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 the 1:3 transfer ratio for SPG to Marriott Rewards transfers. Marriott appears to be trying to win over Starwood members while allowing Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards members to enjoy some added benefits in the form of SPG status matches and the ability to transfer their points to SPG, though at a less favorable ratio. There is tremendous value to be found in these point transfers, which is why you might want to 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, this means Starwood members can trade in their 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, which is enough for two nights at a Tier 1 – 2 Ritz-Carlton hotel or two nights at a Category 6 – 7 Marriott property.
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 in this case 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 (they have four times as many hotels as Starwood), there are way more hotels to choose from around the world.
In the brief research I’ve done on Marriott Rewards, I’ve found they sometimes offer better room types on award stays than most other hotel chains do. 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 resorts where standard award nights come with a better room types than you’d get with other hotel chains. Starwood has lots of amazing properties in their Category 6 portfolio, but 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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