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Marriott’s takeover of Starwood closed in late September, and we saw reciprocal benefits between Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest immediately. That’s impressive, given that ordinarily there’s a big delay between when a deal like this actually closes, and when customers start to experience any changes as a result of it.
In the case of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, it’s already possible to transfer points between accounts and match status. However, up until now we haven’t seen any sort of reciprocity with the two brands’ co-branded credit cards. That’s changing now.
Marriott & Starwood credit cards are offering more reciprocity
As of today, the co-branded credit cards from Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton, and offering reciprocal points earning opportunities. In practice this means the following:
- Those with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express now earn two Starpoints per dollar spent at all Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties
- Those with The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card and Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card now earn five Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent at Starwood properties
In other words, each credit card is offering the same number of points regardless of whether you choose to stay at a Starwood, Marriott, or Ritz-Carlton property.
Keep in mind that points can freely be transferred between Starwood and Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Rewards at a ratio of one Starpoint per three Rewards points. That means that the Starwood Amex now offers the most points per dollar spent at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties.
Which card is best to use at Marriott/Ritz-Carlton/Starwood properties?
This presents a great new opportunity for people to maximize the return they get at all 5,700+ Marriott family properties around the world. Here are the pros of using each card at any property worldwide:
- The Starwood Amex offers the most points, as you’re earning two Starpoints or six Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card might be worth considering since the card offers Gold status for the first year, and you can maintain it in subsequent years by spending $10,000 on the card per year, or Platinum status if you spend $75,000 on the card per year; putting your hotel spend on the card while earning 5x points could make a lot of sense
- The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers one extra elite qualifying night for every $3,000 spent on the card, so if putting more spend on the card can help you get enough elite qualifying nights to get to the next elite tier, that could make sense
Of course there’s also merit to using other cards altogether. For example, both the Citi Prestige® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card offer three points per dollar spent at hotels, and arguably three of those points are worth more than two Starpoints.
This is a great change, and in a way it’s awesome to see that American Express and Chase are willing to work together (for now) to let cardmembers maximize their points at the 5,700+ properties around the world. Personally I’m excited to now use the SPG Amex for my Marriott status, so I can earn two Starpoints or six Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent.
However, there could also be merit to using the Ritz-Carlton Card in order to reach the $10,000 spend threshold and earn Gold status. Credit card spend on this card is the best way to earn mid-tier status with the Marriott family of hotels, in my opinion (after the first year, since the card comes with Gold status for free for the first year).
What card do you plan on using for all your Marriott-family hotel stays going forward?
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.