Maximizing Reward Points at Starwood & Marriott

By David Lahey | No comments

A colleague taught me years ago to pick my preferred travel partners and use them as consistently as possible. His advice served me well and I achieved Platinum for Life with Starwood Hotels during 2016. I was naturally concerned about the status of my loyalty achievement when Marriott acquired Starwood the same year.

I’m happy to report that — so far — I’m really pleased on how the loyalty programs are coming together. Marriott has set a conversion ratio of 3:1 SPG Starpoints to Marriott Reward points. This seems fair to me given the average points per award stay are within that range. It’s also nice that I can convert points from Marriott to Starwood anytime as well.

So what is best for a Starwood American Express and Marriott Chase VISA holder to do when it comes to credit card purchases? Here’s how I understand it:

  • If you are staying at a Marriott property, use your Marriott Chase VISA since the Starwood American Express does not provide you any accelerated points
  • If you are staying at a Starwood property, use your Starwood American Express since you earn points at the same rate but can convert to Marriott points at 3:1
  • If you are spending money on airline tickets, car rentals, or restaurants, use your Starwood American Express as you can convert to Marriott points at 3:1 even though Marriott Chase VISA allows you to earn 2X points instead of 1 point/dollar
  • Don’t forget to use the free night stay per year on your Marriott Chase VISA anniversary date

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