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While earning points and miles through travel, promotions and credit card spend is what we'd focus on for building up balances in travel rewards accounts, if the opportunity had arisen to purchase points and miles at a discount it's something that must be considered based on your goals. Today we get to bring you three separate promotions from Starwood Preferred Guest, IHG Rewards Club, and AAdvantage. The deals from Starwood and AAdvantage represent the lowest per point/mile cost offered to the public, and IHG Rewards Club ties for the biggest discount it has offered; all three are worth investigating.
Today we get to bring you three separate promotions from Starwood Preferred Guest, IHG Rewards Club, and AAdvantage. The deals from Starwood and AAdvantage represent the lowest per point/mile cost offered to the public, and IHG Rewards Club ties for the biggest discount it has offered; all three are worth investigating.
Starwood Preferred Guest
In the market for Starpoints? Through July 1, 2016, as an SPG member, you can buy Starpoints at a 30% discount for purchases of 5,000 points or more. Starwood does offer Starpoints for sale a few times a year at a 25% discount, but this is the first time we have seen a public offer of 30% off.
Without the discount, you can purchase SPG points for 3.5 cents per point; buy with the 30% discount and the cost comes down to 2.45 cents per point or $245 for every 10,000 SPG points.
You might be able to receive additional value if you consider transferring those Starpoints out to one of SPG's airline transfer partners, most of which will transfer at a 1:1 ratio. SPG members receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred which will drop the cost down even further to 1.96 cents per mile. Excellent value especially if you're looking to top off an account for an award redemption.
To give that rate some perspective, if you purchased 20,000 SPG points for $490 and transferred them to Korean Air SKYPASS, collecting your 5,000 bonus miles along the way, you have enough miles to redeem for a round-trip economy ticket from the continental U.S. to Hawaii on SkyTeam partner Delta.
You can purchase a maximum of 30,000 Starpoints per year, and your account must be 14 days old to participate in this promotion.
SPG points purchases are processed by Points.com and will not count as travel spend on your credit card, make sure you are using a card that maximizes everyday spend.
IHG Rewards Club
IHG Rewards Club is offering up to a 100% bonus on points purchased through July 18, 2016. You are required to enter your account details to reveal the personalized offer — hopefully, you'll receive the 100% bonus offer. With the handful of accounts we checked, about half were targeted for a 100% bonus while the rest were offered a 50% bonus.
The price of IHG Rewards point differs depending on the volume you purchase.
- 1,000 – 10,000 points = $13.50 per 1,000 points
- 11,000 – 25,000 points = $12.50 per 1,000 points
- 26,000 – 60,000 points = $11.50 per 1,000 points
With the 100% bonus, if you bought the maximum 60,000 points allowed for this promotion, it would cost $690, and you would receive a total of 120,000 IHG Rewards Club points. That drops the cost per point down from 1.35 cents to 0.575 cents per point, equaling the best purchase rate IHG has ever offered. If targeted for only a 50% bonus we wouldn't recommend taking advantage of this promotion.
The offer on the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is no longer available through this site. Instead, check out the review of IHG's new premium rewards card.
If you are looking to leverage even more value from your IHG points, one of the benefits of signing up for the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card we profiled in a post on Maximizing the Benefits of the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is the 10% rebate on award redemptions. As a cardholder, if you redeem 120,000 points on hotel stays, IHG Rewards Club will credit 12,000 points back to your account (up to 100,000 per year), effectively dropping the cost per point down as low as 0.548 cents.
Review the benefits that come with the IHG® Rewards Card. Similar to the SPG points, purchases of IHG points are processed by Points.com, so be sure to use a card with a high return on your everyday spend.
American is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles on purchased miles, and you'll save 10% when you buy AAdvantage miles. Running through July 8, 2016, this is the best rate to purchase miles ever offered by American.
Similar to both the offers above, the percentage of additional bonus miles received depends on how many you buy, and you will need to purchase the maximum miles to receive the highest rate of 67% bonus miles. Including the 10% discount, if you buy 150,000 miles, you will get 100,000 bonus miles for a total of 250,000 miles at a cost of $4,311.19. That drops the price from the standard rate 3.17 cents per mile (pre $30 processing charge) to 1.72 cents per mile, which for AAdvantage, is an incredible rate.
One big difference between the AAdvantage promotion and the other two is that miles purchased from American are processed directly, not through Points.com. Look to use a card that maximizes your earning on travel purchases to take full advantage of the purchase.
Bear in mind that American only allows you to purchase 150,000 miles per year and that your purchased miles will not count towards elite status.
As with all rewards currency purchases, before purchasing any points or miles assess your travel goals and make sure you are buying with a specific redemption in mind. Cash in hand trumps an unplanned use of points in the bank. It doesn't make financial sense to make a speculative purchase just because the price looks good.
That said if you have an itchy finger and can't help but buy some points when the deals are this good, my vote goes to the SPG points at 30% off. As one of the most valuable and versatile currencies in play, they transfer to 30+ partners and can be leveraged for the most value out of the three sales on offer.
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