Tips to Harness the Combined Power of SPG and Marriott Points

Sep 23, 2016

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressStarwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

One of the best values within both the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards programs are their award packages that combine receiving hotel award nights and airline miles for a set points price. SPG calls them Nights and Flights and Marriott calls them Hotel + Air packages, but they both fall under the same concept and are both very lucrative deals.

The toughest thing about redeeming for one of those packages is usually coming up with enough points to pull the trigger, but since you can now move points from SPG to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, these packages might just have come to within an easier reach for many of us. Here are some tips on harnessing the combined power of SPG and Marriott to achieve some redemptions that you may have previously written off as impossible.

 

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages and Southwest Companion Pass

Marriott Hotel + Air Packages start at 200,000 Marriott points for 7 nights in a Category 1-5 Marriott property + 25,000 – 55,000 airline miles, depending on the airline selected. You do not have to use the airline miles and the hotel nights at the same time or for the same trip.

Some people like to use these packages to target the Southwest Companion Pass as the miles transferred into Southwest via redeeming one of the Marriott packages have historically counted towards the 110,000 Southwest points needed in a calendar year to earn the pass. For 250,000 Marriott points you can redeem for a package that includes 7 nights in a Category 1-5 property and 100,000 Southwest points. Of course you need 110,000 to earn the Companion Pass, but 100,000 would get you most of the way there so I’ll use that number for some examples in this post. Of course you can also redeem more Marriott points for a higher level hotel category package or for more airline miles – you can view all of the options here.

marriott-hotel-and-air-package-jpg

SPG Nights and Flights Packages

If a SPG Nights and Flights package is your goal, you can now harness how easy Marriott Rewards points are to earn both through co-branded cards like the 80,000 point personal and business Marriott Credit Cards and even Chase Ultimate Rewards and cards like the 100,000 point Chase Sapphire Reserve, to get you to the needed 60,000 or 70,000 SPG points for their two Nights and Flights packages.

spg-nights-and-flights-packages-jpg

With SPG, the Nights and Flights packages are only available for Category 3 and Category 4 SPG hotels for stays of five nights in length.

Five award nights at a Category 3 property + 50,000 airline miles = 60,000 SPG points

Five award nights at a Category 4 property + 50,000 airline miles = 70,000 SPG points

My go-to example of the Category 4 SPG Nights and Flights package for an iconic family trip is often the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort because with just 70,000 SPG points you can get 50,000 airline miles and five nights at the Dolphin, which is a screaming deal in my book.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

Again, the hardest part of this deal is often just getting to the magic 70,000 SPG point threshold, but now there are lots of additional ways to do that thanks to the ability to transfer Marriott points to SPG at a 3:1 ratio.

Combining Marriott and SPG Points

With the ability to transfer points between SPG and Marriott, you now have lots of additional ways to come up with the magic number of points required for all of the packages mentioned above. In addition to the obvious option of simply moving your SPG and Marriott points back and forth, you also need to think about all the other points that can now come into play. For example, Chase Ultimate Reward points transfer 1:1 to Marriott, so they by extension now transfer 3:1 to SPG. That’s not a great ratio, but it will have some value in getting you to the number you want to be at.

Also remember that SPG allows you to combine an unlimited number of points with a household member at the same address for free. Marriott allows you to send/receive up to 50,000 points to any other Marriott Rewards member each year for $10, and that fee is waived for Gold and Platinum members. The rules also state that Marriott Rewards members who are transferring points in order to satisfy a specific award may exceed the 50,000 limit up to the amount needed to satisfy the reservation. In other words, think beyond just your own accounts and think about brining your spouse/family/household member’s accounts into the equation as well (with their permission, of course).

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass Using SPG Points

Let’s assume you have no better way to get the Southwest Companion Pass (as for some reason you can’t get the Southwest credit cards at 50k sign-up bonus each), and you want to target a Marriott Rewards Nights and Flights package to get 100,000 of the 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points needed for the Companion Pass. You could look to get the 250,000 Marriott Rewards points package and that will give you 100,000 Southwest points + a week at a Category 5 Marriott property.

If you were starting from virtually zero SPG points, then between you and a household member, you would need to get three 25k sign-up bonuses from a mix of business and personal SPG cards to total 75,000 SPG points. Including the points earned from the spending on the SPG cards to trigger the sign-up bonuses, you would probably clear the 83,333 SPG points needed to convert at a 1:3 ratio to have the 250,000 Marriott Rewards points needed for that Hotel and Air package. Of course if you are starting with some SPG and/or Marriott points, then the number you need to earn goes down.

renaissance-curaco-resort
Category 5 Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino

Are the either the SPG Nights and Flights or the Marriott Hotel and Air packages now on your radar given the possibilities that have opened up for combining points thanks to the merger?

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