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Buying Starpoints

BLUE AYES

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Was offered 80,000 points for $1,550.00. I already have over 300,000 points, some from developer purchases, others earned. (I earn at least 75,000 per year) I use them for hotels and first class tickets on a somewhat regular basis. Any thoughts on the value of this purchase ?
 

jarta

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Value depends on how you would use the Starpoints. Out-of-ordinary use (going first class on an airplane when you would go economy or going to a Cat 5-7 resort or hotel when you would go to a CAT 2-4 more often) gives a higher monetary value, but is it valuable to you?

Cost is a different concept than value. 80,000 Starpoints normally can be purchased from Starwood for 3.5 cents per Starpoint or $2,800. Annually Starwood holds a sale for 20% off or 2.8 cents per Starpoint with a limit on the amount that can be purchased.

A 148,100 StarOption week can usually be converted to 72,000 Starpoints (more and without any conversion fee if you have 4 or 5 Star Elite status).

A 148,100 week in Maui converted to 72,000 Starpoints would cost about the same as purchasing the Starpoints without a sale. A 148,100 week at Lagunamar (MF about $1,280) can be converted to 72,000 Starpoints at a cost per Starpoint less than you would be paying - even with the price of your offer ($1,550 for 80,000 Starpoints).

Be advised. If you are purchasing from the developer and really want to do that (rather than rescind), you should be able to get 4-6 times the amount of reduced price Starpoints you have been offered. ... eom
 

YYJMSP

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Be advised. If you are purchasing from the developer and really want to do that (rather than rescind), you should be able to get 4-6 times the amount of reduced price Starpoints you have been offered. ... eom
We got the emails the other day for the same offer.

It appears to be directed at people who made developer purchases this year (one email offer per purchase), and it states that it is in addition to any other promotional SPG points offers.
 

BLUE AYES

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Not buying from the developer. Last year (it deeded in 2011) I upgraded and retroed in a unit. I received this offer as a result. I burn through 200,000 plus points on first class tickets for a family of four every year not counting hotel stays. Every year I have been using more points than I earn and as I will never purchase another developer TS I think I might want to purchase this bulk point offer. So Jarta, I am not a math guy, does it make financial sense ? Sounds like I am saving a few hundred dollars over a direct purchase, although at 3.5 per point I would never buy, just not fly first class for the annual christmas trip.
 

YYJMSP

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My emails said:

As a new Owner with Starwood Vacation Ownership and a member of the Starwood Vacation NetworkSM program, you are eligible for a special offer to receive extra Starpoints® from the Starwood Preferred Guest® program if you call us by December 15, 2011.​

I interpreted the "member of the Starwood Vacation Network" as meaning developer purchase...

Not buying from the developer. Last year (it deeded in 2011) I upgraded and retroed in a unit.
Upgraded and retroed means you must have bought a unit from the developer, correct?
 

bizaro86

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I would take that deal in a heartbeat, but I get great value out of my starpoints. My 5 nights on the beach in Thailand over New Years worked out to >5 cents per point (and that's on a rate I would have paid without the points). It depends whether your travel patterns are conducive to getting good value out of them in a reasonable timeframe. (I wouldn't buy them unless your going to use them soon, as starwood can (and has!) change the rules/redemption values at whim.
 

jarta

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"So Jarta, I am not a math guy, does it make financial sense ?"

I am part of a small minority here that believes acquiring Starpoints at low cost which can be spent for high value use is the most appealing part of the Starwood SVN timeshare system. Most do not agree with me. Most do not use Starpoints like I do. It makes financial sense to me.

It may or may not make sense for you. It's a pretty individual decision. And, the decision should be driven by whether you would consider making a high value use purchase with or without Starpoints as the way to pay.

Just one example: For use this year I converted the equivalent of $1,250 in an annual 2010 MF at Lagunamar (without a fee but with my 5 Star Elite 10% bonus) to 80,000 Starpoints. Then, with my 20% bonus on transferring out Starpoints to a Starwood partner, I ended up with 100 SW Rapid Rewards points. Under the existing (now defunct) arrangement for Rapid Rewards I ended up with 6 round trip tickets anywhere and a companion pass for my wife for all year. That's 12 round trip tickets for about $200 per round trip ticket.

But, we flew lots of places and almost every month. Me for the low SW fares and my wife on the companion pass for a round trip ticket for $5. I only used 2 of my round trip tickets. Both times I used the round trip tickets to go to LV. It's the most expensive ticket destination from Chicago.

