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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Credit Card from American Express

“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey.

Not all credit card rewards are made the same, and that’s just as true for our northern neighbors in Canada. TPG reader Patrick wants to know what the transfer ratio looks like from the Canadian version of The Platinum Card® from American Express to the new combined Marriott/SPG rewards program

Currently have the SPG Amex. Should also specify I’m in Canada. Does the Platinum Card transfer points to SPG/Marriott 1:1 or more? Trying to see if it’s worth the switch.

TPG Reader Patrick

Canadian Amex cards have a different earning structure along with different transfer ratios for their version of the Membership Rewards program. So now that Marriott and SPG have officially unified their rewards programs, what’s the new transfer ratio for Canadians?

According to Points Nerd, a Canadian points and miles blog, before the new integrated Marriott program was launched, the old Starwood Preferred Guest program allowed you to convert Amex MR points to SPG at a 2:1 ratio. Those SPG points could then be converted into Marriott points at 1:3 ratio, so a transfer through both steps under the old terms would have looked like this…

1,000 MR —> 500 SPG —> 1,500 Marriott

However, now that the new ratio has been implemented, Canadian Amex Membership Rewards points convert directly to Marriott points at a 1 to 1.2 ratio. That means a transfer will appear this way…

1,000 MR —> 1,200 Marriott

As Points Nerd points out, that’s effectively a 20% devaluation of the Amex to Marriott transfer ratio. The Canadian Amex SPG card earns 2 Marriott points per dollar on everyday spend, while Canada’s Amex Platinum card earns 1.25 Membership Rewards points per dollar. If Patrick is focused on earning Marriott points, then he’s better off sticking to the SPG Amex since the Platinum would effectively earn 1.5 SPG points for every Canadian dollar spent.

What about US Amex cardholders? What’s their new transfer ratio? Before the merger, Membership Rewards-earning cardholders could convert MR points into SPG points at a 3:1 ratio, and then SPG points into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio. To turn US Amex points into Marriott would look like this…

1,000 MR —> 333 SPG —> 999 Marriott

Effectively, you were transferring points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio — you just had to go through SPG first. Now 1,000 Membership Rewards points convert directly into 1,000 Marriott points, so there’s no devaluation for US cardmembers, just a simpler transfer.

A screenshot from Amex’s transfer ratio page.

You can earn Amex Membership Rewards with these cards:

But is it a good idea to transfer Amex points to Marriott points? Well, TPG doesn’t have a valuation for Canadian Membership Rewards, but when it comes to US cardmembers, he values Membership Rewards at 1.9 cents apiece, but Marriott points at only 0.9 cents each. So you’d be losing more than half the value of your Amex points by transferring them to Marriott.

Still, if you’re a Marriott regular, it could be worth getting certain certain Amex cards anyway. That’s because the Amex Platinum card comes with complimentary Gold elite status in the new Marriott program, which includes benefits like late checkout and room upgrades. The new Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card also earns Gold elite status, and you can spend your way to Platinum status after $75,000 is charged to the card in a calendar year. In total, TPG values Gold Elite perks at $725 a year.

Thanks for the question, Patrick, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by The Points Guy staff.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at Marriott and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,200 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
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  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.