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The best ways to unlock Starwood Marriott point transfer and matches

by on Fri September 23, 2016 • 9 Comments
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Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are officially coming together, and the first change is that you can now transfer points back and forth between your Marriott and Starwood accounts anytime, with no limits or fees. And if you have status with Marriott Rewards or Starwood it will be matched.

All you have to do is link your accounts here to enable transfer and automatically match any status you’re eligible for.

  • There’s a 3:1 conversion rate. 1 Starwood point gets you 3 Marriott points. And 3 Marriott points gets you 1 Starwood point. You can transfer in increments of 1,000 points, and transfer back and forth anytime if you change your mind.
  • Status is matched evenly. Gold gets Gold in both programs, Platinum gets Platinum, and Silver in Marriott gets Preferred Guest Plus in Starwood, which is its equivalent of Silver.

But once you’ve done that, you’re ready to take advantage of the golden window of this merger, with all kinds of other great things you can now do thanks to the transfer and match options. It’s only a matter of time before Marriott or Starwood try to change the price of rewards, so if you have Starwood points there’s never been a better time to start taking advantage of them while the transfers flow freely.

Get Ritz Carltons for Westin point prices

Starwood is legendary for charging fewer points than most other hotel programs for hotel nights. But with 1 Starwood point getting you 3 Marriott Rewards points, many Marriott Rewards hotels become an even bigger bargain with points than the Starwood hotels you’re used to. That’s because many Marriott Rewards hotels don’t cost 3x as many points as comparable Starwood hotels.

For example, in Maui, the Westin resort will set you back 20,000 Starwood points a night…

westinmaui

But you can get the Wailea Beach Marriott for 40,000 Marriott points, which only costs 14,000 Starwood points when you transfer.

marriottmaui

Or, you can turn the same 20,000 Starwood points into 60,000 Marriott points and upgrade yourself to the Ritz Carlton.

ritzmaui

This is probably the most exciting part of this change, and you can learn more about Marriott Rewards redemptions in our guide here.

All but the highest end tier 5 Ritz Carlton hotels are available for 20,000 Starwood points or less when you convert them to Marriott at the 3x rate. And many Marriott hotels are available for less than 10,000 Starwood points a night when you convert to Marriott Rewards.

Hotel CategoryMarriott priceStarwood points needed
17,5003,000
210,0004,000
315,0005,000
420,0007,000
525,0009,000
630,00010,000
735,00012,000
840,00014,000
945,00015,000
Ritz - 130,00010,000
Ritz - 240,00014,000
Ritz - 350,00017,000
Ritz - 460,00020,000
Ritz - 570,00024,000

So if you’re thinking about booking a Starwood hotel with points, make sure you check a site like HotelHustle.com that lists prices in points for both Marriott and Starwood to see if there is a similar Marriott hotel that costs less when you take advantage of the 3x transfer rate.

You’ll get a chance to sample some fantastic Marriott properties for fewer points than you’d pay for a similar Starwood hotel. Take advantage of them before Marriott decides to redefine categories and raise award prices.

And remember at both Starwood and Marriott, your 5th night is free when you use points to pay for 4 nights.

marriottview

Upgrade Marriott rooms for 1,700 Starwood points

Marriott lets you upgrade both cash and rewards bookings for just 4,000 points a night, and that works out to 1,700 Starwood points transferred over to Marriott. An upgraded room like one with a better view, or a small suite would often cost about $30 – $50 extra a night, so getting that for just 1,7000 points is a great deal for very few points.

 

Unlock new airline mile transfer options

Starwood has lots of 1:1 airline transfer partners, but a weak spot has been United and Southwest. Now that you can turn 1 Starwood point into 3 Marriott points there are some great options with Southwest and United.

southwestplane

Earn up to 1.3 Southwest points per Starwood point

It’s been years since you could transfer Starwood points into Southwest points, but now that you can turn 1 Starwood point into 3 Marriott points, you can then transfer from Marriott to Southwest. If you transfer at least 10,000 Starwood points at a time you’ll get a 1:1 ratio or better when you transfer from Marriott to Southwest.

Starwood points= Marriott points= Southwest pointsTransfer ratio
Miles only
10,00030,00010,0001.0
24,00070,00025,0001.0
47,000140,00050,0001.1
Air + Hotel - Get 7 nights in a Category 1-5 plus the miles
84,000250,000100,0001.2
90,000270,000120,0001.3

Earn Southwest Companion Pass for 90,000 Starwood points

Marriott also has special Air and Hotel packages. These turn your Marriott points into airline miles at the most favorable ratio, and give you certificates that let you book 7 nights at a Marriott hotel. If you transfer 90,000 points via a Marriott Air and Hotel package you’ll get 120,000 Southwest points, which is a great 1.3x transfer rate. That’s more than the 110,000 points you need to earn Companion Pass each year, and you get to keep the 120,000 Southwest points and use them for free flights. To get the most out of this, do the transfer in early January and you’ll get Companion Pass for almost all of 2017 and 2018.

unitedairlinesplane

Earn up to 1.5 United miles per Starwood point

If you transfer at least 10,000 Starwood points at a time to Marriott, and then from Marriott to United, you’ll get an even 1:1 ratio or better to United miles, which unlocks a lot of travel opportunities with United, Star Alliance and more. Plus, if you take advantage of an Air and Hotel package, you can get 1.5x United miles per Starwood point by transferring 90,000 Starwood points into 270,000 Marriott Rewards points. Then, turn the Marriott points into 132,000 United miles. You also get 7 nights at any Marriott Category 1 – 5 hotel, and you don’t have to use those hotel nights at the same time as your flight.