All that for $1,250 (plus my fares) and I still have 4 unused round trip award tickets. We got way more than 12 "free" round trip tickets on SW for my investment of $1,250. To me, that makes financial sense. ... eom
 

YYJMSP

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I am part of a small minority here that believes acquiring Starpoints at low cost which can be spent for high value use is the most appealing part of the Starwood SVN timeshare system. Most do not agree with me. Most do not use Starpoints like I do. It makes financial sense to me.
Add me to the list :)

This flexibility/value was the primary reason we bought SVO vs. some of the other timeshare systems we'd taken a look at previous to our first purchase...
 

jarta

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YYJMSP, ... "Add me to the list"

Why in the TUG world would you want to be on any list with me on it? ROFL!

Your support has emboldened me to add another example.

In 2010 and again in 2011, I converted StarOptions and transferred out even more Starpoints. In 2010, USAIR was giving a 100% (2 for 1) miles bonus for every Starpoint transferred; in 2011 only a 50% bonus.

In 2010 I purchased 3 business class round trip tickets to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines for an equivalent cost of Starwood Lagunamar MF of about $1,500 for each ticket. The usual price for a business class round trip ticket to Istanbul is around $6K-$7K (depending on the time of year). We went in Summer. It worked so well I did the same thing as a 50th anniversary gift for a couple we are friends with this September. They loved the 11 hour flight in business class to Instanbul and raved about how fresh and relaxed they felt after the long flights. And, instead of costing me around $12K, it only cost me about $4K to be that nice to 2 very good friends. That type of savings makes sense to me and the savings takes some of the sting out of the developer pricing I paid for my 3 Langunamar weeks. The rest of what I own was purchased resale in the secondary market and retroed when I purchased or upgraded those 3 developer Lagunamar weeks.

I have 400K unspent air miles in USAIR dividend miles from unspent transfers from Starwood. And, I still have 500K unspent Starpoints from conversions and developer purchases. Plus, I have 6 unused options for 80,000 Starpoints which I can buy for $1,550 for each option and which do not expire until the end of next year.

It makes financial sense to me. ... eom
 

BLUE AYES

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You convinced me. I fly quite a bit alone, mostly Jet Blue. Twice a year we fly for family vacations over school breaks. I use my excess points for First Class, usually on USAir. With the 5k transfer bonus, and last years 50% bonus, I got 4 first class tix for 140,000 points (which ended up being equivalent to approx. 265,000 USAir miles, more than enough) . The 4 round trips over xmas new year were selling for close to 7,000 with tax (plus no luggage fees, early boarding etc.)
 

jarta

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The savings only work that well if you are 4 or 5 Star Elite. However, the better value comes with higher Elite status. (5 Star Elite also gets you SPG Platinum status for life - or at least the life of your 5 Star status.)

Getting to 5 Star Elite usually takes at least 3 developer purchases with an inclusion of 2 retroes of secondary market non-Starwood Platinum Plus 2-br or 3-br purchases. It's quite expensive and Elite status not practical for most people! You also need the revenue to pay the annual assessments, the money to do the added vacationing or traveling and the time off to use the weeks you do not convert to Starpoints for other vacation or travel use.

Think it over soberly before doing anything. The worst thing you can do is overbuy timeshares since most sell for pennies on the dollar from the original developer pricing in the resale market. ... eom
 

bizaro86

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In terms of thinking it over soberly, it sounds like this is a one-time offer to buy XX starpoints for XX dollars. There isn't an obligation to purchase another timeshare or pay a MF is there?

As a one-off, just buying the starpoints is a good deal, IMO. (I'd be willing to buy them off you if that were permissable, but it's not)

If it's part of a deal where you pay starwood tens of thousands of dollars more than something is worth resale, then I wouldn't do it.
 

YYJMSP

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YYJMSP, ... "Add me to the list"

Why in the TUG world would you want to be on any list with me on it? ROFL!
Got some major dental work done yesterday, so perhaps it's the pain killers talking... :D

Our story:

We looked at a bunch of smaller timeshare companies, and they just didn't have enough variety in their in-house properties. I flicked through the RCI and II books each pushed as being part of their family of properties, but didn't really see much that appealed to me personally, and was unclear on just how available these properties really were. But what I found most disconcerting was the price stability. The salesperson started at (what felt like at the time) a large number for a specific ownership, then dropped it 25%, then dropped it another 25%, and then finally asked how much I'd be willing to spend. I told him (by my calculations) that it was worth about 10% of what he was originally asking, and even then I wasn't sure if I would buy it...

