Best Redemptions for SPG – Marriott Hotel and Air Packages

If you have a large amount of points, Marriott Hotel and Air Packages are one of the best values currently available for redemption. They start at 200,000 points, and include a minimum of 50,000 Airline Miles and a 7 night hotel redemption.

While that seems like a lot, you can get a lot of points just by opening the following credit cards:

But why are is this such a good redemption with your SPG points?  It’s because SPG transfers at a very favourable 1:3 ratio to Marriott, so you only need 90,000 SPG Points for the best value package. With 270,000 points, you can get 120,000 Airline Miles and a 7-night stay in a Category 1-5 hotel, valid one year from the date of your redemption. Depending on your status and the agent you talk to, you might even be able to extend it for another year.

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages

You can always add more points for a higher hotel category. For example, to switch from a Category 1-5 to a Category 6 certificate, you would have to pay the 30,000 point difference between the two packages. I always recommend redeeming for Category 1-5 packages, because you can always move the certificate to a higher category, but you cannot lower a higher category hotel certificate.

The participating airlines are not bad at all. They include Aeroplan, American AAdvantage, Alaska MileagePlan, BA Avios, and Delta Skymiles, among others. The most valuable one, in my opinion, is Alaska.

SPG 35% Points Discount

SPG 35% Points Discount

Even though Marriott points are normally sold for 1.25 cents, there’s a cheaper way to get them through purchasing SPG points. Ending tonight, you can purchase SPG points at 35% off. SPG transfers at a 1:3 ratio with Marriott, so each point only costs 0.76 cents. However, if you don’t want to purchase miles, you can get all the miles required from credit cards.

Additional Reading: 35% Discount on Purchasing SPG Points

Redeeming Marriott Hotel and Air Packages with Credit Cards

1. Starwood American Express

The first cards you should acquire are the Starwood Preferred Guest Personal and Business American Express Cards. These are one of the best cards to utilize for everyday spend, because of how valuable SPG points are.

Each card earns 20,000 points after completing a minimum spend of $1,500 in the first three months. This transfers to 64,500 Marriott Points per card, for a subtotal of 129,000 out of the 270,000 points required.

SPG Personal AMEX

SPG Personal AMEX (Source: amex.ca)

SPG Business AMEX

SPG Business AMEX (Source: amex.ca)

For Americans (and Canadians with a US Credit Profile), the Starwood American Express Card in the US offers 25,000 bonus points after completing minimum spend. This converts to an additional 75,000 Marriott points. You can also get this card through AMEX Global Transfer.

Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

2. Chase Canada Marriott Visa

Next, the Chase Canada Marriott Visa offers another 50,000 points after your first purchase. This card offers no foreign transaction fees, so is a great addition to your credit card portfolio.

Chase Canada Marriott Visa

Chase Canada Marriott Visa

However, you only earn a very poor 1 Marriott point per dollar (0.33 SPG points). Thus, this card is not worth keeping past the first year especially since there is a $120 Annual fee after the first year. The card I recommend long-term for no foreign transaction fees is the Home Trust Preferred Visa, which has no annual fee.

Additional Reading: No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

With the additional 50,000 points, your Marriott balance is now 179,000 out of the 270,000 points required.

3. American Express Business Platinum

American Express Business Platinum Card

American Express Business Platinum Card

Finally, the last card to apply for is the American Express Business Platinum Card. You earn 75,000 points after completing $5,000 of spend in the first three months. Although this is a business charge card, you are still eligible when applying as a sole proprietor. The minimum spend might also seem high, but there’s a very easy way to meet the spend in just four days.

All you need is to download the Paytm app on the phone. This innovative app lets you pay bills you normally can’t with your credit card. Examples include income and business taxes with the CRA, rent payments, and tuition fees. Furthermore, you can get a $10 using promo code PTM9462620 after paying your first bill.

Additional Reading: Use Paytm to Pay your Bills for Free!

Alternatively, you could get a combination of the Platinum Card (60,000 Points), Gold Rewards Card (30,000 Points), or Business Gold Card (40,000 Points).

