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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey.
August 1 is getting closer, and you know what that means… Marriott and SPG loyalty program integration time! On that day the combined loyalty program will take effect, and with it new award charts, points-earning and more.
We’ve already addressed the often-asked question of whether or not you should transfer your Amex points to SPG before the merger, but a reader wants to know about transferring in Chase Ultimate Rewards points to SPG via Marriott:
If I intend to use my Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring to SPG, should I do that before August 1 so they are tripled or is there going to be a new 1:3 transfer rate?TPG Reader Pete
Well first off, we should clarify that SPG is not a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. But Marriott Rewards is, so you can transfer your Chase points to the program at a 1:1 ratio. From there you can transfer Marriott points to SPG at a 3:1 ratio, an option Marriott made available in 2016 when the two hotel chains began their merger.
But with the combined program launching on August 1, what happens to what points? SPG Starpoints will be converted into the new Marriott Rewards program (which is still unnamed) at 1:3 ratio, and your balance of Marriott points will remain untouched. So when the new program begins, the points in your SPG account will be multiplied by three. If you have 5,000 SPG points in your account on July 31, when you wake the next day you’ll have 15,000 of whatever Marriott decides to call its new point currency.
So, as with the case of transferring your Amex points to SPG, Pete would essentially be moving his Ultimate Reward points to Marriott’s program at 1:1 ratio — he’d be making up for the “loss” of the 2 points when transferring to SPG since he’ll gain 2 more again when the new program begins.
Math aside, to decide if it’s worth it, there are a few questions Pete needs to ask himself. Does he want to transfer his points to the new Marriott program? Keep in mind we don’t know much about which hotels are going to fall into which categories of the new award chart — so it could make sense to wait until more information is available.
On the other hand, maybe Pete wants to redeem his points for one of the sweet spots in SPG’s or Marriott’s current programs. If so, it could make sense to transfer them now and take advantage before the two programs as we know currently know them end.
Finally, if Pete was thinking about taking advantage of SPG’s airline transfer partners, he should save his Chase points for something else. As with Amex and the ability to transfer Membership Rewards points to SPG, it makes much more sense for him to directly transfer his Chase points to one of its airline partners like Korean or British Airways, since he’d be losing nearly 50% of his miles by going through Starwood (or the new Marriott program). Fortunately, airline transfer partners and transfer ratios for both the Marriott and SPG programs will essentially remain the same in the new Marriott program, although earning Marriott points through everyday co-brand credit card spend will be harder.
The bottom line is that it in most cases it only makes sense to transfer your Chase points to SPG or Marriott before August 1 if you have a specific redemption in mind on one of the two programs’ old award charts. Thanks for the question, Pete, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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