We went and looked at one or two of the big players during holidays over the next few years, and weren't particularly impressed with the home properties we were shown for the amount of money they were asking (about double what the little guys were looking for). And once again, each pushed RCI/II to strengthen their offering.

We were in Hawaii in 2005 on our way to Australia, and took a look at WKORV. The property was very nice, and ability to convert to SPG points and make the other ~700 hotels essentially in-house properties (with very good presence in places we were planning on going anyways) was the key selling point, and worth their price being 25% more than what we'd looked at before SVO.

So we bought, and a few months later bought a WKROVN over the phone sight unseen, and picked up all of the other SVO properties we own over the last couple of years. We've never actually seen SVR, WLR, or WDW (heading there for the first time this spring).

Our motivation each time was 1) a good resort in a good location (with the exception of WLR, which we likely won't actually visit), and 2) value for SPG conversion (finally tying this back to the original discussion ;)).

And in hind-sight, it turns out that the first hotel my wife and I stayed at (on our wedding night) was a multi-story penthouse suite at a Sheraton (it's no longer a Starwood hotel).
 

YYJMSP

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It makes financial sense to me. ... eom
We feel that we've gotten very good value for our converted SPG points at higher-end hotels/resorts in popular destinations during peak seasons (Christmas, Spring Break, etc), especially with the small increments (Specialty Select upgrades) to get much better rooms/suites.

I know people will dispute the value, but some of those rooms would have easily gone for $1000+/night, and yes, we would probably have paid that (and used to before SVO, etc).

And, of course, there's the conversion to airline FF points for international (don't waste them on domestic) business/first class tickets.

The measure is always "are we getting more than what we would have paid anyways". So, for example, if I was already going to spend $10K/yr on hotels/airfaire, did I get more than that using my SVO units (direct stays, exchanged stays, conversion to SPG or FF points, etc). For us, the answer has been a resounding "yes" (in our opinion) for each year since we drank the kool-aid.

I won't get in to the fuzzy math.
 
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YYJMSP

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In terms of thinking it over soberly, it sounds like this is a one-time offer to buy XX starpoints for XX dollars. There isn't an obligation to purchase another timeshare or pay a MF is there?

As a one-off, just buying the starpoints is a good deal, IMO. (I'd be willing to buy them off you if that were permissable, but it's not)

If it's part of a deal where you pay starwood tens of thousands of dollars more than something is worth resale, then I wouldn't do it.
Yes, it's just a one-time offer, no strings attached.

The price is better than buying the same points in another way (directly from SPG, using your SPG AMEX, etc...)
 

YYJMSP

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I wouldn't buy them unless your going to use them soon, as starwood can (and has!) change the rules/redemption values at whim.
I would assume that these points would expire in 6 years, like other SVO-originated points.

As for changing redemption rates, they are adjusted (sometimes with no basis on reality :)) every Feb. If you're going somewhere significant, it's not a bad idea to book before the new rates are announced, and then rebook if the rates go down (or sit back and smile if the rates went up)
 

BLUE AYES

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Jarta,

I am already 4star. I am NOT purchasing any TSs. I am buying Starpoints at a discount. I just purchased 160,000 points for $3,100.00 If USAir continues its yearly promotions, I will have 4 First Class tickets over Christmas New Year for $750.00 each. I am happy with the deal (coach is usually 400-600)
 

jarta

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BLUE AYES, ... The reason I included the caveats are: 1. They are relevant for most people who would read this thread; and 2. There has been a lot of pushback in other threads from those who disagree with me about the value of StarOption conversion to Starpoints (and who, I assume, would disagree with you, bizaro and YYJMSP about value).

Maybe the warning that Elite status is expensive and not for everyone was overly cautious. Sorry about that. However, I'm glad you're a happy 4 Star. ... eom
 

bizaro86

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I would assume that these points would expire in 6 years, like other SVO-originated points.

As for changing redemption rates, they are adjusted (sometimes with no basis on reality :)) every Feb. If you're going somewhere significant, it's not a bad idea to book before the new rates are announced, and then rebook if the rates go down (or sit back and smile if the rates went up)
I meant more that if you've got enough starpoints to cover 2 years of travel already, I'm not sure I'd book more, since who knows what the redemption values will be like in 3 years. If they have the regular expiry period that wouldn't be an issue, IMO.
 

