There has been a considerable amount of buzz surrounding the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Marriott Reward Points programs. For a while, American Express cardholders who frequently transferred their Membership Rewards points to their SPG program weren’t necessarily sure how the rewards program updates would impact that seemingly solid relationship.
However, as the dust settles and the programs continue towards their merger, a few of those concerns have been addressed, including whether Amex cardholders would still be able to transfer their points to the SPG program. Fortunately, despite the changes, many of the same perks American Express holders originally had are still in place, and in some cases, the partnership has become even more valuable.
Today, transferring your points is as simple as logging into your American Express account and navigating through the rewards point transfer process. However, now the 1:3 exchange ratio has increased to a 1:1 ratio, and you can now use your points at many more Marriott-owned hotels and resorts worldwide.
Marriott’s New Combined Loyalty Program
In 2016, Marriott acquired SPG, and this April the two announced a merger between their popular rewards programs. The merger finalized in August of this year, and a host of changes took place, but for those just learning about the merger, here’s what you need to know:
- Marriott, SPG, and Ritz Carlton points are all considered to be the same under the new program, making them valid across all properties.
- If you had Starwood points prior to August 18, 2018, those points have been tripled to account for differences between the SPG and Marriott program.
- Though you aren’t currently forced to combine programs, keeping them separate is like keeping two SPG accounts open. As such, Marriott recommends you combine them, since failure to do so will make it hard to take full advantage of any full program benefits like elite status and lifetime and year-to-date rewards.
How to Transfer American Express Credit Card Points to Starwood
Regardless of the changes that have taken place within the Marriott and SPG loyalty programs, American Express still offers rewards transfers. If you have transferred in the past, you’ll notice that the process hasn’t changed; however, now the Marriott and Ritz Carlton logos will appear alongside SPG.
Ready to Transfer Your Points?
These simple steps will show you how to transfer American Express Credit Card points to Starwood, now the Marriott Rewards Points program.
- Log into your American Express account and select the “Rewards” tab, which is located at the top of the screen if you’re on a desktop or by selecting the drop-down list if using a mobile device.
- From the Membership Rewards home page, select “Transfer Points” and then “View All.”
- Once all partners have appeared, scroll down the page until you see the list of hotels. Select the Starwood Preferred Guest option, which now shows both Marriott and Ritz brands in addition to SPG. Since ownership of the program has changed, it’s reasonable to believe that at one point the Amex Rewards program will eventually update to reflect Marriott as opposed to SPG, so keep that in mind if you don’t see SPG.
- If you have not linked your accounts, you’ll be prompted to do so before you can proceed.
- Once your accounts are linked, you’ll be prompted to enter the number of Membership Rewards points you’d like to transfer. Note that Amex Membership Rewards only allows for transfers in increments of 1000.
- Confirm your transaction, and once complete, check your SPG (or Marriott, if you’ve combined) rewards account to confirm that the transfer was successful. Typically, transfers from Amex to SPG are instant (or close to it), but due to the merger, this can always change. If by chance you don’t see your points, or if you have other questions, you can reach out to Marriott via their Contact Us page, or you can contact the SPG Loyalty Program’s customer service at 1.888.625.4988.
With a 1:1 ratio, the ability to transfer points between SPG, Marriott, and Ritz rewards programs, and the promise of elite status across the board if you’ve earned it in one of the other programs, transferring your Membership Rewards points to SPG can unlock a variety of benefits and properties that weren’t previously available under the SPG rewards program.
However, be sure to keep a close eye on the programs as the merger, though largely complete, may still include a few changes along the way. However, most experts agree that the SPG and Amex relationship isn’t disappearing anytime soon.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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