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My Marriott/SPG Points Strategy & The One Thing You Need to Do Today Before It’s TOO LATE!

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Marriott SPG Points Strategy
Courtyard by Marriott Marathon Key

Marriott SPG Points Strategy

The final combination of the Marriott Rewards/Ritz Carlton Rewards/Starwood Preferred Guest programs is coming on August 1. A ton of digital ink has been spilled talking about the merger and strategies for gaining elite status, etc. but it’s probably a little too late for that. With that said, there is something that you can possibly do to benefit yourself before the changes come.

Marriott has been quiet about how they will treat free night certificates in the new program since they don’t map over 100% from old to new. As it stands they have a fairly generous Flight & Hotel package program which will not be so generous under the new program. Some people are trying to lock in certs now with the hope they will increase in value.

Frequent Miler has covered this in great detail including today where Greg theorizes that these certs will be exchanged for their maximum value in points. That would be great news and I am also hoping/betting on this to happen. So here has been my strategy.

Points Earning Strategy

Marriott SPG Points Strategy

My wife and I both have the SPG personal and business cards so we have ramped up our spending in order to earn Starpoints. Right now 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott points, but after the switchover this card will only earn 2X Marriott on everyday spend. Basically, its earnings are cut by a third. This was enough to get me to spend on it now while I can.

Combine Points

SPG allows family members whose address has been the same for the past 30 days to transfer points between accounts. Since my wife and I have both been earning Starpoints in our respective accounts, we now need to put those points together so they can be used for good. We had to wait for our recent SPG card statements to cut so we could get our points and now it is time to combine them.

Fortunately SPG makes transferring points fairly easy via this online page. As I said before the address needs to have been the same on both accounts for 30 days. If that is the case, simply visit that link while logged in and you can setup the transfer. But you NEED TO DO IT NOW!

Marriott SPG Points Strategy

Don’t Wait

The reason I am writing this today is because Starwood gives themselves 5 business days to process this transfer request. I am assuming they are getting more than normal as well so that could cause additional delays. Assuming you don’t count today as a business day, then you should have your transfer processed by the 30th. That is cutting it close but makes it all still possible.

Using My Points

As I hinted in the beginning, my new larger combined Starwood balance will be transferred to my Marriott Rewards account x 3 and I will then use those points to book a travel package. At worst I have a cert I need to use by next year, but at best I’ll receive a decent value for my cert in the form of points and I’ll top off my Alaska Airlines balance in the process as well.


While we don’t know how travel certs are going to be treated, let’s hope it all turns out well. Either way, if you are planning on combining/transferring Starpoints between accounts I wouldn’t wait much longer. The time is ticking.

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Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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    • Copying & pasting from Shawn’s post (above), in case you missed it …

      At worst I have a cert I need to use by next year, but at best I’ll receive a decent value for my cert in the form of points and I’ll top off my Alaska Airlines balance in the process as well.

  1. Hi Shawn,

    I realize your post addresses combining points, but I am sitting on the ready with several hundred thousand MRs & since you brought up timing issues (thanks!), am I ok to redeem early on 7.31.18 for a TP (hoping for best info possible to maximize my redemption)?

  2. Marriott also allows points to be transferred between family members, so why the hurry to transfer SPG points now? Did I miss something?

    • Unless their policy has changed, in my experience Marriott has limited points transfers to 50,000 per year, unless it is for a specific redemption at that time.

      • The policy is the same but if you are redeeming a travel package Marriott can pull the points from the account of your spouse. The possible problem with waiting to transfer through SPG is if you purchased points this year. SPG has a limit on how many purchased points can be in any single account, therefore, you may not be able to transfer all points from one spouse to another and it may take them up to 5 days to tell you. I transferred all SPG points to Marriott for both mine and my husband’s accounts last week and then called Marriott and asked them to redeem multiple travel packages under one account (with the higher status) and to take the points from both. All this was done in one hour.

  3. SPG is basically dead as of August. Going down from 3 Marriott points to 2 Marriot points per regular dollar spend with the SPG card is laughably bad when you have 2% no fee cashback cards, chase freedom unlimited which gives you 1.5 UR points per regular dollar of spending, and AMEX business card that gives you 2 MRs per regular dollar spend.

    Not only that but Marriott hotel / air packages which were one of the best redemptions have been completed devalued.

    Lastly, Amex platinum cardholders no longer get any sort of meaningful status with Marriott so there goes that. I didn’t expect it to last forever but it is still very disappointing.

    Stick a fork in SPG / Marriott rewards, its time to move on to greener pastures. It was good while it lasted.

  4. Yikes. Thanks for the prompt to make the Starwood points transfer today. I was under the impression the transfer was nearly immediate and wasn’t going to do it until the end of the week after I used a little more time to figure out which airline to go with for the miles. I owe you one for this. (What “one” is shall be determined later.)

  5. Early this morning, wishing to transfer SPG points to my husband’s account, I could not find the page to do so and thus called SPG where a CSR said that the transfer could not be done online because she first needed to verify both my account and my husband’s. (Yes, with those silly “what was your first pet” type of questions). This made no sense, but I wasn’t going to waste time arguing with her, as time is of the essence. I had her make the transfer, and hopefully it will show up in time. Hope your link helps others avoid such problems.


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