had 3 nights in London and 5 nights in Paris in August at iconic Marriots. Point cost was 135k + 180k, not cheap but with the Marriott Gold from my Amex Platinum we had breakfast for 2 for 8 days in 2 expensive cities. I have seen different interpretations, 1) Marriott Gold becomes Platinum on August 1 but if source from Amex Platinum it would revert to Marriott Gold in 2019. 2) All Marriott Gold Except the ones sourced from Amex Platinum become Marriott Platinum on August 1.
    If breakfast is out of the equation for the Marriotts then it might be more prudent to use alternatives (Club Carlson and Hyatt) and use the Marriott points for a Hotel and miles package. (wife has 42k starpoints coming from the Amex she just opened). Is there any definitive word on how Amex Platinum derived status will be handled in August?

    • Word on all the blogs is that current Marriott Gold which is secured through AMEX platinum alone, will not be new Platinum after 1 AUG. I don’t think you’ll be getting free bfast anymore. I’d look at other properties.

  10. I really want to see if Marriott will really leave this loophole open. Not difficult they make it impossible behind the scenes by making just a few rooms available for booking with points. I don’t trust them at all.

    • I hear you, but think about it a different way for a minute. First, I don’t think they will want to anger anyone at the onset…or they would have done it already. Second, the Marriott chart now only goes to 45k. It is going up to 60k. Jumping immediately any higher may have raised feathers. I can be wrong, but I really don’t think they will play with room availability any more than they already do. I think you will indeed be able to book rooms as you can now, just for a different (temporary) rate. 60,000 Marriott points per night is still a big number that not tons of folks have – at least not in quantities to make a huge difference.

      • I second Julie. I booked the St. Regis Kauai for 4 nights but plan to leave at 6p for a 9p flight on the 5th day. I wonder if I could just get the free 5th day with points so we could rest with the toddler. Didn’t realize the 5th night promo applied when using points. Also, I used 35000 points per night, but I hope I can get a points adjustment.

      • I second Julie. I booked the St. Regis Kauai for 4 nights but plan to leave at 6p for a 9p flight on the 5th day. I wonder if I could just get the free 5th day with points so we could rest with the toddler. Didn’t realize the 5th night promo applied when using points. Also, I used 35000 points per night

      • I have the same question as Julie as well since award availability is limited. I’d like to “secure” my once in a lifetime experience. Please let us know when you find out. Thank you very much.

        • So the official answer per today’s announcement is that you will have to rebook in August to get the lower points rate. Now whether properties will work with you if standard rooms are full is ‘your mileage may vary’, but it doesn’t seem they will automatically refund you just because the rate changed.

  11. I currently have the Marriott Rewards Chase Visa (got it for bonus points to transfer to SPG about two years ago.) I was thinking of referring my husband and getting him one before the August change over. (I’d transfer his points to SPG then to my account like we always do.)
    Do you think it’s better to get the current Marriott card as it is now, and then hope to open another co-branded card later? Or should I wait for the co-branded and hope for better sign up bonuses?

  12. Sorry, newb here. Is the idea to buy SPG points now, and then wait until 8/1 to book Cat. 7 hotels at discounted rate? As it is now, I’m not seeing the 16,000 point (or 20,000) per night redemption. Will this only be available after 8/1. Thanks for your help! It is certainly tempting.

    • Kara, for some, absolutely. For others, they want to lock in properties now at the prices that are currently in effect. The Cat 7 for 20k per night will go into effect on 8/1.

    • It depends. I grabbed some now because it works out to $68.25 (tax included) per weekend night for a Category 2. I need 4 stays to move up in status so I want to get those stays in as soon as possible to start getting the extra 1 point/dollar for paid stays and other benefits. So, I will be using them in the next month or so.

  13. You mentioned that husband/wife (…partner) could both set up accounts and buy points to combine under one household. Is there a limit on the number of people in a ‘household’ or minimum age of an account holder (I guess the T&C of SPG could answer me too)?

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