As covered by virtually everyone with an internet connection this week, Marriott announced official plans to unify the two Starwood (SPG) and Marriott brands under one loyalty program. Other than some upper tier elite status quirks, the program merger was better than anyone could’ve expected and leaves in place the things people love most about the points programs. I’ve been laughing every day since the announcement, because there are a few things which somehow still remain under the radar. Here’s why I’m scavenging for SPG points through August…
Come August 1st, Top SPG Hotels will require 60,000 Marriott Points through the end of 2018. This is in stark contrast to the current rates charged by SPG, and when your SPG points convert 1:3 into the new Marriott program, you’ll save 40%. A hotel that would’ve required 30,000 or even 35,000 Starwood points will now be cheaper. If you have 35,000 Starwood points, the maximum cost for a night in the SPG program, they will convert to 105,000 Marriott points in August. Again, the max hotel cost for the rest of the year will be 60,000, so you’re saving up to 45,000 points per night in the end.
#2 Marriott Culinary, Concert & Sports Moments Are Incredible
I must admit – I just don’t get it. Marriott Moments offer value for your points far beyond any traditional hotel stay. For example, a night at a five star hotel in Dubai, with two (1) hour massages, a private cooking lesson with a Michelin starred chef, exclusive dinner from the Michelin starred chef with drinks, breakfast, airport transfers and more just went for 7,000 SPG points. Not per person – but total! Well, it went for 20,000 Marriott points, but you get the idea. You can still instantly convert SPG points into Marriott points to take advantage of these offers. Many of them are absurdly cool and can be found in the US, Europe, Asia and beyond…
#3 Points Are 35% Off On Sale – Last Time?
Without naming names, some people have been luring people into panic for about a year now, over the “last time” to buy SPG points at 35% off. Eye roll implied. With that said, it’s now really possible that this will be the last 35% off SPG Points sale. The sale is now live, and is an instantly brilliant way to save on a future hotel stay or take advantage of a culinary experience. Buying just 20,000 points for $455 would hedge cost against any hotel in the Marriott portfolio from August to 2019. With the move to no blackout dates, the points will also be easier to use.
We’ve written extensively about how SPG points are not just about staying in hotels. They’re the most valuable points of any currency, including credit card points and can convert 1:1 or better into airline miles. Buying 20,000 points would create 25,000 airline miles with more than 35 airlines, including the most sought after loyalty programs. 40,000 SPG points really can unlock Lufthansa First Class between the US and Europe – which is insanely good value.
#5 New Offers, Limited Chances
Marriott will soon launch new credit cards. Amex will apparently still continue to offer SPG cards as well. These rich, new bonuses will give keen Marriott Rewards fans and travelers lots of opportunity to earn points for their every day spending. If you’re a Marriott and SPG loyalist, it may make sense to open both cards for the bonuses and enjoy a big chunk of points in the newly combined program come May. We’ve seen Marriott card offers as high as 100,000 points and if Starwood brings back another large bonus, you could instantly double it!