The first steps in the Starwood-Marriott merger were taken last week, when reciprocal benefits were announced for members for both programs. This was a positive step, with generous elite status matches and a 1:3 transfer ratio for SPG: Marriott transfers. Marriott is trying to win over Starwood members, while allowing Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members to enjoy some added benefits. These benefits include SPG status matches and the ability to transfer their points to SPG. Though at a less favorable ratio. There is tremendous value in the SPG to Marriott point transfers, which is why you should stock up on SPG points and transfer them to Marriott Rewards.
Category SPG Points Per Night Transfer to Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Marriott Points Per Night Transfer to SPG Ritz-Carlton Points Per Night Transfer to SPG
1 2,000 - 3,000 SPG points 6,000 - 9,000 Marriott/Ritz Carlton points 6,000 - 7,000 2,000 - 2,333 SPG points 20,000 - 30,000 Ritz Carlton points 6,667 - 10,000 SPG points
2 3,000 - 4,000 9,000 - 12,000 7,500 - 10,000 2,500 - 3,333 30,000 - 40,00 10,000 - 13,333
3 7,000 21,000 10,000 - 15,000 3,333 - 5,000 40,000 - 50,000 13,333 - 16,667
4 10,000 30,000 15,000 - 20,000 5,000 - 6,667 50,000 - 60,000 16,667 - 20,000
5 12,000 - 16,000 36,000 - 48,000 20,000 - 25,000 6,667 - 8,333 60,000 - 70,000 20,000 - 23,333
6 20,000 - 25,000 60,000 - 75,000 25,000 - 30,000 8,333 - 10,000 - -
7 30,000 - 35,000 90,000 - 105,000 30,000 - 35,000 10,000 - 11,666 - -
8 - - 35,000 - 40,000 11,666 - 13,333 - -
9 - - 40,000 - 45,000 13,333 - 15,000 - -
SPG points transfer to Marriott and Ritz-Carlton at a 1:3 ratio. With the similarity in award redemption rates, Starwood members can redeem points for higher category hotel awards at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels. For example, say you’ve got 20,000 Starwood points in your account. You can redeem them for a free night at a Category 6 Starwood hotel, which is just one tier shy of a top-category award. Meanwhile, transferring 20,000 SPG points to Marriott or Ritz-Carlton would get you 60,000 points. That’s enough for two nights at a Tier 1 – 2 Ritz-Carlton hotel or a Category 6 – 7 Marriott hotel.
I know what you’re thinking: Why trade in a second to top-tier Starwood award for a low category Ritz-Carlton stay? Because a low category Ritz-Carlton hotel is still comparable to most top-tier Starwood properties. The real value is in transferring points to Marriott Rewards, which would get you enough points for two nights at a third-to-top tier hotel. With Marriott’s expansive portfolio, there are way more hotels to choose from around the world.
In my brief research, I’ve found Marriott sometimes offers better room types on award stays than most other hotel chains. While Starwood makes suites available for higher redemption rates, some Marriott hotels offer premium rooms on standard award bookings. For example, at the Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Marriott Rewards members can book a 1,722 sqft 2-bedroom suite with 2.5 bathrooms, a living room, kitchen and dining area for 40,000 points per night.
I’ve seen countless Marriott resorts where standard award nights get you a premium room. Starwood has lots of amazing properties in their Category 6 portfolio. However, most of them are out of reach and require an insane number of points. The Mystique Resort in Santorini, for example, requires a 60,000 SPG points for an award night. Meanwhile, the Domes Noruz Resort in neighboring Chania requires 45,000 points per night for a room with a private plunge pool. In fact, transferring those 60,000 SPG points to Marriott would not only enable you to book a premium room, but you’d be able to book five nights instead of one.
Explore Marriott’s portfolio and you may find some great redemption options. Especially with the 1:3 ratio for SPG to Marriott transfers. You’ll finally be able to put your hard-earned SPG points to use at top-tier resorts, something that has been very difficult to do within the Starwood Preferred Guest program.
The generous 1:3 transfer ratio for SPG to Marriott transfers also translates to some incredible savings on Marriott Hotel + Air packages, a topic I will cover extensively in tomorrow’s post.
Are you planning on transferring your Starwood points to Marriott anytime soon? Which Marriott hotels do you look forward to booking with your points?
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