Could Marriott And/Or Starwood Devalue Mileage Transfers Without Notice?

Yesterday I posted about the rumored details of a new combined Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest program. Marriott’s CEO has publicly confirmed that a single loyalty program will be formed in the second half of this year, and based on the information that came out yesterday, it looks like it may be sooner rather than later.

I have no firsthand information here, but based on what’s being rumored, the new program will launch in August, will have five elite tiers, and will have a revenue requirement for the top status. A new program is potentially just a few months away, so it’s pretty crazy that we don’t know the details yet.

On that post, one reader left the following alarming comment:

According to the SPG agent I just spoke with on the phone, the airline transfer program is being “discontinued” on April 16th. If you need to transfer do it now.

Let me say up front that I don’t think this is true. I tried to contact the reader and didn’t hear back, the IP address has multiple names, and I called the SPG Platinum line several times myself, and all the agents confirmed they hadn’t heard anything (and it didn’t sound like they were trying to cover something up, but rather that they genuinely didn’t know). So I don’t think this is true, though it did get me thinking….

Both Marriott & Starwood offer great mileage conversion opportunities

One of the things that Marriott and Starwood have in common is that you can efficiently convert hotel points into airline miles with both programs:

Would Marriott & SPG provide notice if they devalued these options?

The only reasonable answer is yes. Surely Marriott and Starwood have to provide notice if they choose to devalue these opportunities. The whole reason many of us hoard Starpoints and Marriott Rewards points is because we know we can cash them out at any time by converting them into airline miles.

If Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards decided tomorrow that points would transfer to all partners at a 2:1 ratio rather than 1:1 ratio, that would of course take tons of value out of the program.

This isn’t just something they should do to make members happy, but rather it’s the only ethical and reasonable approach they can take. That being said, legally the program has the right to (basically) do whatever they’d like. That doesn’t make it good business, though.

The one reason I have a slight bit of doubt

My hope is that the new combined loyalty program will continue to offer a lucrative way to convert points into airline miles. It’s very much in their own best interest to do so.

Why? Because if we were given notice of devaluations to the mileage transfer ratios, many of us would be transferring all (or almost all of) our points tomorrow. I have almost a million Starpoints, so it’s anyone’s guess how much they’d be paying when I convert those all into Alaska miles (and other currencies). I’m not alone.

Presumably they’re hoping not to suddenly incur what could amount to tens of millions of dollars of mileage redemptions overnight. They can prevent that by not worsening the transfer ratio.

At the same time, that’s also the only reason I can think of that they’d do the unthinkable, and devalue these transfer ratios without notice. They don’t want to incur a huge, short term cost, and that might be the only way to prevent that.

Bottom line

Personally I don’t think Marriott would be crazy enough to devalue mileage transfers without providing some advance notice. This would be the worst possible foot on which you could start with a new program. For that matter, I hope they keep similar mileage transfer options, since that would also be a way for them to avoid suddenly having people redeeming hundreds of millions of points.

But I do think I need to provide some amount of warning here. There’s a chance that Marriott and Starwood could devalue these transfer ratios without notice. It would be unethical (in my opinion) and an absolute PR disaster, but we can’t rule it out. I almost feel like if they did, they’d end up reversing course due to the backlash.

While I don’t believe the commenter quoted above is accurate, I still feel like I owe you guys that caution, just in case you are on the fence about whether to convert Starpoints into miles, or book a Marriott Hotel + Air Package.

Personally I’ll be holding onto my points for the time being. Maybe that’s foolish, but I have some basic faith in the future of the program, and at a minimum expect they’ll provide us notice of any changes.

Where do you stand on this? Could you see Marriott or Starwood devaluing the transfer ratio without notice?

Comments

  1. This definitely makes me want to consider it doing it sooner rather than later.

    @Lucky – what do you think is the best airline mileage bank to transfer the points to if you don’t really have a specific destination in mind? I’m thinking Alaska’s Mileage Plan, since they partner with Cathay, JAL and Emirates among other’s and the site is easy to use and they give you a window to get a refund if it’s 60 days or more before you travel

  2. Since you have almost a million SPG points and is still not freaking out, then I’ll calm down with my measly 65,000 SPG points lol.

