Marriott announced some pretty significant changes that will unify Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest come August, 2018. We have an in-depth guide about all the changes, what the implications might be, and any potential opportunities to take advantage in the interim.
Buy SPG Points for 35% Off
For now though, the different loyalty programs remain independent.
SPG today announced a new promotion for points purchases. At 35% off, this is one of the best discounts SPG has offered on points purchases. You will essentially be buying SPG points at 2.275 cents a piece.
Since SPG points transfer to Marriott points in a 3:1 ratio, this is also the equivalent of buying Marriott points at 0.76 cents a piece.
Marriott Hotel + Air Travel Packages
Of course, you can convert your SPG point into many airline miles in a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 mile bonus every 20,000 SPG points you transfer. We also already know this option will continue to exist under the new program.
However, Marriott actually offers an even more compelling option in many cases: the Hotel + Air travel packages.
You can mix and match the number of miles you want to get, as well as the type (category) of hotel you want to stay at. However, crunching the number, and you will notice that maxing out the number of miles will get you the best value.
For 270,000 Marriott points (or 90,000 SPG points), you can redeem a 7-night certificate at a Category 1 – 5 hotel, as well as 120,000 miles from a selected number of airlines. If United is your airline of choice, you will even get a 10% bonus, yielding a total of 132,000 miles from this redemption.
Meanwhile, you will notice that 90,000 SPG points only get you at most 112,500 airline miles, even factoring in the bonus 25%.
The bottom line: if you have 90,000 SPG points or 270,000 Marriott points, Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages offer a better transfer ratio than SPG (for some airlines), even if you throw the 7-night certificate away.
Should You Buy SPG Points At 2.275 Cents Each?
I have written before about the value of SPG points, and their point currency remains one of the best of all the hotel programs, especially if you are consider the Hotel + Air packages.
However, with the upcoming unification of Marriott and SPG’s programs, there are some other considerations.
On one hand, the new award chart tops out at 70,000 Marriott points (or 23,333 SPG points), at least through the end of 2018. But starting August 2018, Marriott will be aligning the hotel categories across all programs. This means there is a potential window to book SPG hotels that are previously far more expensive.
On the other hand, with the new award chart and program changes, there are still many uncertainties. As some readers pointed out, Marriott has not announced the full “price list” of hotels under the new award chart, and they could very well be devaluing points this way in the process.
I will reiterate that I generally don’t recommending buying points speculatively, though this is one of the best deals on SPG points. I know there are folks that take advantage of SPG points sales to boost their balance or as a way to “buy” various airline miles. If that’s you, do keep in mind this may very well be the last time we see a sale on points, especially since Marriott historically hasn’t be very keen on offering discounts on Marriott points…maybe ever.
This promotion runs through May 31, 2018, so there is more than a month left to take advantage. I would personally wait until later in May, perhaps once Marriott releases the list of “selected hotels and categories” they promised. This should give us a better sense of what the redemption landscape would look like under the combined program.
Keep in mind, SPG allows members to buy up to 30,000 points per calendar year. But you can transfer between household members (must have the same address for at least 30 days), so you might be able to put together enough points for a redemption this way.