New Marriott Rewards and SPG transfer rates and what it means for the SPG, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton cards

Posted on September 25, 2016 by in Marriott Rewards Points, Starwood Hotels

Marriott Rewards and SPG

What are the new Marriott Rewards and SPG transfer rates?

Now that Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts are merging, Starwood Preferred Guest members can transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio (or Marriott Rewards to Starpoints at a 3:1 ratio). We explored the current SPG, Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit cards offers to see how the new transfer rate might affect their value now…

The Marriott Rewards, SPG and Ritz-Carlton cards…

  1. Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
  2. Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
  3. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  4. Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  5. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card

Marriott Rewards and SPG

1.The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card gives you 80,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of cardmembership and an additional 7,500 bonus points if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months. You also get a Category 1-5 free night every year after your account anniversary, pay no foreign transaction fees, your points never expire if you make a purchase on your credit card every 2 years and you can get on the fast track to Marriott Rewards elite status. The annual fee is $85 (not waived), but the free night makes up for this. Note that the 5/24 Chase rule applies to this card.

With this card you earn 5x points at more than 4,000 Marriott properties, 2x points on airline tickets that you buy directly from airlines, car hire agencies or restaurants and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Once you’ve reached your minimum spend and added an authorized user, you’ll have at least 90,500 Marriott Rewards, which would only be worth a third of that in SPG points, and the earning rates with this card are quite low, so we found no hidden value here. 

Marriott Rewards and SPG

2.The Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card is offering 80,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Cardmembers can enjoy a free night in a Category 1-5 every year after your account anniversary, get free employee cards and pay no foreign transaction fees. The Path to Gold benefit means you can now earn Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status when you spend $50,000 on purchases annually. The annual fee of $99 is not waived with this offer, but the Chase 5/24 rule doesn’t apply to this card.

With this card, you earn 5x at more than 4,000 participating Marriotts, 2x at restaurants, at car rental agencies, on airline tickets that you purchase directly with the airline, at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Again, if you transfer your Marriott Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest at the 3:1 rate, you’ll only end up with a third of that in SPG points. Plus this card doesn’t offer bonus anniversary points unfortunately. 

Marriott Rewards and SPG

3.The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express currently offers 25,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months and there’s no annual fee to pay for the first year (then it’s $95). Cardmembers pay no foreign transaction fees, get free Boingo WiFi, credit towards elite status and free in-room internet for stays booked on SPG.com.

With this card, you earn up to 5x on participating SPG hotels (2 Starpoints as a cardmember and 2 or 3 Starpoints as an SPG member) and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

There’s also an offer around for this card that gives you 2 free nights instead of 25,000 points.

You could transfer your 25,000 points to get 75,000 Marriott Rewards, which you wouldn’t be able to do if you applied for the same card that has the offer of 2 free nights. You could also indirectly earn 3x Marriott Rewards with SPG partners including Delta, Emirates and Uber.

Marriott Rewards and SPG

4.The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express gives business owners 2 free nights at more than 1,200 worldwide hotels and resorts when you spend $5,000 in 3 months and has similar benefits to the personal card. You can also can redeem Starpoints for free flights on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates and get free access to the Sheraton Club Lounge. The annual fee is waived for this card for the first year and then it’s $95.

With this card, you earn up to 5x on participating SPG hotels (2 Starpoints as a cardmember and 2 or 3 Starpoints as an SPG member) and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

There’s also an offer around for this card that gives you 25,000 points instead of 2 free nights.

You can’t transfer the 2 free nights to get 3x Marriott Rewards, but if you can find the offer of 25,000 points, you could turn that into 75,000 Marriott Rewards. You could also indirectly earn 3x Marriott Rewards with SPG partners including Delta, Emirates and Uber

Marriott Rewards and SPG

5.The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card offers three free night e-certificates for participating Ritz-Carlton Tier 1-4 properties when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. You also earn 10,000 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months. The annual fee is a whopping $450 (not waived), but the card gives you a whole host of benefits, including:

  • $300 annual travel credit for airline purchases such as baggage fees and seat upgrades
  • $100 hotel credit, which can be used for dining, spa or other hotel activities when you pay for a stay of two nights or more
  • $100 airline credit when you book a qualifying airline itinerary

The Chase 5/24 rule doesn’t apply to this card.

With this card, you earn 5x points on Ritz-Carlton or partner hotel stays, 2x points on travel and at restaurants and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

You can’t transfer the free night credits to SPG and the earning rates on this card are fairly low considering the 3:1 transfer rate, so we found no hidden value here.

What else do I need to know about the Marriott Rewards and SPG merger?

You can read more about any sweet spots that have appeared since the merger here.