  3. Lucky – I’m thinking of transferring all to ANA as they have great redemption rates on RT tickets. You say you’d transfer all to Alaska. Is there a reason you’d go the Alaska route over ANA?

  4. @Lucky, but I’m curious, if you did really have to move all or most of your Starpoints immediately, where would you choose to move them?

  5. Let’s keep this in context… we have multiple leaks from historically reliable sources about the new elite tiers scheme, none of which mentioned any changes to transfer partners.

    We have one blog comment that is totally unverified (despite the fact that several smart people have tried to verify it), which is rattling around in an echo chamber.

    I’m sitting pat on my 110K SPG points.

  6. Seconded @Michelle – would love to hear Lucky’s answer on this! For me it’s probably a mix of Alaska and JAL being based in SFO now with the primary intent to redeem for intl. biz to asia, the middle east, and europe, with a decent amount of amex + chase points

  7. I received an email last January from MR asking me to join the MR Voice. I didn’t join because I thought my input was worth more than a random prize drawing. I’m curious if anyone did join and the questions/feedback were used for the merger of the programs. The participation ended on 6th March 2018.
    (I’m lifetime SPG Plat with crossover to MR Plat. I’m surprised they’d want my input.)

    MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.
    As a Marriott Rewards® member, you have a unique perspective on the service and experiences provided to Marriott® guests. We hope that you’ll lead the way and join an exclusive group of members who will help shape our future through My Marriott Voice, an invitation-only online community where you will:

    BE REWARDED
    Join My Marriott Voice and you will be entered for a chance to win a grand prize* of $1,500 USD, or one of five $500 USD prizes! As you continue to participate, you’ll be entered into future drawings for gift cards and other prizes.

    BE HEARD
    Share your opinion in interactive surveys and community forums. Your feedback will influence our products and services.

    BE IN THE KNOW
    Act as our consultant as we evaluate new ideas before they launch at our hotels.
    As a member, your feedback is incredibly valuable.

  8. I use my Starpoints mainly for hotels. I am more concerned about them changing the status levels as well as getting rid of the stays option. I usually stay around 30 nights a year in Starwood properties but manage to be 1 night stays so I can get Platinum level. If they get rid of stays I won’t be able to reach that level anymore and if they add higher levels I will really be in the middle of the road with a probably not very worthy status.

  9. Transferred my remaining Starpoints balance to Alaska yesterday after reading your initial post about this developing story.

  10. One million SPG pts would take a week to tranfer properly if Lucky did that based on the current limits in place. I’m not freaking out. Even if they did suddently devalue or change the terms, which they can, they’d be forced to dial it back due to public backlash. They aren’t that dumb. But don’t be surprised if they cut the 5k bonus when transferring 20k pts though.

  11. Look Americans are eunuchs. Give them wine, woman and football and they don’t care about anything. Maybe now krug and filet mignon as well.

    Donald stole the election, then the country. Do I see people in the streets? Do I see a civil war?

    I don’t think anyone will do anything of Marriott devalues without notice which means they might just do it.

  12. Ben – I’m more concerned about what will happen to lifetime Platinum Status. I’m 210,000 points short of lifetime status with Marriott. I will be really upset if they move the goal posts before I can qualify. Do you have any information?

    Thanks
    Mark Levison

  13. ” I have almost a million Starpoints, so it’s anyone’s guess how much they’d be paying when I convert those all into Alaska miles (and other currencies). I’m not alone.” – You know it seems unreasonable that they would suddenly cancel the ability to transfer to airlines without notice, but if they are going to discontinue the ability to transfer miles to airlines with some people hoarding points like that they may want to spring it suddenly to avoid a mass exodus that could cost them a whole lot of money. Yea people may be upset but a lot of people are required by employers to use marriott etc. I think they would keep the marriott packages. I wouldn’t put it by them at all.

  14. “Donald stole the election, then the country. Do I see people in the streets?” – Huh? There are constant protests.

  15. Lucky when you buy tickets with cash you can write off on your taxes but when you use points do you write off value of points as business expense? What value do you use?

  16. Well in your analysis you mentioned “they might cancel the option to transfer to airlines so they dont have to pay huge amounts for the miles”… well that’s it duh. If they told you, you only have 1 week to transfer, wouldn’t we all transfer at the same time and have them incur in a heavy expense?
    Can you revert transfers?

