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
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.
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!
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.