Marriott and Starwood Merger Complete – Begin Transferring Points

Marriott and Starwood Merger Complete – Begin Transferring Points

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Yesterday I wrote about the changes to the American Express SPG cards – specifically, their sign-up bonuses went from 25,000 Starpoints to 2 free night certificates for any category 1 – 5. This is definitely an inferior offer, and considering how things went today with the announcement Starwood-Marriott merger, I think it makes more sense why AMEX did this.

Today Starwood stopped publicly trading and is officially part of Marriott Worldwide. That brings the Marriott-Starwood family to 5,500+ hotels in over 110 countries and over 30 hotel brands.

While there are still a lot of things that need to happen, now that the merger is complete, we did get some answers to the questions related to points conversions and elite status reciprocity.

Marriott <–> Starwood Conversation Ratios

Starwood points will transfer to Marriott points at 1:3 and Marriott will transfer to Starwood 3:1.

marriott to spg conversion
Marriott to Starwood Conversion Ratio

All things considered, this is a really fair and respectable conversion – probably something most SPG loyalists were surprised by. If you look specifically at credit card sign-ups (before AMEX changed the SPG sign-up bonuses)

  • 25,000 Starwood Points is now 75,000 Marriott Points
  • 80,000 Marriott points (the standard credit card sign-up) can be converted to Starwood for a total of 26,667.

That brings them to relative parity.

Elite Status

We will not get into elite status too much, except where it’s relevant to credit card holders – after all, if you want to be a travel hacker, being hotel brand agnostic when using points is really the only way to go…

The Marriott Premier personal and business cards from Chase both offer Silver status – the lowest level of Marriott loyalty status. The SPG personal and business cards offer basically the same thing status-wise.

Where it gets interesting is with the American Express Platinum card and the Ritz Carlton Visa Infinite card from Chase.

Take a look at the reciprocity of elite status and matching:

status matches
The key is the mid-level (Gold) status

The American Express Platinum card offers SPG Gold status; whereas the Ritz Carlton card offers Gold Elite status to members after spending $10,000 in a year (the $5,000 for the sign-up offer goes towards that).

That means if you have the AMEX Platinum card, you can then get Gold Elite at Marriott and Ritz. And if you have the Ritz card, you can get Gold at Starwood properties. The Marriott/Ritz Gold Elite is a pretty solid option that includes breakfast and lounge access. You can view the Gold Elite status benefits here.

Rewards Packages: Marriott Flights & Hotels Package

What are Marriott Flights & Hotels packages?

Essentially, you can redeem a large amount of Marriott points – starting at 200,000 for 7 nights at a category 1 – 5 Marriott property AND earn airline miles with their airline partners. There are different tiers, partners, amount of nights at various category levels, but that’s the basics.


Marriott hotel + air
Not pictured – United MileagePlus

Hotel + Air Package 3 is one of the more interesting options because of its participating Airline, Southwest Airlines. Why is that so great?

If you transfer 270,000 Marriott points as part of this package, you’ll earn:

  • 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
  • 7 Nights at a Category 1 – 5 Marriott property

But 270,000 Marriott points is a lot!

With the new Starwood to Marriott conversion, you’d only need 90,000 SPG points. 

Sure that sounds awesome – you know what’s even more awesome? The Southwest Companion Pass. Yup. These 120,000 points will count towards the Companion Pass.

As an aside, you may want to hold off doing this transfer and package until after January 1, 2017 so that your Companion Pass will be good for all of 2017 AND 2018 – the Companion Pass is valid for the year in which it was earned and the following year.

There are a bunch of other options and I recommend, if you have the points for this promotion, to take a look at the full terms and conditions and host of participating airline partners. You can view the full promotion here.

Sharing Points

Remember, Marriott allows you to share up to 50,000 points a year with another member each calendar year. Not only can this help if you want to transfer to SPG, but it can help with consolidating points for a Flights & Hotels package.

As for SPG, you can also transfer points between members who have been registered at the same household for 30 consecutive days.

Credit Card Rules & Links

It’s a bummer that AMEX changed the sign-up bonus (we’ll see what happens in October when that 2 certificate night offer is set to expire), but if you have SPG points, there are some good hotels to be had. Remember, these offers are once-per-lifetime.

Starwood Personal Card Link – Old sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in three months. Annual fee waived the first year.

Unfortunately the Chase Marriott card is affected by their ‘5/24′ restriction, however the Marriott Business card is not affected and can help boost your points balances for whatever promotion or hotel you’re looking to stay at.

Chase Marriott Premier Card Link – 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 in three months; annual fee is $85. Add an authorized user to earn an additional 7,500 points.

Chase Marriott Business Card Link – This card is not affected by Chase’s restrictions. Spend $3,000 in three months and earn 80,000 Marriott points. Annual fee is $99.

Bottom Line

You can already link your accounts at this site by Marriott and began sharing points back and forth between accounts. Points should post within a few hours of the transfer.

There’s lots more to discuss and cover, but go ahead and link your Marriott and SPG accounts to take advantage of any elite status you have.

-The Miner

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