Marriott Merger Loopholes: 3 Secret Tips for Longer & More Luxurious Stays

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Now that you can transfer Starwood points to Marriott and vice versa, I’ll show you how to get Big Travel by converting your points!.  And I’ll reveal the times when transferring your points is NOT a good idea!

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

I’ll Show You When to Transfer Points From Starwood to Marriott and When From Marriott to Starwood

There are instances where transferring your points can be a great deal.  Those of y’all who like to splurge at top hotels will be happy.  And so will folks looking to stay longer at affordable hotels.

Starwood to Marriott or Marriott to Starwood?

Link:   Marriott Rewards Chart

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Chart

Link:   How to Transfer Points Between Starwood & Marriott

Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are part of the same company.  So you can use your Marriott points at both brands.  Marriott hotels are between 7,500 and 45,000 points per night.  Ritz-Carlton luxury hotels are between 30,000 and 70,000 points per night.

Marriott hotels include:

Starwood hotels have a different scale that ranges from 2,000 to 35,000 points per night.  Starwood Preferred Guest hotels include AloftElementFour PointsLe MeridienSheratonSt RegisThe Luxury CollectionWestin and W brand hotels.

You can transfer Starwood points to Marriott at 1:3 ratio.  And from Marriott to Starwood at 1:3 ratio.  You also get your elite status matched.  Folks who are still unsure which points to transfer to which program can consider this:

1.   For Top Hotels, Transfer Starwood Points to Marriott

  • Top Starwood Hotel: 105,000 Marriott points
  • Top Marriott Hotel: 15,000 Starwood points

Yup.  You read that right. 🙂  Transfer your precious Starwood points to Marriott.

A top Starwood category 7 hotel, such as The Gritti Palace in Venice, will cost you 35,000 Starwood points.  Or if you transfer Marriott points to Starwood Preferred Guest, it will cost 105,000 Marriott Rewards points.  That’s because 3 Marriott points transfer to only 1 Starwood point!

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

The Gritti Palace, in Venice, Has Direct Access to the Canal. But It Costs 105,000 Marriott Points per Night.

In the meantime, a night at a top, category 9 Marriott hotel, like Boscolo Venezia, costs 45,000 Marriott points. Or if you transfer Starwood points to Marriott Rewards, that’s only 15,000 Starwood points!

That’s because you get 3 Marriott point for every 1 Starwood hotel point!

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

Boscolo Venezia, Also in Venice, Housed in an Old Palace With a 17th Century Facade, Is Only 15,000 Starwood Points per Night

Folks, Starwood points are extremely valuable, but not 7 times as valuable as Marriott points.

So for most folks, I would NOT recommend transferring Marriott points into Starwood’s program to stay at a top Starwood hotel.  That’s because:

  • Top Marriott hotels cost 45,000 Marriott points per night
  • Top Starwood hotels cost 105,000 Marriott (35,000 Starwood points x 3) points per night

But I DO recommend converting your Starwood points to stay at the top Marriott hotels. Because:

  • Top Starwood hotels cost 35,000 Starwood points per night
  • Top Marriott hotels cost just 15,000 Starwood points (45,000 Marriott Points/3) per night

That said, if your account is overflowing with Marriott points and you greatly prefer Starwood, do what makes sense for you!

2.   To Stay at Starwood Category 1 & 2 Hotels, Transfer Points From Marriott to Starwood 

For those folks who want to visit friends and families without spending too many points, Marriott is more suited for the task, because there are 10 times more Marriott Category 1 & 2 hotels in the U.S. than Starwood hotels – about 670 vs. 67.  But if you are looking for some undervalued touristy destinations, Starwood might be a better fit.

Check Le Méridien Angkor in Siem Reap, for example.  It’s a 5-star hotel with a gorgeous pool and beautiful grounds.

And Siem Reap is hardly in the middle of nowhere, as it’s booming with tourists from all over the world.  But as it’s a Category 2 hotel, you can stay there for only 3,000 points a day on the weekend, and 4,000 on a weekday.

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

Stay at the 5-Star Le Méridien Angkor for Only 3,000-4,000 Starwood Points a Day!

And if you transfer Marriott points to Starwood, you will get a 3-night stay at Le Méridien Angkor for 30,000 to 36,000 Marriott points.  That’s a great deal, too!

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

Or Stay at Le Méridien Angkor 3 Nights for 30,000 to 36,000 Marriott Points!