  17. I’m transferring all SPG points and winding down use of my SPG cards. They announced a date for the new program sooner than many of us expected but without many details. This approach concerns me as far as any notice we may get regarding changes. Why not announce important details about the new program, such as airline transfer ratios, to reassure those loyal SPG customers instead of providing vague platitudes about value? While I believe the April 16 rumor is unlikely, at some point soon SPG as we know it will be over and airline transfers will likely be impacted. If April 16 is true then it would be a catastrophe if I didn’t move now. I’ve never understood why they would buy the goose that lays golden eggs only to kill it. Time to move on. I’m going to get some new cards to cheer myself up and I will embrace Hyatt.

  18. Is this a deja-vu moment?..I ‘ve already seen this last year from Air Berlin..only a few lnows what is happening in the back then..while upfront it is business as usual..some of my friends are still shocked and are sitting on tons of worthless miles..be prepared and trust your instincts to do what you still can..if there is anything sure..the companies will secure their own skin first..so what??.. having a PR disaster!…people are forgivable and forgetful…after a while they will come again…just throw them some imcentives and the lie of being secured is back on track again..

  19. I wouldn’t be shocked if they did. And if they do, that’s pretty much the end of my hotel chain loyalty. All the secrecy about the new program this late into the merger has me thinking that maybe they are going with the nuclear option.

  20. I usually use my points for hotel stays. My worries is more about the proposed tiers.. currently, I have Gold status ( from my Amex plat Canada). And how that will change

  21. Marriott has publicly said the combined programs would start in 2019. My guess is that the new program will be unveiled in August and start in Jan.

  22. Just wondering about the 1 spg -> 3 marriott points. Is that going to change? I have a lot of SPG points but use Marriotts more. Hate to see it go 1 to 1….

  23. I’m just in the process of applying for another SPG Amex card on the basis that the offers will go away soon. And the card will die a certain death.

    I was lucky to take out membership in Virgin America just before they closed the program. This netted a bonus when all my mile was transferred to the Alaska program on merger. I am hoping that something like this will occur with the SPG program merger.

    But you never know – certainly overnight devaluations have occurred in the past (AS-EK points value for example).

    As for transferring to AS – I am having a very difficult time finding award space on AS. A few months ago Aus/NZ – NA was wide open now there are no J seats for any dates and no availability on Qantas etc. for next year (Mar 2019). Seats seem to come and go on AS but this is so limited I am fearing that a massive devaluation of AS points is in the works and would not readily change from SPG to AS at this time.

    Hope for the best but expect the worst I suppose.

  24. There seems to be a misunderstanding about what would happen if a loyalty program’s members suddenly decided to cash out or transfer large number of points to other programs all at once.

    Rather than being catastrophic, it would actually be advantageous for Marriott or Starwood for their members to cash out millions of points because that would decrease either company’s “financial liability” due to all the points that they issued (even sold to, say, AMEX) but for which they cannot claim the corresponding cash value as revenue UNTIL THE POINTS ARE REDEEMED, FORFEITED, OR SIMPLY EXPIRE. It is why loyalty programs work so hard to get you to redeem points for all kinds of things that may be unrelated to their primary business; and that’s also why all loyalty programs have expiration dates for their points/miles or MUST devalue them. If allowed to balloon too much, a company’s financial points liability could take it down!

    Therefore, the notion that either Marriott or Starwood would suffer if there is a mad dash of members cashing out millions of points gets it totally wrong. Au contraire, it would decrease their points liability, which can run in billions of dollars, and thus make the company financially healthier. It is what SPG tried to do (decrease the points liability) when they sweetened the transfer of starpoints to airline miles, but they overdid it and ended up turning starpoints into essentially an airline rather than a hotel points currency… not.a.good.thing. I doubt Marriott will perpetuate that mistake…

  25. I don’t trust any travel company (Hotel, airline etc.) to be ethical when top management is only interested in increasing short term profits and sees customers simply as tools to use for their own personal profit and advancement.
    So yesterday I immediately transferred all of my SPG points. Whatever they do, I don’t care.

