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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.  Today’s post focuses on 4 reasons you might want to transfer SPG points to Marriott, and we’ll follow that up tomorrow with reasons you might want to transfer SPG points to Marriott

How to link your Marriott and Starwood accounts

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

marriott-spg-link-accounts

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

marriott-gold-status

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 Starwood

Reason #1: The “backdoor” companion pass

One of the unique advantages of the Marriott program is the ability to do Hotel and Air packages, where you can transfer your Marriott points to a variety of airlines.  You get a 1:1 transfer ratio to the airlines AND a 5 or 7 night stay at a Marriott.

Here’s a look at the chart for the 7 night stay though there are also 5 night packages available

marriott-southwest-transfer

This is one way to transfer points to Southwest Airlines to get the Southwest Companion Pass by transferring 90,000 SPG points to Marriott which would then get you a 7 night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel as well as 120,000 Southwest points (enough for a companion pass).

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

Reason #2 to transfer SPG points: Transferring to United miles

While Starwood points are known for transferring to many different airlines, United is NOT want one of those

(SEE ALSO: 3 SPG transfer partners you do NOT want to use!)

The transfer ratio is 1:2, meaning it takes 2 SPG points to get 1 United Airlines MileagePlus mile, which is NOT a ratio I’d advise doing.  But now, because United has a relationship with Marriott, you can go from SPG to United (via Marriott) at about 1 SPG: 1.32 United miles

  • 19,000 SPG points to Marriott at 1:3
  • 57,000 Marriott points – then use 56,000 Marriott points to United miles
  • 25,000 United miles

Reason #3: Marriott status buyback

Marriott also offers a status buyback program, where you can pay points to keep your elite status, if you fail to qualify in a given year

  • Buy back your Platinum status – only 40,000 points
  • Buy back your Gold status – only 25,000 points
  • Buy back your Silver status – only 7,500 points

If you missed out on Platinum status, you can buy it back for only 13,333 SPG points (transferred to Marriott at 1:3)

Reason #4: Transferring points to other household members

Both Marriott and Starwood allow you to transfer points freely to your spouse or domestic partner, but Starwood also allows transfers to anyone in the same household (as long as the addresses have been the same for at least 30 days).  So if you want to transfer your Marriott points to someone in the same household (but not your spouse), you can do it by way of Starwood

  • Person 1: Transfers points to SPG
  • Person 1: Transfers points to Person 2
  • Person 2: Transfers SPG points back to Person 1

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

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