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:
- Starwood Preferred Guest Personal American Express (64,500 Marriott)
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business American Express (64,500 Marriott)
- Chase Canada Marriott Visa (50,000 Marriott)
- American Express Business Platinum Card (121,800 Marriott)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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).
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.
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.
Or, you could travel domestically and visit the Maritimes, staying in the Autograph Collection Algonquin Resort in New Brunswick.
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.