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ALERT: Possibly your LAST CHANCE at 75,000 AMEX Points! Click here to read why!.

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

HOT!!! HUGE!! Marriott SPG Merger Great For Airline Point Transfers, Including SWA and United!!

You may have heard in the news back on Friday, that Marriott & SPG's merger is totally a reality.  THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POST TO READ!!

The chain will be called Marriott Hotels in the future with 1 point system, as of 2018.
Until then, here's the good and the bad:
Good:

  • If you have United Gold status, that would give you Marriott Gold, but now, will also get you SPG Gold--and Gold allows for upgrades for hotel stays on the day of arrival, and with some properties, for good reasons (large family, need a larger unit) in advance on point stays--that's been my Marriott experience--not with SPG but that's due to a lack of experience with them
  • Totally transferrable points back and forth between the two systems after merging your accounts, as mentioned, at 3 to 1 with SPG being the more valuable point system so that if you need more points for a stay at a Marriott property and you have some SPG points (or vice-versa), you can switch them to have enough for a stay.  Click here to be redirected to link your two accounts from SPG.  Click here to be redirected to link your two accounts from Marriott.
  • You can switch from AMEX points to SPG (at a 1:2 ratio-eww) but then triple them to Marriott! So, 50K AMEX points=25K SPG=75K Marriott!  Now, Marriott properties differ in number of points for a stay from 5K (a low end hotel) to 70K for a crazy "Tier 5" Ritz Carlton-type experience so for 10K per night, for example, you can get a decent long-term stay property with a full kitchen (some TownePlace Suites), and as with both chains, the 5th night (paid with cash OR points) is free.  Those suites (as with Residence Inn Suites) all come with a full kitchen, many with a pool and free breakfast.
  • The higher status carries in both chains so if you're platinum with Marriott, you're now platinum with SPG and IF you were SPG Platinum, you're not only Marriott Platinum now, but with Marriott Platinum comes United Silver status, which means a free piece of checked-in luggage on any Star Alliance flight!
  • If you apply for an AMEX SPG card, you'll get TRIPLE the value in the Marriott chain!  Click here for the latest AMEX SPG offers.  Click here for the quickest way to get AMEX Membership reward welcome bonus points
  • If you already have an SPG AMEX card in Canada, you're getting 1 SPG point per dollar, but that means you're getting the equivalent of 3 Marriott points for every dollar you spend!  That means the Chase Canada Marriott is good for the welcome bonus of 50K (with the available link) but not for actual spending on the card--at triple the value, use the SPG AMEX card (though it's of course not as accepted as the Chase one as the Chase one is a Visa)
  • While switching from SPG to United was an option, it was a bad one with a poor ratio, but now, if you switch your points from SPG to Marriott at triple the value, you can switch them from Marriott to an airline, such as United, even with a bonus, PLUS 7 free nights at Marriott properties using a superior program Marriott offers called Marriott's Miles and Nights. For example, if you wish to switch your points to United, switch 90K Starwood points to Marriott, worth 270K Marriott points, and get 132K United miles (AND a week at a Marriott, category 1-5 FREE)--as you may know United never charges fuel surcharges so if you are looking for a flight on Air Canada to another continent, say, YYZ-Tel Aviv, that would be a direct AC flight, you'd normally pay at least $650 for the return flight per person, but if you flew with United miles on AC, you'd pay no fuel surcharge--of course, the question always is if there's availability--and that can be sketchy.  Go on the United website to see if there's availability fo the flight of your choice on different dates first before going through with such a transfer.  For 270K Marriott points, the switch is worth 7 free nights at any category 1-5 property, meaning you're not only getting 132K valuable United points, you're also getting the value of between 30K to 150K Marriott points depending on the category number you stay at (each category, starting at category 1 is 5K, increasing by 5K point increments per category number, including Tier 1 which is another way of saying category 10, and so on. If you have even more Marriott points, you can stay in higher category hotels for your 7 night stay. See below, from the Marriott website:

 Hotel + Air Package:
Enjoy more miles from RewardsPlus from Marriott Rewards® and United MileagePlus®.
You’ll receive 10% more MileagePlus miles when you redeem for a Marriott Rewards Hotel + Air Package, up to 12,000 more miles. Your bonus miles are shown below. Discover all the advantages of RewardsPlus.
7 Nights + 55,000 Miles7 Nights + 77,000 Miles7 Nights + 110,000 Miles7 Nights + 132,000 Miles
Category 1-5200,000 | View220,000 | View250,000 | View270,000 | View
Category 6230,000 | View250,000 | View280,000 | View300,000 | View
Category 7260,000 | View280,000 | View310,000 | View330,000 | View
Category 8290,000 | View310,000 | View340,000 | View360,000 | View
Category 9320,000 | View340,000 | View370,000 | View390,000 | View
Tier 1-3350,000 | View370,000 | View400,000 | View420,000 | View
Tier 4-5470,000 | View490,000 | View520,000 | View540,000 | View
But an even SWEETER idea for those who fly within the US, including out of BUF, is to switch your points to South West Airlines.  They have direct flights from BUF to Fort Lauderdale, for example, and switching 270K Marriott points to SWA will get you 120K SWA Rapid Reward points, which is a great way to get SWA Companion Pass status (need to earn 110K in a year to get it), good for the rest of this year and all of next year, meaning, you'll get 120K SWA points, worth between $1800-$2400USD, PLUS 7 nights at a category 1-5 (or higher if you pay more Marriott points for the transfer) AND--and this is why this is a better deal than the United one for those who would fly SWA, a free ticket for a companion every time you fly SWA--and if SWA continues to count hotel point transfers towards companion pass status, through to January 1, 2017 (I'm hoping so), and NOT pull the carpet out from under us with no notice, then the companion status will last until December 31, 2018!!  That's a LOT of free flights!  And if you can rake enough points in for you AND your wife, you can BOTH have the companion pass status and can both fly another person for free--that's  FOUR tickets for the price of two!!  See the Marriott to SWA chart below:

Hotel + Air Package 3:

7 Nights + 50,000 Rapid Reward Points7 Nights + 70,000 Rapid Reward Points7 Nights + 100,000 Rapid Reward Points7 Nights + 120,000 Rapid Reward Points
Category 1-5200,000 | View220,000 | View250,000 | View270,000 | View
Category 6230,000 | View250,000 | View280,000 | View300,000 | View
Category 7260,000 | View280,000 | View310,000 | View330,000 | View
Category 8290,000 | View310,000 | View340,000 | View360,000 | View
Category 9320,000 | View340,000 | View370,000 | View390,000 | View
Tier 1-3350,000 | View370,000 | View400,000 | View420,000 | View
Tier 4-5470,000 | View490,000 | View520,000 | View540,000 | View
Participating Airlines: Southwest Airlines
The Bad:
  • As mentioned earlier, will SWA stop accepting hotel point transfers from Marriott towards Companion Pass status before Jan. 1, 2017?  Jury is out on it...
  • You CANNOT use a free certificate stay with one chain for another--so if you get the 7 nights free stay with the Marriott to an airline switch, or just get a free certificate with a Marriott Chase Visa card, as well as on every anniversary, it can ONLY be used at a Marriott property (and same with SPG free nights that can only be used at SPG properties)
  • If you lost your platinum status with Marriott for not staying 75 nights in the previous year (including 15 non-earned nights with a Chase Visa Marriott), you could pay 60K Marriott points to get it back--only really worth it for the United Silver status.  If you lost your gold status with Marriott, Marriott would offer for you to get it back for around 30K points, now only 10K SPG transferred points to keep gold with Marriott, but will this offer continue with the new merger?

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