  26. Todd – I don’t believe Marriott said the new program would start in 2019, I believe they said it would be in place by 2019. I took this to mean that the new program would definitely be in place before the end of 2018, which is why I have only booked Hilton recently. Now it seems like Marriott will announce terms next week and the go date will be August 1st. What most people lose sight of is running 2 separate programs is costing Marriott a fortune, both in actual extra admin costs and the lost revenue from people like me who are booking away until they know what is going on.

  27. In view of all this – wouldn’t it be a great topic for the new OMAAT writers – to describe pros and cons of various possible transfers of SPG points?…perhaps in the process they could refresh our memory and highlight some overlooked possibilities, miles expiration in various programs, etc.
    sure, we all know where to transfer if we have a specific redemption in mind, but if you need to do it speculatively – where would you transfer and why?…

  28. a friend of mine just informed me..he tried to transfer 150.000 points to his FF acount but denied due to internal technical problem..told to try again tomorrow..I do not want to imply sth. ..does not feel positiv either..pls. no Topbonus syndrom, not again!!

  29. @farsighted99 I was wondering the same thing. I’m charging up my SPG Business Amex to get those 35k points. Got my eye on some tier 8 Marriott redemptions that will work really well at 1:3.

  30. @DCS
    Balance sheet liabilities for points have already been digested in prior P&Ls. If people transfer to miles, it reduces this liability BUT presumably, they incur a cash expense to buy the miles from airlines. And the cost of miles may (or may not, we don’t know) be higher than the liability for the outstanding points.
    So it could hit the P&L, but more importantly, it will very likely hit their cash flow, which is probably a bigger concern for them. But either way, we can’t know for sure without knowing how much they budget for their points and what the miles cost them to buy.

  31. I’m relying on an SPG conversion to American for my return ticket from Europe this summer. I’m doing the conversion this week just in case the April 16 (or thereabouts) cutoff is accurate.

  32. Lucky, I have a feeling you are overlooking a huge part of this equation. You’re assuming most frequent SPG loyalists transfer their points instead of using them for hotel stays. If that assumption is correct then sure, a sudden devaluation would suck for all those customers. But what evidence do you have that many/most of the SPG loyalists with large Starpoint balances (whatever that quantity is) do in fact transfer them to airlines? I assume Marriott’s IT is setup in such a way that executives can easily who is redeeming their Starpoints for what, in what quantities, when, etc. So if they do devalue with no or short notice then you can rest assured that they aren’t worried about hundreds of millions of Starpoints being transferred all of a sudden.

  33. It makes no sense to ‘horde’ points other than saving for a specific short-term goal. We know that points are devalued often, by as much as 10% pa, and that earning rates never increase.
    It may be comforting to have a nice nest-egg of points but it’s far better to burn them as soon as practicable.
    I’ve reduced my SPG from more than 600K to under 300K and hoping to get close to zero by the end of the year. ( my Hyatt points total has gone from 1.2 m to just 8,000; won’t be earning any more of them; IHG I use as soon as earned).

  34. @Lars – Look at Form 10-K of every company that runs a loyalty program. It states exactly how they handle their points liability (they engage professionals to do the estimate), as well as the assumptions that they make. Importantly, each company also lists its year to year points liability, which can be informative.

    Lastly, if loyalty programs awarded all their points, e.g., all at once, then the liability would be manageable. Instead the liability is highly dynamic.

    For example, if I spend $2K on stay at a Hilton property, I will earn, as HH Diamond, roughly 34HH/$ or 68K points for the stay. Assuming a redemption value of $0.005/HH points, the 68K points would be worth about:

    68K HH * $0.005/HH = $340.

    What that means that out of the $2K (+ taxes) that I spent on that stay, Hilton will not able to claim ~$340 as revenue, UNTIL I redeem the 68K points. Multiply that by millions of members that liability can be huge. One way to decrease it or keep it from getting too big is to devalue the points (that is why devaluations are fact of life in this business and I never bitch about them), or expire points that have been inactive in an account after a preset period, or declare the points forfeited for whatever reason (“breakage”).

  35. Between the wife and I, we will reduce from 800K to 400K before Monday. Not taking any chances. The remaining 400K saved for hotel nights.

  36. Lucky, thanks for your reasoned response to the rumor of April 16. When I read that comment on a few blogs yesterday, it was a bit tough to believe. As a loyal Starwood member, a fan of Marriott, and a Ritz Carlton devotee, I just can’t imagine any reckless and abrupt announcement from Marriott. Their entire effort so far has been quite fair.

