SPG and Marriott Merger means Status Match and 3:1 points transfers!
Last week SPG and Marriott merged into one huge hotel company. Although there are plenty of future unknowns regarding the merger and what that will mean specifically for SPG points right now you can merge your SPG and Marriott accounts to increase immediate flexibility and status.
Bottom line this means that members of Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards can link their accounts, and can receive instant status matches. It also means that members can transfer points between Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards; the transfer ratio is one Starpoint per three Rewards points. As a note, you can only have EITHER a Marriott or a Ritz Carlton reward account…not both.
How to merge your reward accounts
It’s really easy to link your Marriott or Ritz Carlton, and SPG accounts.
First, go to http://members.marriott.com. You will see a welcome page like this:
In the upper right hand corner, simply click the “Link Account” button. It doesn’t matter at this point which program you are a member of.
Next you will have a choice of 3 buttons. If you are a member of only 1 of the 3 programs, choose that program. If you are a member of more than 1, you can choose either of those programs (since you can’t be a member of both Marriott and Ritz Carlton).
Once you click on one of the three options you will end up at that particular home page and you will be asked to log in:
The rest of the process if very easy and self-explanatory. It will take you less than 5 minutes and then your accounts will be linked.
Why do you want to link your accounts?
The best reason to match your accounts is to get an instantaneous status match. Right now status is matched as follows:
I had Marriott Gold status, but was only an SPG Preferred. After the match, I am Gold in each program. This is great as now I will be more likely to stay in SPG properties and enjoy the extra amenities and bonuses.
The other great reason to link your accounts is the ability to transfer points back and forth. Marriott/Ritz Reward points transfer to SPG Starpoints at a rate of 3 Reward Points to 1 SPG point. You can transfer points as often as you’d like, so your points don’t lose any value once you transfer them, since you can always transfer them back to the other program.
The ability to transfer points back and forth really maximizes flexibility and opens up some new options for people who want to maximize value. Look for some of these ideas in a future post!
Short on points in either program?
The easiest and quickest way to get SPG Starpoints is by signing up for the personal or business versions of the American Express SPG branded card. The personal cards is currently offering a 25,000 point sign up bonus after spending $3,000 in 3 months–the annual fee is waived the first year on this card, and then is $95 each subsequent year you hold the card.
Click here to apply: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/starwood-preferred-guest/
The easiest and the quickest way to earn Marriott points is through the Chase Marriott card. This card is currently offering an 80,000 point sign up bonus. The annual fee is not waived the first year, but you also get a free-night certificate in addition to the points after spending $3,000 in 3 months.
Click here to apply: https://creditcards.chase.com/credit-cards/marriott-premier
Now is the time to get the SPG cards since there is no way to be certain how much longer these cards will be around. As Marriott continues to merge the loyalty programs, eventually Starpoints as we know them will go away.
I personally have both of these cards, and I plan on continuing to hold them for the foreseeable future. Additionally, I am seriously considering applying for the SPG Business card if AmEx offers a good point bonus within the next couple of months.
The Marriott and SPG Merger
There are still a lot of unknowns on what will eventually happen between the 2 programs. SPG Starpoints are one of the most valuable mileage currencies out there because of the ability to transfer them to so many partner programs and really extract huge value. Marriott rewards points are not transferrable at all, and can only be used within the Marriott program.
My personal strategy is to continue to build my SPG point balance, and not worry about my Marriott balance. If at any point in the future I want to transfer SPG points to Marriott I know I can. In the meanwhile, I want to have the ability to transfer my points to other partners to meet my travel goals.
Of course, linking my accounts is a no-brainer, is easy to do, and will allow you the maximum flexibility in the months to come.