Marriott & SPG Credit Cards Add Reciprocal Points Earning Opportunities

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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:

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.

You can now earn two Starpoints per dollars spent at 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.

Using the right credit card could help you maintain status and get room upgrades

Bottom line

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?

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  1. The Canadian version? Yeah right. Canadian credit cards don’t get the boost that the American versions, especially Amex, have been getting lately. We are the poor cousins.

  2. “the Starwood Amex now offers the most points per dollar spent at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties” Wouldn’t it be better to use the CSR for 3x points on travel? While technically less points, 3 UR points > 2 starpoints, in my opinion…

  3. We are not that bad off in Canada with Amex as the platinum business and personal both earn 1.25 points per Canadian dollar spent. That works out to 1.6375 points per US dollar at today’s exchange . I charge a few hundred K per year so the points work out OK. Now the SPG Amex is another story. The Canadian business version doesn’t even get access to Sheraton clubs.

  4. Great, so the Marriott card is pretty much worthless unless you need the nights. It’s actually less than worthless: because it’s metal, it’s a pain to cut up!

    Just kidding, I’ll be using the spg card only from now on, but am on the fence about keeping the Marriott card as the 15 nights towards status and free room certificate do cover the annual fee, and I may have trouble requalifying for plat next year.

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