There has been a lot of discussion lately about the possibility of Marriott removing the ability to transfer SPG points to airlines – this speculation comes from the fact that Marriott will be hosting an event soon in which they’re supposed to reveal details about the new, combined programme for both hotel chains. Could Marriott remove SPG airline transfers overnight without notifying members in advance? Absolutely.. they can do anything they want… which is why you should be aware of the speculations.
The most valuable points currency is Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints – you can transfer SPG points to over 20 airlines with a 1:1 transfer ratio to most airlines. The one major downside is that SPG points do not instantly transfer to airlines – the quickest transfer can take up to a day and the longest up to a month (and even those times are not guaranteed). For years, if there was only one points currency people would use the chances are that this currency was Starwood points – being able to transfer hotel points at a 1:1 ratio to over 20 airlines is incredible – most hotel chains have a transfer ratio of 10:1!
I transferred some of my Starwood points and you should too. However, I don’t advise you transfer everything to one airline. My advice is to transfer your SPG points to airlines that you already have a points balance with and simply boost your balance enough for a future award flight you might have been thinking about. I transferred about half of my Starwood points – to Miles & More, Aeroplan, Asiana, and Alaska. I left the other half in my SPG account for future hotel stays. It is important to note that Marriott is not as generous as SPG and therefore now that Marriott has control of SPG, they can do whatever they want, whenever they want – without informing members. While removing the ability to transfer SPG points to airlines would make Marriott look incredibly bad, we have seen other hotel chains and airlines make changes overnight that impacted many members and only a few of those airlines and hotels ultimately reversed the changes.
If you were planning on transferring your Starwood points for an award redemption from a frequent flyer programme – do it. You shouldn’t wait. However, you also shouldn’t transfer SPG points randomly without thinking about a future trip and how you might use these SPG points. It really depends on what your future travels look like and therefore there is no one solution for this. Personally, I can’t decide whether or not I think Marriott will remove this ability overnight or not… I have strong arguments for each side.. which is why I transferred half of my SPG points and kept the other half.
Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!