If Cambodia is not your cup of tea, that’s not a problem.  To catch some sunrays closer to home, consider Aloft or Four Points in Cancun, Four Points in Punta Cana, or Sheraton Buganvilias Resort in Puerto Vallarta.  All of them are Category 2 hotels, so your cost is the same: 30,000 to 36,000 Marriott points.

3.   For Category 1 & 2 Marriott Hotels in Africa, Transfer Points From Starwood to Marriott  

If traveling to Africa is on your bucket list, you’re in luck!  Last year, Marriott acquired an African hotel chain called Protea Hotels.  Many of Marriott’s Protea hotels are Category 1 & 2.  That gives you a fantastic value in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Morocco, and other countries.

If you stay 5 nights or more, it gets better.  Starwood Preferred Guest doesn’t offer the 5th night free on their Category 1 & 2 hotels, but Marriott does.  That means your 5-night stay at a Category 1 Marriott hotel will only cost you 10,000 Starwood points (and 14,000 for Category 2 with 2,000 points to spare).

For example, 5 nights at Protea Hotel Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins, which routinely sells at around $200 a night, will only cost you 10,000 Starwood points for 5 days, or at the rate of 10 cents for 1 Starwood point.  That’s the kind of value you don’t see very often!

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

Protea Hotel Zanzibar Mbweni Ruins in Tanzania Sells for $200 a Night — Or 2,000-3,000 Starwood Points.

Your Elite Status Matters

Both programs treat their top Elite Platinum members nicely, but if you are a mid-tier Gold member, you’ll get more at Marriott hotels.  Because in addition to the possibility of getting an upgraded room, you’ll get free breakfast and use of the hotel lounge at these Marriott brands:

Marriott Merger Loopholes 3 Secret Tips For Longer More Luxurious Stays

Gold Status Gets You Access to the Lounge and Massive Breakfast Spread at This Category 3 JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi (15,000 Marriott or 5,000 Starwood Points).

Still not sure which way to transfer your points?  That’s fine, you don’t have to decide right away unless you’re traveling in the near future.  Marriott is trying to build some trust with Starwood members, so it probably won’t devalue the program anytime soon.

Get Gold Marriott Status With Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott Gold status with the following credit cards:

Bottom Line  

The Marriott & Starwood transfer option has opened new doors for us to go where we want and save big on points.

If you want to pamper yourself at the top luxury hotels, transfer your Starwood points to Marriott.  And folks who want to stay longer at the category 1 & 2 international hotels will find transferring their Marriott points to Starwood an excellent deal.

But there are exceptions.  For travel to some world regions where Marriott’s foothold is especially strong, like Africa, transfer your Starwood points to Marriott for category 1 & 2 Protea hotels.  For one thing, you get the 5th night free at Categories 1 & 2 Marriott hotels, but not Starwood’s.

Folks with Platinum Marriott or Starwood status receive great recognition at either chain, but Gold members get more goodies at Marriott.

I’m usually cautious about mergers between huge travel companies, but Marriott and Starwood are doing right by us for now, and I’m really happy about this one.

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12 responses to “Marriott Merger Loopholes: 3 Secret Tips for Longer & More Luxurious Stays

  1. We recently stayed at the Boscolo Venezia, and loved it. It’s easy to get too from the Vaparetto…no stairs to traverse with your luggage and just a short walk to downtown. It was quiet, clean and the staff was friendly 🙂

  2. the merger is going well for starwood members. we marriotts got the short end of the stick with the UA-marriott deal and again with the SPG-marriott merger. it sucks to be a marriott loyalist.

  3. Ive always been more of a Starwood person, but have a few Marriott points collected over the years. Any idea if the transfer of points in or out of the of Marriott program resets their expiring points clock?

  4. Thanks – a very timely post for me. Question for you – does it make sense to keep the Starwood Amex if I have the Platinum Amex as well?

  5. Good question, Jason. I’d like to know too as I have both cards.

  6. Thanks so much for the info! Does the same info apply when using points for domestic stays? If not, please explain.

  7. When will one of the card providers and Marriott offer a card for U.K. Residents?

  8. I have an AmEx SPG card and a Marriott Visa card and belong to both programs. Now that they have merged, is there any reason not to put all the points into one program? Such as transfer all my SPG points into the Marriott program and just have one account, and one credit card for the one account? Thanks!