Should You Only Use The SPG Card at Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG Properties Going Forward?

by Enoch

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Since the merger between Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Marriott, the two chains have added reciprocal elite benefits. Members have also been able to transfer points between the two programs

Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG have now added reciprocal bonus categories, when you use any of their co-branded credit cards at any of their properties. 

  • If you have a Marriott Rewards card or a Ritz Carlton card from Chase, you will now earn 5 Marriott points per dollar spent at SPG properties.
  • If you have a SPG Card from American Express, you will now earn 2 Starpoints per dollar spent at Marriott and Ritz Carlton properties.
Earn 5 Marriott or Ritz Carlton points per dollar spent at the St. Regis, a SPG property, with your Marriott/Ritz-Carlton card

Earn 5 Marriott or Ritz Carlton points per dollar spent at the St. Regis, a SPG property, with your Marriott/Ritz-Carlton card

While the earnings are reciprocal, they are most definitely not equal. This is because the SPG Card is now basically the decisive winner across all spend categories. Here is a table that shows you how many Marriott points (or equivalent) you’d earn with each of the card. I threw in the Chase Sapphire Reserve as a comparison, but keep in mind the Ultimate Rewards points are much more flexible; they just happen to transfer to Marriott points 1:1.

SPG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton Restaurants, Car Rentals, and Airfares Everyday Purchases
SPG Card 6 3 3
Marriott Card 5 2 1
Ritz-Carlton Card 5.5 2.2 1.1
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3 3 1
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. Photo by Ritz-Carlton.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. Photo by Ritz-Carlton.

Does this mean you should just use your SPG cards at all Marriott , Ritz-Carlton, and SPG properties? Well, there might be other considerations that will prompt you to use other cards. Here are some of them.

The Marriott Card (offer expired)offers 1 elite-qualifying night credit for every $3,000 spent on the card. This means you could theoretically spend $105,000 on the card to get Gold status, or $180,000 to get Platinum status. But that doesn’t really makes sense to do, unless you’re slight short on stays. If that amount is all day-to-day spend, think about whether you are willing to pay the opportunity cost of earning more points in order to earn status. If that amount is spent on Marriott properties, you probably already have status.

The Ritz-Carlton Card (offer expired) offers Gold Elite status for the first year, and you can maintain it by spending $10,000 on the card. You can also get and maintain Platinum status if you spend $75,000 on the card per year. The card also offers a 10% annual bonus on points earned throughout the year. The same argument I made for Marriott card applies here.

The Citi Prestige offer 3 ThankYou points per dollar with hotel purchases, and you may value 3 ThankYou points way more than any of the above. Keep in mind the Citi Prestige also gives you the 4th night free, and that alone might trump all other points earning potentials.

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar with hotel purchases, and you can also cover hotel spendings with your annual $300 travel credit. UR points can be tremendously flexible and valuable, and personally I value 3 UR points over 2 Starpoints. However, if your end goal is only earning Marriott points, I would recommend against the Sapphire Reserve.

Ultimately, I think the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (card and offer expired) is the ultimate winner for all spend, if you are only concerned about earning Starpoints or Marriott points. It has the highest earning rates regardless of categories. However, if you value flexible currencies or other elite benefits, there are plenty of reasons to consider other cards.

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.


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mddcflyer October 19, 2016 - 9:29 am

Don’t forget the Ritz Card offers 10% annual bonus on every point earned.

Enoch October 19, 2016 - 10:24 am

Indeed! Updated the post to provide a fuller picture. Thanks!

Chris October 19, 2016 - 10:23 am

I currently use my Chase Marriott card for most spending where Amex is not accepted, and my Delta Reserve for Amex spend to improve my Delta status. With the SPG/Marriott merge I will continue, but the SPG will become my main card after I meet my Delta goals for the year.

Lee August 20, 2017 - 4:25 pm

Does the SPG credit card earn bonus point for spend at Ritz-Carlton and/or Marriott restaurants when one is not staying at the hotel property?


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