Starwood Starpoints are, in my humble opinion, the pound-for-pound best loyalty currency on the planet. You may disagree, but for me there’s nothing better. If you have a boatload of Starpoints, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to unload them on SPG properties. There might be a better way to maximize.
For those of you that are already experts on this topic, which I suspect many of you are, this one is for our new folks just breaking into it!
Starpoints transfer to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, meaning for every 1 Starpoint you have, you will get 3 Marriott Rewards points.
One thing that many people fail to consider when booking hotels is that they don’t always have to use Starpoints. You are able to easily transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards for a better deal, if it exists.
Let me show you what I mean.
This July I’ll be visiting Italy and on the return portion of my trip I need a hotel for one night in Rome. I have 45,000 Starpoints to play with. Here’s what I found:
As you can see, the cheapest hotel I could get in the center of Rome costs 25,000 Starpoints for one night.
Instead, I searched Marriott to see what those rates were currently running:
Here you have two beautiful hotels in the heart of Rome for 45,000 Marriott Rewards for the night, which when divided by three, equates to 15,000 Starpoints.
As such, using this method, I’m able to save 10,000 Starpoints by leveraging the 1:3 transfer ratio and using it to my advantage.
August 2018 SPG/Marriott Program Merger
It’s no secret that Marriott Rewards and the SPG loyalty program will be merging, which is now due to take effect in August 2018. When this happens, all of your SPG Starpoints will convert 1-to-3 to Marriott Rewards and hotels will be rearranged into an eight (8) category list (category 8 arriving in 2019).
As of right now, we still don’t know which properties will get which category, but we can expect to hear more about this sometime in June. Unfortunately, due to this uncertainty, it’s difficult to say for sure whether you should convert your points now and book or whether you can afford to wait it out. The reason for the hesitation is that a Category 9 Marriott property like the one above which comes with a cost of 45,000 points may convert into a Category 7 or 8 under the new program and be assigned a cost of 60K or 85K points, respectively. Thus, you lose some of your Starpoint leverage post-merger.
For example, if the Category 9 property in Rome moves to a Category 7 in the new program, the cost will be 60,000 Marriott Rewards. If you have 20,000 Starpoints today and transfer to Marriott to book the Palazzo Naiadi, you’ll only have to spend 15,000 Starpoints and be left with 5,000 leftover (which will automatically convert to 15,000 Marriott Rewards in August).
If you wait until August, your 20,000 Starpoints will convert automatically to 60,000 Marriott Rewards and the Palazzo Naiadi could perhaps change to 60,000 points per night. Thus, you have nothing left after you redeem.
Eh, I’m probably just rambling. I thought about this in bed last night (yeah, exciting life). What are your thoughts? I’m assuming if you have any set plans after August you might benefit from taking a look at redemption options right now, especially if it’s a higher end property you’re thinking about booking.
Hopefully I’m making myself clear with this. I’d love to hear your comments!