YYJMSP

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I meant more that if you've got enough starpoints to cover 2 years of travel already, I'm not sure I'd book more, since who knows what the redemption values will be like in 3 years. If they have the regular expiry period that wouldn't be an issue, IMO.
I'm an extreme planner :), so we usually have a pretty good idea where we're going to be for the next 4 - 5 years, and block off the number of points we figure we'll need for hotels, airfare, etc, so that we don't "overspend" prior to that...

I think we have approx. 2million SPG/FF "in-the-bank" points allocated for specific trips through end of 2015, including a buffer assuming redemption rates increase by up to 10% in that time period.
 

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I concur that Starpoints can be very valuable when usedwisely. Since we didn’t use our LakesideTerrace unit this year, I converted to 60,500 SPs (55,000+10% bonus). Then I moved 60,000 SPs to AA, including the25% bonus for a total of 75,000 miles. That was more than enough for two roundtrip coach tickets for a trip toLima during Thanksgiving week ($1,300+ each ticket in coach had we had to payfor them). However, we ended up gettingBusiness class instead using a total of 120,000 miles (which otherwise would have been about$5,000 each ticket r/t). Not a bad dealconsidering that the MFs for Lakeside Terrace were only $900 this year.
 

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Value depends on how you would use the Starpoints. Out-of-ordinary use (going first class on an airplane when you would go economy or going to a Cat 5-7 resort or hotel when you would go to a CAT 2-4 more often) gives a higher monetary value, but is it valuable to you?

Cost is a different concept than value. 80,000 Starpoints normally can be purchased from Starwood for 3.5 cents per Starpoint or $2,800. Annually Starwood holds a sale for 20% off or 2.8 cents per Starpoint with a limit on the amount that can be purchased.

A 148,100 StarOption week can usually be converted to 72,000 Starpoints (more and without any conversion fee if you have 4 or 5 Star Elite status).

A 148,100 week in Maui converted to 72,000 Starpoints would cost about the same as purchasing the Starpoints without a sale. A 148,100 week at Lagunamar (MF about $1,280) can be converted to 72,000 Starpoints at a cost per Starpoint less than you would be paying - even with the price of your offer ($1,550 for 80,000 Starpoints).

Be advised. If you are purchasing from the developer and really want to do that (rather than rescind), you should be able to get 4-6 times the amount of reduced price Starpoints you have been offered. ... eom
Yes, we got the right for (4)80k points for $1550 when purchasing at Riverfront.
 

Tfleming675

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YYJMSP, ... "Add me to the list"

Why in the TUG world would you want to be on any list with me on it? ROFL!

Your support has emboldened me to add another example.

In 2010 and again in 2011, I converted StarOptions and transferred out even more Starpoints. In 2010, USAIR was giving a 100% (2 for 1) miles bonus for every Starpoint transferred; in 2011 only a 50% bonus.

In 2010 I purchased 3 business class round trip tickets to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines for an equivalent cost of Starwood Lagunamar MF of about $1,500 for each ticket. The usual price for a business class round trip ticket to Istanbul is around $6K-$7K (depending on the time of year). We went in Summer. It worked so well I did the same thing as a 50th anniversary gift for a couple we are friends with this September. They loved the 11 hour flight in business class to Instanbul and raved about how fresh and relaxed they felt after the long flights. And, instead of costing me around $12K, it only cost me about $4K to be that nice to 2 very good friends. That type of savings makes sense to me and the savings takes some of the sting out of the developer pricing I paid for my 3 Langunamar weeks. The rest of what I own was purchased resale in the secondary market and retroed when I purchased or upgraded those 3 developer Lagunamar weeks.

I have 400K unspent air miles in USAIR dividend miles from unspent transfers from Starwood. And, I still have 500K unspent Starpoints from conversions and developer purchases. Plus, I have 6 unused options for 80,000 Starpoints which I can buy for $1,550 for each option and which do not expire until the end of next year.

It makes financial sense to me. ... eom
I totally agree with you as well. Good use of the system.
 

pointsjunkie

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i also agree with you. those starpoints are a very valuable commodity as well as all the FF miles. when used carefully you get a great return on the $.
 

tomandrobin

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Add us to the list.

I have never converted a unit to staroptions, but I use staroptions frequently for airfare.

A few years ago, we got an even better deal of Southwest Flights, then what Jarta described above.
 
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