    Yet while I am optimistic that this is not the beginning of the sky is falling, my 2 million SPG points are now down below a million. I applied those points on strategic use of hotel reservations for aspirational properties—meaning those that tend to cost over $700 a night before taxes, transfers to Marriott Hotel and Air packages, a portion to Alaska Airlines, and large transfers to non-domestic airlines. I was planning to do this anyway and suspect we all will know more in the coming weeks as to the best course of action.

  37. I wrote a big post yesterday about my own feelings about the various transfer options but the short answer is that I’m thinking Alaska or Korean since I fly to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan quite a bit. I like ANA too, but man that lack of one-way rewards is really limiting.

  38. Lucky, may I ask how one can accumulate more than 1 millions Starwood points? That’s a lot of points. The most I’ve accumulated with my UR in total is perhaps about 500-600K, and there’s a lot of budgeting through buying Staples gift cards.

  39. @Lars – thank you for correcting the Village Idiot, who doesn’t understand that hotel programs may actually incur hard costs when members transfer out points, and are usually better off paying a token payment to hotels for anything less than ~95% occupancy. As usual, he uses is megaphone to make a (false) proclamation about SPG, his white whale.

  40. SPG facebook have told me changes will be announced later this week. i have sent a screenshot of this message to Ben.

  41. I’m happy to have someone correct me, but I don’t see why I would choose to transfer my SPG points to an airline, but I suppose I also have more AAdvantage miles that I can use.

    The per point value of SPG to airline miles just seems so devalued when transferring to an airline unless I specifically want to try a certain first/biz class product. I’d rather spend a week in a top SPG hotel over another competitor than I would fly for 7-14 hours in a better but not that much better class of airfare.

    Am I missing something?

  42. I will keep my dignity and not respond in kind when called a ‘village idiot’ in the middle of what was otherwise a civil exchange, if that is what it will take to get this site’s offerors to begin tossing out those who would launch unprovoked and gratuitous insults to make up their clear lack of intellect.

  43. I disagree with transferring Marriott or Starpoints for airline points. The rewards when redeeming with Marriott are far more lucrative than redeeming the points for an airline ticket. Much like with the Chase points, I would only transfer Marriott or Star points if I needed a handful of points to redeem for a ticket on an airline. The airline points are being downgraded costing more points to redeem all the time. I also think that members should hoard Star or Marriott points into one account because of when the merger of these programs happen it will get messy quite quickly. I also assume that this will be similar to the United and Continental merger in that there will be a conversion period. We will have to see what happens to cardholders of SPG AmEx and how many points one would get on the new card. Many unanswered questions still. Also, the important thing is to keep members and loyal fans of both programs happy. People are either SPG enthusiasts or Marriott, but usually not both.

  44. @Tom – no one is transferring SPG to AA to redeem for DFW-MCO in Y.

    But to redeem for CX or other great non-BA Oneworld airlines in J/F, most definitely

  45. Because those would launch unprovoked insults, like ‘village idiot’, would not take the time to educate themselves, I will educate them. The following is a cut and paste from Starwood’s 2015 10K. Anyone with an ounce of gray matter between their ears will see that it says exactly what I said above and earned me the distinction of being the ‘village idiot’:

    “Frequent Guest Program. Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) is our frequent guest incentive marketing program. SPG members earn points based on spending at our owned, managed and franchised hotels, as incentives to first-time buyers of VOIs and residences, and through participation in affiliated partners’ programs such as co-branded credit cards and airline travel. Points may be redeemed at substantially all of our owned, leased, managed and franchised hotels as well as through other redemption opportunities with third parties, such as conversion to airline miles.

    We charge our owned, managed and franchised hotels the cost of operating the SPG program, including the estimated cost of our future redemption obligation, based on a percentage of our SPG members’ qualified expenditures. Our management and franchise agreements require that we are reimbursed for the costs of operating the SPG program, including marketing, promotions and communications, and performing member services for the SPG members. As points are earned, we increase the SPG point liability for the amount of cash we receive from our managed and franchised hotels related to the future redemption obligation. For our owned hotels, we record an expense for the amount of our future redemption obligation with the offset to the SPG point liability. When points are redeemed by the SPG members, the hotels recognize revenue and the SPG point liability is reduced.