Starwood points= Marriott points= United milesTransfer ratio
Miles only
10,00030,00010,0001.0
24,00070,00025,0001.0
47,000140,00050,0001.1
Air + Hotel - Get 7 nights in a Category 1-5 Marriott plus the miles
74,000220,00077,0001.0
84,000250,000110,0001.3
90,000270,000132,0001.5

Get more from credit card spending

Now that Starwood points and status convert freely to Marriott points and status, you can take advantage of ways to earn even more points from your spending, and status without meeting hotel stay requirements.

Earn 3 Marriott points per dollar via credit card spending

starwoodbusiness170The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express earns one point per dollar on just about everything you spend. And since 1 Starwood point turns into 3 Marriott points anytime, you can be earning 3 Marriott points per dollar on just about everything when you use the Starwood Amex.

That beats the Marriott Rewards Premier card that earns just 2x points at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and car rental agencies, and just 1 point per dollar on regular spending. You can also get 6x Marriott points per dollar when you use a Starwood Amex for Starwood stays.

But you’ll want to keep using your Marriott Rewards Premier for Marriott purchases, because it earns an unmatched 5 points per dollar on Marriott purchases.

Earn Starwood Platinum status with a credit card

If you can manage to put $75,000 a year on a Ritz Carlton Rewards Card, you can earn Marriott Platinum status, which in turn gets you Starwood Platinum status, though not including the suite upgrade certificates offered to Platinums who stay 75 nights or more.

Get extra status and perks

PriestmanGoode-United-Airlines-First-Class-1

Get United Premier Silver status from Starwood Platinum

With Marriott and United’s Rewards Plus, Marriott Platinum level elites get free United MileagePlus Premier Silver status, which gets you free Economy Plus seating within 24 hours of departure and on the waitlist for upgrades. So after you match your Starwood Platinum status to Marriott Platinum, head here to match that to United Silver status.

Get Delta priority perks from Marriott Platinum

Starwood Platinums get priority boarding, priority checkin, a chance at upgrades, and a first free checked bag when flying Delta via the Crossover Rewards program. So when you match your Marriott Platinum to Starwood Platinum, head here to start enjoying perks when flying Delta.

Get Starwood Gold from United Gold, Platinum and 1K

Marriott and United’s Rewards Plus also lets United’s Premier Platinum and 1K members get Marriott Gold status. And you can turn that status into Starwood Gold via the Marriott / Starwood match program.

 

 

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9 thoughts on The best ways to unlock Starwood Marriott point transfer and matches

  1. will s

    next time you do a post on this, help those of us who have not previously stayed much with Marriott.

    I could just get the SWA companion pass with their two cards (as I’ve done several times in the family), but I see the potential attractiveness of getting the same with say, two spg cards, plus the marriott card (or transfers within the family)…. all because we supposed get 7 consecutive nights at a Marriott — but limited to up to cat5. Seems like a lot of work — for an unknown value. Yet again, help us out.

    So, pray tell, are there any Marriott resorts anywhere, Cat5 or below, that folks would aspire to stay at? (and yes, I’ve been spoiled by all-inclusive beach resorts with Hyatt, IHG, and yes, even Wyndham/Viva) Any decent beach getaways with Marriott, anywhere, that would work with this promo?

    serious question (from one who has long avoided Marriott given the perception that their aspirational properties costs mountains of points. I look forward to any such posts.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @will s- A lot of people don’t even use the hotel nights since the conversion rate to the Southwest points is so rich (it’s better than trying to transfer that many points on their own). Tends to be folks who can’t do the SWA cards anymore to reach Companion Pass.

      For good beach hotels you’re mostly looking at Category 8 which will cost you an extra 90k points for the 7 nights.

      Reply
  2. Chris

    I’m about 25 nights shy of lifetime platinum with Starwood. Any thoughts or suggestions? Will my Marriott stays count? Am I eternally screwed because I did not achieve status pre-merger?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Chris – The programs aren’t merging for almost 2 years from now so you still have time to earn it via Starwood alone and sounds like you’ll do that in the next year. Though at some point there will be combined lifetime qualification.

      Reply
  3. Marc

    Hello Points Guy Team,

    I currently have 94,000 qualifying southwest points towards the110,000 points needed for companion pass. I also have 40,000 SPG points, 49,000 Marriott points, and 390,000 Delta points.

    What is the best avenue to transfer points and achieve Southwest companion pass?

    Do my Delta points have any value with Marriott or SPG?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Marc – From Marriott, 1 30k transfer and 2 10k transfers will net you 15k Southwest points. Doesn’t matter much if you use the points in your Marriott account now or move some from SPG. Unfortunately your Delta points don’t have any value with Marriott or SPG.

      Reply

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