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With the launch of the new unified Marriott/SPG/Ritz-Carlton program just around the corner in August, we’ve been keeping a close eye on developments, detailing the pros, cons and other ways the new program will affect your points and miles plans.
It seems our readers have been thinking about it a lot as well. TPG Lounge member Rick L. recently posed this question to the rest of the group:
“So what are you doing with your SPG points prior to the August 1 Marriott changeover? I think I’m much more likely to use them for a flight next year than hotel stays, so considering moving 40,000 out to take advantage of the bonus.”
As always, there were a variety of answers — a poll Rick created also revealed that 143 TPG readers would keep their SPG points and see what happens next, while 15 said they’d rather book a high-end hotel stay for a discount and another 15 said they’d prefer to switch their points over to a partner airline instead. Here’s a closer look at what some of our readers had to say about it. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
Keeping Those SPG Points Close
It seems the majority of TPG Lounge members want to keep a close eye on their SPG points, and aren’t going to let this changeover get in the way of their loyalty to the brand…
“No need to do anything. There are no changes happening to SPG points, in fact they might increase in value due to more airlines been added and higher category hotels being bookable. So don’t just use them because of the merger in August.” — Leo M.
“I converted to SPG in May of last year and am kicking myself that I didn’t do so earlier. I get suite upgrades for the vast majority of my stays — I’m typing this from a corner suite right now — and the platinum recognition is generally very good to excellent!” — Alex T.
Booking a High-End Hotel Stay
For others, the temptation to cash in those precious points for an epic hotel stay proved to be too great — but hey, we won’t judge.
“I used mine to book a couple of vacation hotel stays for after the categories get updated. I’ll adjust the redemptions if the amount of points required goes down.” — Matthew Z.
“[I’m] considering moving to Marriott and getting the Hotel + Air package. Not only would my points get converted to air miles, I’d also get seven nights in a hotel.” — Michael K.
Transferring Them to a Partner Airline
Another popular option is to switch SPG points over to one of more than 150 airline partners, including Alaska Airlines, United, American Airlines, Delta and Cathay Pacific, among others.
“I moved them to United and I am taking a trip to Toronto.” — Christoph T.
“I don’t have many points left, just over 3,000. I moved some points over to American Airlines a while ago to ensure I had enough for two round-trip economy saver tickets to Europe. I burned through most last summer, using points for the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel and The Westin Dublin. It was well worth it, too.” — Soroya G.
“[I’ve] been moving a lot over to Alaska since there are some new sweet spots in AS award pricing and the transfer bonus makes them one of the most valuable airline transfer partners, in my opinion. I just picked up round-trip tickets for 15,000 to Honolulu (HNL) on AS and booked a round-trip on Cathay Pacific in business at a very good redemption rate. Alaska just changed its award chart, increasing transcon but adjusting other legs to be much cheaper. With the free stopovers, it’s still the best value, I think, compared to the big three, and I have top status on Delta and Alaska.” — Jason C.
“I moved most of mine to Marriott, then used the Great Deal to redeem them for United miles. 115,000 Marriott points = 50,000 United miles. One SPG point = three Marriott points. So, it’s equivalent to 50,000 United miles for 38,000 SPG points.” — Ken S.
Readers Helping Readers
We love it when our readers get so involved in a topic they end up helping each other, chiming in and answering the questions of other TPG Lounge members.
“What’s the concern? The rush? Is there a worry that the [SPG] points will be devalued in the new program?” — David A.
“The concern was that the 5,000 bonus for transferring 20,000 was going away, but I just found an article on TPG that said it would stick around for 60,000 Marriott points, so it’s basically the same.” — Rick L.
“So, is the limit to transfer 60,000 SPG points while getting the bonus? In other words, if I have 120,000 SPG points, should I make a transfer of 60,000 now and then auto-transfer the other 60,000 on August 1?” — Derek G.
“The bonus carries over after August 1, so no rush to make the change now.” — Rick L.
“Can someone explain to me how on earth using SPG points as a transfer to airlines is a good deal? Most airline miles barely translate 1:1 cent. SPG points translate to 1:2.7 cents if used for hotels.” — Jared B.C.
“If you are getting outsized value when redeeming miles for flights, then you can come out way ahead here. For example, you can sometimes fly LAX to SYD [Los Angeles to Sydney] or BNE [Brisbane] in Virgin Australia business class for 90,000 Delta SkyMiles. This is a ticket that could cost $4,000 in cash sometimes so you are getting 4.44 cents per mile of value. Even better, if you transfer SPG points to Delta, you get the bonus of 5,000 miles for transferring 20,000 so for 75,000 SPG points, you get 90,000 Delta Skymiles and essentially 5.33 cents per SPG point of value.” — Matthew S.
“But it’s way easier just to earn airline miles than SPG points. Hence why they are so valuable.” — Jared C.
“I think cards have advanced past old opinions giving more 3x and 2x points options. SPG is a good backup for what might be 1x points anywhere else as the transfer bonus means you’re getting slightly more than 1x when transferring at the required amount (1.25x currently), e.g. retail spend if you’re not a big churner or not actively chasing a bonus. SPG is still useful [in terms of] flexibility, initial sign-up bonus and transferring to airlines that are harder to get (e.g. American, unless you fly them) but it’s hard to not consider alternative airlines available with 3x spend on a Citi or Chase card or increasingly, whether 2x on airline specific cards could be enough to meet your needs.” — Anthony T.
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