    Through the services of third-party actuarial analysts, we determine the value of the future redemption obligation. This value is based on statistical formulas which project the timing of future point redemptions based on historical experience, including an estimate of the “breakage” for points that will never be redeemed, and an estimate of the points that will eventually be redeemed as well as the cost of reimbursing hotels and other third-parties for other point redemption opportunities.

    We consolidate the assets and liabilities of the SPG program including the liability associated with the future redemption obligation which is included in other long-term liabilities and accrued expenses in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. The total actuarially determined liability, as of December 31, 2014 and 2013, was $1,115 million and $1,036 million, respectively, of which $453 million and $313 million, respectively, was included in accrued expenses. A 10% decrease to the breakage estimate used in determining the future redemption obligation at December 31, 2014 would have increased the liability by approximately $38 million.”

    Q.E.D.

    Start tossing out those who would debase the tone of the debate. I tired of having to stoop to their level by responding in kind…

    G’day.

  46. DCS is too stupid to realize that Starwood was valuing points liability at about $.008 per that 10-K, and likely would be paying out over $.01 to any airline for points transferred out. Thus they do better with members redeeming points internally. ESP if they payout is ~$50 or so for a 10,000 point room as Lucky has previously noted before.

    Checkmate. You don’t know finance.

  47. An incredible and truly sad commentary that such total lack of self awareness can be allowed roam around, with hardly any nerve impulses driving their thought process.

    Gotta go.

  48. Here’s an example of the value you can get transferring to Alaska Mileage Plan 60,000 Starpoints which will give you 75,000 Alaska miles with the transfer bonus:

    Tel Aviv – Hong Kong in May on Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class, cash value $7,060
    Hong Kong – JFK in May on Cathay Pacific B777-300ER First Class, cash value $17,596

    Total Cash Value: $24,656
    Total Alaska Miles: 70,000 (one free stop-over allowed)

    Can any one find a better redemption for a hotel using 60,000 Starpoints?

  49. Keep avoiding the actual numbers and comparison I just made. You thought you were being all smart pulling numbers from the 10-K. It only buried you further in your hole of lies and alternative facts.

    Run away when defeated. You are a joke.

  50. I agree with the comments above urging an article by Lucky concerning the best airline transfer partners to consider if one were to divest out of SPG points. While I’m sure the answer is “it depends on your travel plans,” a good article looking at alternative transfers based on a reasonable set of scenarios does seem in order at this point. The scenario I’m most interested in is, of course, based upon my personal plans which are to transfer ~140k Starwood points for a mid-range (2019-2020) planned trip for 2 in J class to Australia (these points/miles would combine with other miles/points to get to the needed number). In this case, I’ve boiled down my options to Asia Miles or Alaska – but while Alaska last year looked like a winner, this year (i.e., through March 2019) award availability is next to non-existent. So, if I had to choose today, it probably would be Asia Miles. While I (mostly) doubt I need to transfer out of SPG points before Monday, I’m pretty sure I will need to do so as early as August 2018 or at least before the end of this year. I’m sure there are hundreds (if not thousands) of readers who have similar situations for which they would greatly appreciate an article of this type.

  51. Deal with people at your level. You are over-matched. It’s why you keep tossing insults around… unprovoked. Totally over-matched, with insults as the only recourse.

    Sad.commentary.

  52. Completely abstracted, as usual, is the cost in hard currency of earning 60K starpoints, and how that would compare with earning Chase UR points for the same spend, that can be redeem at 1.5cpm vs. 1.25 cpm for starpoints.

    Amazing what passes for the ultimate in wisdom.

  53. @DCS: “I will keep my dignity and not respond in kind when called a ‘village idiot’ in the middle of what was otherwise a civil exchange, if that is what it will take to get this site’s offerors to begin tossing out those who would launch unprovoked and gratuitous insults to make up their clear lack of intellect.”

    Yet again, DCS, it should be pointed out that you are not a victim. Don’t act like one.

  54. @DCS – I purchased my 60K in 30K increments for 682.50 each time to help me meet 5K spent on my Chase Ink Preferred. So I have spent $1,365 to get the 60K Starpoints and helped get 80K of UR points in the process. As far as I’m concerned as long as I get more value than I have spent to purchase them than it is well worth it. I have 300K in UR points but I cannot transfer them to Alaska or Asia Miles or ANA Miles as other’s have mentioned but I can transfer Starpoints. Bottom line is getting the biggest value out of your points no matter how you use them. I would like to see you get more value than over $24K in value.

