The big news of the past week was the official close of the merger between Marriott & Starwood hotels which occurred yesterday. Quite impressively, you can already transfer points back and forth between the Starwood and Marriott reward programs at a 1:3 ratio (1 Starpoint equals 3 Marriott Point). As a result of this new ability to transfer points, this opens up an indirect offer for a Marriott signup bonus that is NOT subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule and that is the 25,000 point signup bonus on both the American Express Starwood personal and business cards.
As I blogged about earlier this week, the signup bonus changed on the American Express Starwood cards to two free nights valid at a category 1 to 5 hotel but that offer pales in the comparison to the old standard offer of 25k points as the points offer much more versatility, even more so now with the option to transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio. In order to get the 25k point signup offer, you need to be referred by someone who is a current cardholder. While you don’t need to use my referral links, I’ve included them below (thanks for your support!).
Currently only the personal Marriott personal credit card is subject to 5/24 so you could actually still obtain the business Marriott card which currently has an 80k point offer which is a bit better than this offer. But for those who already have the business version or are unable to apply for one (due to a lack of a business for example), the Starwood card is a great alternative to quickly rack up Marriott points. Of course if you are not subject to 5/24 and you don’t have a business, there is nothing stopping you from picking up a Marriott personal card AND a Starwood personal card so you could double up on the signup bonuses.
As an aside, there has been a lot of digital ink spilled about the merger, the transfer opportunities and new sweet spot redemptions such as now transferring Starpoints to United at a favorable ratio or using Starpoints for the Southwest Companion pass. There have been many great posts on this but my favorite was Frequent Miler’s take who I think did a great summarizing some of the new opportunities that exist – I highly recommend reading his post.
I think highlighting this SPG offer as a way to get around 5/24 on the personal card is pretty noteworthy and while some bloggers mentioned it, I think it got buried with all the other SPG/Marriott news. I have to admit I’m pleasantly surprised by the progress of the merger and how consumer friendly the actions taken thus far are (1:3 ratio, unlimited transfers back & forth between the two programs etc.). I’d imagine this will last until the new rewards program is in place which won’t be till next year and I can only hope the new program combines both the positive elements of the SPG and Marriott programs.