Membership Rewards points transfer to SPG at a 1:0.5 ratio – ironically better than what the US has. You’ll end up with 81,250 points on your account, which yields 40,625 SPG points. This then converts to 121,875 Marriott points, making your total 300,875 out of the 270,000 Marriott points required.

Using Marriott Hotel and Air Packages

The best partner, in my opinion, is earning with Alaska Airlines. With 120,000 miles, you have enough to fly Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific First Class to Asia (70,000 miles), and Business Class back to North America (50,000 miles).

Japan Airlines First Class

Japan Airlines First Class

In terms of hotels, there are a ton of Category 5 properties that are stunning. You could go to the JW Marriott Phu Quoc in Vietnam, a luxury resort.

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages - JW Phu Quoc (Source: Marriott)

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages – JW Phu Quoc (Source: Marriott)

Or, you could go to Easter Island, stopping on the way in Chile, at the Renaissance Santiago hotel. I just stayed there last month, and the rooms have spectacular views just like the hotel photos.

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages - Renaissance Santiago

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages – Renaissance Santiago (Source: Marriott)

Or, you could travel domestically and visit the Maritimes, staying in the Autograph Collection Algonquin Resort in New Brunswick.

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages - Algonquin Resort (Source: Marriott)

Marriott Hotel and Air Packages – Algonquin Resort (Source: Marriott)

Conclusion

For some travellers, seven nights at a property seems like a long time – but the value from this redemption are the airline miles. If you were to transfer SPG to airlines directly – you’d need 95,000 SPG (285,000 Marriott) points for 120,000 airline miles. If transferring Marriott to airline miles, you’d need 280,000 points for 100,000 miles. In both scenarios, that’s more than the entire Hotel and Air package.

If are good at sweet talking agents, or own a Marriott timeshare, you may be able to redeem for 5 night Hotel and Air Packages. But, even if you were to only stay 4, 5, or 6 nights, it’s still cheaper than transferring such a large number of hotel points to airline miles directly. However, if you don’t have that many miles, or want to transfer to less mainstream programs, then you should transfer directly from SPG.

Additional Reading: Best Flight Redemptions with SPG

Overall, Marriott Hotel and Air packages are an incredible value, and one of the best redemptions out there. With the merger between Starwood and Marriott, I’m not sure whether this opportunity will be removed, so I would redeem for these packages sooner rather than later.

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Comments

  1. “However, you only earn a very poor 1 Marriott point per dollar (0.33 SPG points). Thus, this card is not worth keeping past the first year especially since there is a $120 Annual fee after the first year. The card I recommend long-term for no foreign transaction fees is the Home Trust Preferred Visa, which has no annual fee.”

    Have you not considered the value of the free night certificate you receive on your anniversary date each year for Category 1-5 hotels? That alone, many bloggers would say, is more than worth keeping the account active. You have illustrated some beautiful Category 5 properties. Are any of them available for $120 CAD a night? (~95 USD) The Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Juan is also a stunning Category 5 property set on a 40 acre coffee plantation. Also an option for your 7-night hotel package.

    Furthermore, the annual 15 night Elite Credit which will maintain Silver Elite staus without a single stay and which matches to SPG add additional value. Also 5X on Marriott Stays and 2X at restaurants. Seems a better option than the no fee option for no foreign currency fees.

    If you are aware of these other benefits of maintaining your Account may I ask why you did not discuss them and let the reader determine if there is value for their particular situation? Perhaps the “finders fee” in encouraging readers to apply for every credit card linked in your story is more worth for you?

    • If you’re in the know, you can buy that Marriott cert anytime for less than that. I’d keep my cash rather than locking myself into a $120 annual fee for something I may or may not use. Of course, you have to be well connected – unfortunate if you aren’t. The annual 15 night credit also isn’t worth anything if you have SPG Gold from AMEX, which translates to Marriott Gold. Finally, let’s say that you get an additional 2.5% return when spending at Marriott hotels at 5x points over a 1% cashback card. So unless you’re spending $4800 on Marriott Hotels or $19200 a year on foreign dining, the card isn’t worth it.

      It’s funny you point out finders fees when I suggest applying for every card on that list, including the Marriott one.

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