    I can clearly see why you are not liked here with that smart ass comment you made about wisdom.

  55. DCS counter-answer the numbers I posted. Otherwise you are just trolling at this point and just resorting to pathetic insults.

    I showed you how SPG valued points liability at $.008/point. Common wisdom for airline miles are at $.010-$.012 on their own balance sheets. Ergo Starwood is better off with its loyals redeeming in-program vs. sending to airlines.

    And no, the success of the SPG AmEx didn’t take down the program. That is straight Alex Jones-level conspiracy theory…maybe you have educated yourself about him now.

  56. I hate this gloomy” have to wait” scenario..everyone is looking to SPG with huge eyes…and waiting for any hint of devaluation etc..
    Seriously Air Berlin fiasko..outstanding airlines like EY going to the xxxx….now SPG, the people’s favourite…is giving us palpitations…a week has never been long like this…

  57. Yak! Yak! Yak! Yak!

    In the internet age, information free and t everyone’s fingertip (everyone except ______, that is):

    _______________________________

    SPG 2015 10K

    Note 15: Other Liabilities

    Starpoints liability for 2014: $721M out of total ‘other liabilities” of $2.07B
    Starpoints liability for 2013: $780M out of total ‘other liabilities” of $1.90B

    _______________________________

    Those hard numbers.

    Go on yak-yaking mindless as usual.

  58. @Alex Z sez — “I can clearly see why you are not liked here with that smart ass comment you made about wisdom.”

    There goes that conversation. First, you are mistaken if you think I come here to win a popularity contest. FYI: I am here to challenge was passes for wisdom or dogma in travel — hardly how one would go about trying to be popular and make friends.

    Second, the comment about “ultimate in wisdom” was not addressed at you.

    Lastly, the notion that “I am not liked”, when there are only the same TWO detractors [see them up there?] who jump on me every time I comment is simply silly.

    Short of it: I do not wish to make you into my third constant detractors, so I will simply say that in just 2.5 years since I got the CSR and its 100K signup bonus, I have, rather effortlessly, more than quadrupled my stash of UR points, which I can redeem on any of 60+ members of the 3 major airline alliances or directly thru @1.5cpm…

    … and then I will exit without addressing you further.

    Have fun and enjoy your starpoints…while they can still do you some good.

  59. Woah! What’s this?

    “This hotel has limited participation in the SPG Program.

    SPG Participation Disclaimer
    All accommodations at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort are suites and villas; therefore, Starpoint Award reservations must be booked at a higher Starpoint rate through your local customer contact center.”

    “This hotel has limited participation in the SPG Program.

    SPG Participation Disclaimer
    All rooms at the W Maldives are villas; therefore, Starpoint Award reservations must be booked at a higher Starpoint rate through your local customer contact center.”

    So ‘aspirational’ their participation is limited!

    In the meantime, the Hilton Honors website shows availability GALORE and ONLINE @95K/night at Conrad Maldives…

    Yup, up is down and down is up!

  60. When companies get BIG then BIGGER they are essentially a MONOPOLY they can give what ever values and redemption rates they want since options are limited you are forced to use them.

  61. @ mike

    ..or just leave them behind..it is up to you in what kind of dependency you want to have with a product..there are other or probably better products..Choices and Freedom to pursue your own kind of enjoyment and luxury..

  62. I have 350,000. Marriott points accumulated when they giving points for timeshare. My first trio was air & hotel around Europe. It was great. We have just found in Canada they cut off as of March 31/18 the Marriott master card for Canada. Because I got points for the valuable time share are they rated higher or is it I can use for hotel/ air. Thanks for your help

  63. The way timeshare and hotel companies are going, I wouldn’t be surprised by any changes. But at the same time, they are looking for people to invest in their programs to keep profits. I would hope any changes to points would benefit both Marriot and Starwood as well as their current costumers. Loyalty is what keeps their customers coming back.

