With the upcoming SPG and Marriott merger, the reciprocity between the two loyalty programs have opened up many valuable redemption offers. Along with Membership Rewards being able to transfer to SPG, you have the ability to pool a tremendous amount of points in one account.
For example, if you and a friend each applied for the SPG Personal American Express and the SPG Business American Express at the increased 25,000 point offer, pooling all the points in one account would yield 300,000 Marriott.
If you then got the Chase Canada Marriott Visa, and a high bonus Membership Rewards card like the Business Platinum Card (37,500 SPG), you have over half a million points in the account just from applying for a few credit cards. Furthermore, the two best redemptions out there, in my opinion, are with these programs. If you have a lot of Marriott points, Hotel + Air packages really save you a lot of money.
Additional Reading: Great Redemption: Marriott Hotel and Air Packages
Otherwise, SPG points are also incredibly valuable for low-category hotel stays, as well as several airline transfer partners where SPG is the only option to earn miles. My two favourite opportunities are redeeming Japan Airlines JMB Miles for Emirates First Class and Asiana Club Points for Etihad First Class.
There are lots of requirements to transfer SPG points. Both members must live at the same address and have the same address for 30 days, and it takes up to 10 business days to process the transfer. I’ve also heard some reports of require proof of residence with multiple address changes. That’s not ideal at all especially when you’re trying to ticket award space that you can’t hold. However, there’s an easy way to circumvent this – by using the Marriott reservation trick.
Transfer SPG to Marriott Instantly
The idea is to transfer your SPG points to your Marriott account, transfer the points to the recipient account through a reservation, and move the recipient’s Marriott back to the SPG account where you can instantly start a transfer to an airline program. All of this instant and can be down within the hour. Once you link your SPG account to your Marriott account, transfers back and forth are instant.
Transferring SPG to Marriott is a simple process online. There are many walkthrough on how to do that elsewhere. Next comes the Marriott to Marriott transfer. There’s not much clarification for account to account transfers. The terms state:
A limit of 50,000 points per year may be transferred into or out of a member’s account. Members who are transferring points in order to satisfy a specific award may exceed the 50,000 limit up to the amount needed to satisfy the reservation.
What’s clear is that you can definitely transfer 50k points per calendar year. However, in reality, you can transfer as many points as you want to top up another account for their reservation. With Marriott, you are able to book any award without having the points (as long as you have the points a couple days before you check-in). This means that your account must not have enough points when you are trying to book a reservation. The confirmation page will have this yellow alert.
Let’s say you are trying to transfer 80,000 SPG points to another account. This converts to 240,000 Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio. Next, the person receiving the miles needs to book a potential reservation where s/he doesn’t have enough miles. For example, the Hotel Arts Barcelona (A Ritz-Carlton Property), which is Tier 4, requiring 60,000 points a night. The fifth night is free, so the total reservation costs 240,000 miles. Perfect.
Next, call Marriott Rewards and provide the account number you want to transfer to. Generally, they can see the reservation on the other account requiring more points, but I have the reservation number handy as well. The phone agent will then transfer as many points as needed to completely fill the reservation. Then, you can instantly cancel the reservation and keep the points in the recipient account.
You can scale this up and down. While I’m fairly sure Marriott’s rules aren’t intended to be used like this, it has lasted for a while, so I think it’s safe that this will be available until the programs completely merge. This method of transferring Marriott and Starwood points was incredibly helpful when trying to book Emirates yesterday.
Have you transferred points between SPG and Marriott?