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The big news that broke over the weekend was the fact that the Marriott and Starwood merger has finally closed, and you can link your Marriott and Starwood accounts, and transfer your points between the 2 programs.  After months of speculation, the transfer ratio has been announced and it’s a (very SPG-friendly) 1:3 ratio, so 1 SPG point can become 3 Marriott points, and vice versa.

I thought I’d take a look at what opportunities this might open up, but of course that is very situational.  Yeterday we talked about 4 reasons you might want to transfer SPG points to Marriott, so today we are focusing on reasons you might want to transfer Marriott points to the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program.

How to link your Marriott and Starwood accounts

First off – it’s fairly painless to link accounts by going to http://members.marriott.com

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Click on the Link Accounts button and after logging in to both systems, your accounts will be linked.  You’ll also be alerted in any change to your status.  In my case, my SPG Gold status (from the Amex Platinum card) upgraded me to Marriott Gold

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So, now that we have our accounts linked, let’s look at the 4 reasons you might want to transfer some of your Marriott points to SPG

Reason #1: Airline transfers

The big reason to transfer Marriott points to SPG is to take advantage of the SPG airline transfer functionality.  As a reminder, 20,000 SPG points will transfer 1:1 to many airlines, with a 20% bonus.

60,000 Marriott points -> 20,000 SPG points -> 25,000 airline miles

Yesterday, we mentioned that if you want to end up with United Airlines miles, you’ll want to transfer the other direction (READ MORE: 3 SPG transfer partners you do NOT want to use), but for just about any other airline that SPG transfers to you’ll want to transfer Marriott points to SPG.

Transferring from Marriott directly to the airlines would cost 70,000 or even 140,000 Marriott points to get 25,000 airline miles

Reason #2: SPG Nights and Flights

Marriott and SPG both have the concept of airline / hotel travel combos.  We covered Marriott’s reward packages in yesterday’s post, but the SPG Nights and Flights program is also one that can be advantageous

(SEE ALSO: SPG Nights and Flights – unlocking amazing value)

I’ve written about SPG Nights and Flights in more detail before (see link above), but the basic idea is you can get a discount for a 5 night stay at a Category 3 or Category 4 SPG hotel plus airline miles.  Of course it all depends on where you want to go and what hotel you want to stay at, so if an SPG hotel works for you, you’ll want to transfer your points from Marriott to SPG

Reason #3: SPG Moments

Many different hotels and airlines have special deals on experiences, and while most of them I’ve found to be less than great value, the one that has (situational) value is SPG Moments.

Currently there are packages that allow you to use your SPG points to bid on (or outright buy) MLB playoff tickets as well as special on-field MLB experiences that you can’t buy elsewhere

Reason #4: SPG Cash and Points

Marriott does have the concept of a Cash and Points room as well, but most people I know prefer the SPG program better, especially at lower categories

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You can also use SPG Cash and Points to book directly into upgraded rooms or suites, which is not available with Marriott’s version.  I know sometimes you can get upgraded at the hotel (depending on your status), but being able to directly confirm that at the time of booking would be one reason to book the hotel with your SPG points.

What do you think?  Any other good tricks or reasons to transfer Marriott points to Starwood?  Leave your best tips in the comments

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