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If you haven’t yet heard, there’s some big news in the credit card points world this week.
Last year, Marriott and Starwood completed their merger and have been releasing details about how to share points from one company to the other.
As always, there are some great ways to use your points and then there are some not so great ways to use those points. Transferring points from one company to another can open new doors and new opportunities for using your points. Don’t have Marriott or Starwood points? That’s ok, we’re going to talk about the benefits of transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Rewards and to Starpoints with SPG.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Let’s start off with the basics. You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points through spending on the Chase Freedom, Chase Ink Business, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the much discussed and celebrated, Chase Sapphire Reserve. Points can be redeemed in three ways, cash back, purchasing travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, and transferring to airline partners. If you’re an Ink Plus, Sapphire Preferred, or Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you’ll receive a 20 percent discount on your purchases through the travel portal, making your points worth 1.25 cents each. That means that a $200 flight would only cost you 16,000 points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be transferred to numerous travel partners, including United Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest, Hyatt, and Marriott, to name a few. Prior to this merger, there would have been no way, that is no way that’s worth it, to exchange your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for Starpoints in the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.
Connecting Your Accounts
If you do have both a Marriott and Starwood rewards accounts, the first step is to connect the two accounts. If your accounts have not yet been connected, you won’t be able to move your points from one to the other. You can start at either website, for connecting your accounts. Once your accounts are connected you should see a link to begin transferring your points. Points must be moved in increments of 1,000. Another benefit of connecting your accounts is that your rewards status will transfer from one account to the other. For example, if you’re a Platinum Elite member with Marriott, you’ll receive the equivalent Platinum status with SPG.
Once your accounts are connected, move as many points as you’d like to whichever account you’d like. And here’s where it gets fun, you get to decide where your points are the most valuable to you. Each rewards program has its benefits and you’ve got to decide what’s the best way for you to spend your points.
Moving the Points
If your final goal is to move your Chase Ultimate Rewards to Starwood, you’ll have to move those points through Marriott as there’s no way to move your Ultimate Rewards points directly to SPG, that isn’t going to cost you money. Now, whether or not it’s a good idea to transfer to SPG, we’ll get into later.
If you’ve decided to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards with either Marriott or SPG, the transfer is a simple process. Log-in to the Ultimate Rewards portal with Chase and then go to the Use Points tab and select Transfer to Travel Partners. This will take you to a screen where you can select to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Rewards. Transferring of points to these travel partners is 1 to 1. One of the biggest benefits, and the reason so many people love Ultimate Rewards, is the instantaneous transfer of points. Sadly, Marriott is one of only a few of Chase’s travel partners that does not instantly transfer your points. Your points, which must be transferred in increments of 1000, can take up to 2 days to show up in your Marriott account.
Do note, that this transfer is final and cannot be refunded. Be sure you want to transfer your points before clicking that button. Once you’ve transferred your points from Ultimate Rewards to Marriott Rewards points, it’s easy to transfer them to SPG Starpoints from the Marriott Rewards home page. This transfer should happen immediately so you’ll see the new points in your SPG account almost instantaneously.
So, Is it Worth it?
Ultimate Rewards to Marriott
Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable that I would be careful transferring them to Marriott for transfers to Starwood. Obviously the 3:1 Marriott transfer to SPG hurts the value of your Ultimate Rewards points. Using Ultimate Rewards points for international premium cabin flight makes more sense to me.
Marriott to Starpoints
On the surface, transferring Marriott Rewards to Starpoints looks like it’s always great, because SPG is so valuable. But some SPG deals don’t have as much value. When you start to move your points, a window will pop up showing you that 3 Marriott points transfer to 1 Starpoint. Each Marriott Reward point is worth .7 cents, making 3 worth 2.1 cents total. Each Starpoint is worth 2.5 cents, giving you a gain of .4 cents for every 3 points you transfer from Marriott Rewards to Starpoints. But remember, not every SPG deal will give you as high a value for your points as you might get with Marriott Rewards. As always, it’s important to know what you want and shop around a little before redeeming your points.
One instance where transferring your Marriott Rewards to Starpoints would give you good valuation is for reward nights at low-tier hotels. The rates for staying at a tier 1 or 2 hotel may not be that different between Marriott and SPG, but the hotel options are much more unique and hip with SPG. Just take a look at Aloft Bangkok, Le Meridien Angkor, and Four Points by Sheraton in Los Angeles. By converting your Marriott Rewards to Starpoints, you’re getting to stay in great hotels for fewer points.
Another reason to transfer your Marriott Rewards to Starpoints is for airline transfers. You can transfer Marriott Rewards directly into miles and airline travel, but you’re going to get very low valuation. With Starpoints, you can find some great airline deals. SPG now partners with 36 different airlines, which give you a transfer rate of 1 point to 1 mile, a fantastic value.
The merger of Marriott and SPG can be very exciting for those of you who’ve been collecting points with one company or the other because it gives the opportunity to access more ways to use your points and in some instances get a higher valuation for your points. It’s time to get creative when moving your points around.
For the first time, you can now get Starpoints from SPG with your Chase Ultimate Rewards, you just have to first move them to Marriott Rewards, so make sure you have a specific SPG redemption in mind first. Anytime you decide to use reward points, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting a good deal when moving your points from one place to another, and there are lots of great deals to be had when using Starpoints with SPG.
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