Apply For The Starwood Card To Maximize Your Marriott Points

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Since last week, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are letting members link accounts, which includes the option of transferring Starpoints to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, and vice versa. This can be a very useful transfer ratio in both directions, depending on what you’re trying to do.


When this functionality went live I wrote about seven new opportunities that now exist thanks to the ability to link accounts. One of those opportunities is the ability to maximize points earned through credit cards even further.

SPG members can earn ~29,000 Starpoints

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Marriott Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 7,500 bonus points when you add the first authorized user and they make a purchase in the first three months. That’s a total of 87,500 Marriott Rewards points.

Once you earn those points you can always convert them into Starpoints at a 3:1 ratio, potentially making that sign-up bonus worth ~29,200 Starpoints. That’s a bigger sign-up bonus than what’s being offered on the Starwood American Express at the moment.

Furthermore, this is a card that’s worth holding onto long term, given that it offers an annual free night certificate valid at a Category 1-5 property, which more than justifies the annual fee, in my opinion.

However, do keep in mind that getting approved for some Chase cards can be somewhat tough, assuming you’ve opened more than five card accounts in the past 24 months.

St-Regis-San-Francisco - 13
Redeem your Starpoints at the St. Regis San Francisco

Marriott Rewards members can earn 75K+ Rewards points

Starwood has some great co-branded credit cards, each of which allows you to earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after completing minimum spend:

Upon completing the minimum spend you could convert those 25,000 Starpoints into 75,000 Marriott Rewards points. So if you get both cards, that’s potentially 150,000 Marriott Rewards bonus points.

There are a few reasons I mention this:

  • People tend to apply for hotel credit cards that align with their hotel preferences, so I know plenty of Marriott Rewards members haven’t previously signed up for Starwood’s co-branded credit cards
  • Anecdotally these cards are significantly easier to get approved for than the Chase Marriott Card, not just if you’ve opened more than five cards in the past 24 months, but also just in general; getting approved for the business card shouldn’t be tough either
  • We don’t know how much longer any of these cards will be around, as the future of the “new” Marriott’s credit card portfolio is unknown; they could go with American Express or they could go with Chase
  • Keep in mind that these cards offer one Starpoint per dollar spent, meaning this is an opportunity to earn three Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent on the card
  • In practice you can apply for both the SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex same day; there’s a chance one application will be delayed a few days for processing, but there’s no downside to you for that

Redeem your Marriott Rewards points at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

Bottom line

The SPG Personal Amex and SPG Business Amex are an easy way to pick up 75,000+ Marriott Rewards points per card. They’re both quite easy to be approved for, and I realize they’re cards that many Marriott loyalists may not have looked at in the past. Best of all, both of these cards have their annual fees waived for the first year.

Are any Marriott loyalists picking up an SPG credit card now that points can be transferred between accounts?

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  1. Don’t you think we should wait for the 30K or even the 35K Signup bonus on those SPG cards, Amex usually brings the 30K signup offers around this time. That’s 210K Mariott from signup bonus + another 24K mariott points from the spend requirements on those SPG cards after convertion.

  2. @ Indian — I wouldn’t count on that bonus coming back. Right now we have an “increased” bonus on the SPG Business Amex, which in reality is two complimentary nights upon completing minimum spend. Most consumers won’t come out ahead under that offer, and especially those looking for Marriott points. So there’s a chance we’ll see a 30K or 35K bonus come back, though I would speculate it will only be next year. Even them I’m not confident, since it’ll just be several months before the programs are due to integrate, at that point.

  3. Will be really curious to know what happens with the SPG Amex cards. I currently have both and am putting some heavy spend on them in anticipation of using Marriott flight and hotel packages. I suspect Marriott will see a huge group of people transfer on January 1st to get the SW companion pass.

  4. Another benefit of the account linking that I don’t believe has been discussed. Starwood allows free transfers of points between accounts, provided the account holders have the same address. Marriott does not (though does allow points from a spouse’s account to be applied towards a specific redemption). The ability to transfer points from Marriott to Starwood and vice-versa effectively allows you to transfer Marriott points between accounts. Couple that with the 87,500 point bonus for the Marriott card, and a companion pass is easily within reach.

  5. Hello Lucky, thanks for posting this. Do you this sign-up bonus will still be around next year? Can’t see if this offer will expire anytime. Waiting for my 5/24 to apply for the CSR card in Feb and then plan to look at other cards. Thanks, Matthew

  6. @Lucky @Hepworth – So, if my wife gets the MR CC and gets the 83,000 MR points for maxing spend and bonus, then I transfer 9000 SPG points to my MR account which would equal 27,000 MR points, transfer this 27,000 to her MR account, this would equal 110,000 MR points that can then be transferred to Southwest and get a companion pass? Let me know if this sounds correct.

  7. Am I correct in understanding that my husband and I can each apply for SPG AMEX (via your link, of course ;)) and transfer the points earned after 3 months into our individual SPG accounts. At that point, he can transfer his 25,000 points into my SPG account and then I could transfer our combined 50,000 SPG into 150,000 Marriot in my name?

  8. Thanks Lucky!

    I just applied for mine and was approved (happy dance, already spent the Marriott points in my head).

    Does it makes a difference if my husband applies from the same IP address on the same day?

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