  64. I am putting all my SPG points into Asiana. My wife is putting hers into JAL. Even if they simply cut out the transfer bonus, we all lose 20% in value instantly. Remember Air Berlin.
    Remember how much notice Chase gave when they sliced the IHG free night in half? These companies do not care about ethics, public reaction, or anything else. Money is always the reason for everything. Why would Marriot allow a more expensive redemption of points if they can force you into a devalued hotel redemption, or a trickle of UA points at a bad ratio. We will all know Monday.

  65. @chris jensen

    agree! decide what is better and safe is for you. This Air Berlin scam still haunts a lot of FF in the industry..

  66. Big businesses merging together are usually bad news for the consumers as they create less competition in the marketplace. Look at the US airline industry mergers in the past and the quality of their customer service deteriorated while ticket prices stay high despite falling oil prices, plus they were able to charge extra fees (i.e. checked baggage fee, seat selection fee, etc) for things that used to be free before the mergers.

    I don’t expect the merger of the SPG and Marriot loyalty programs to be any different. I expect the consumers to be screwed big time going forward.

  67. I am not hedging my bets. Starpoints currently is one of the most valuable currencies out there and most versatile. However, everything hints to change. I just transferred 100k Starpoints to Amtrak as we intend to travel in a sleeper car around the US for several weeks. Can’t risk not being able to do this is in a few months. Sad, I really liked the Starwood brand and every Marriott I have stay in is just another Marriott.

  68. I’m holding both my Marriott and Starwood points, but if anyone really is going to transfer to an American or British airline, consider the Marriott Fly and Stay package.

    By transferring 90K Starwood points to Marriott, you’ll get More Airline miles than through Starwood, plus a 7 day category 1-5 Starwood stay. Even if you threw the hotel voucher away you’d come out ahead.

    That doesn’t apply to the Asian airlines or other European arilines.

  69. Conspiracy theory:

    SPG and Hyatt had the best programs. Hyatt has devalued
    HH, MR, IHG PC are much less rewarding

    While Marriott CEO says they love loyalty, now that the they have bought SPG and HY has devalued, maybe the end game was always to eviscerate the best loyalty program with reach.

    If that is what happens, I will certainly take a new look at HH. And even HY

  70. @Carl — The “best’ loyalty company and its parent company were failing on their own. Marriott CEO just picked them off the auction block. What it means it that, yes, it is a conspiracy theory (i.e., bogus theory), and that unless you believe in reverse Darwinism (i.e., Demise of the Fittest), neither SPG nor Hyatt were as good as touted (definitely not “best”)…

  71. Fueling rumors is not productive and actually could end up causing them to happen. Why report fake rumors?

  72. I’m not surprised everyone is worried, given the IHG situation. All the bloggers said “we highly doubt they would devalue benefits for the people who already have the card” and that’s exactly what they did.” I’m thinking of converting in the next couple days but I don’t know what to convert them to. The whole value was that you could transfer them at the time you needed them based on where they could do the most good.

  73. Thank you for the alert. I just spoke with a supervisor at Starwood Preferred Guest’s program, and we walked through the points to airline miles conversion rates, before and after July 15, 2018. “Old” Starwood Amex points will be converted to Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio, and conversion to airline miles will require 60,000 Marriott points to 20,000 airline miles, with 5,000 miles as a bonus if you convert 60,000 Marriott points. So far so good, for “old points.”
    BUT — After the conversion date, earnings at hotels will be three times the current earnings rate, but earnings elsewhere will only be 2 points per $. Thus, non-hotel spending of $20,000 that earns 25,000 frequent flyer miles will be replaced by a spending requirement of $30,000 (to earn 60,000 points) to convert to the same 25,000 miles. You will have to spend 50% more to receive the same miles as the old conversion rate offered.
    Combined with the devaluation of airline miles on many carriers, this merger’s new earnings/conversion requirements will be a serious barrier for continued use by people who valued the airline miles conversion features.

  74. @Mark
    Do not know why you said Starwood Amex points, as Amex is just one method of obtaining SPG points.
    You also did not seem to be talking to a Starwood representative because you mentioned earning on non-hotel spend is only 2x. Why does Starwood give you points if you go to the gas station and pay for your fuel in cash?
    In short, you post is irrelevant and useless.

  75. @James how unpleasant. If you thought I was wrong why not just ignore my question? If you needed to correct why be condescending and unpleasant?

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