Why Marriott Travel Packages are exceptional for Avios if you have lots of SPG points

In my discussion of the implications of Marriott’s decision to transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points into Marriott Rewards at the ratio of 1:3, I said that Marriott Travel Packages looked a very good deal.

Today I want to go into this in more detail.

Marriott Travel Packages allow you to redeem large quantities of Marriott Rewards points for 7 nights in a Marriott hotel plus a large pile of airline miles.

I have never focused on them before because of the sheer volume of Marriott points needed.  Because you can’t easily earn Marriott Rewards via credit card spending or Amex Membership Rewards transfers, it meant that very few UK residents would find them useful.

This has now changed.  It is now fairly easy to build up a large pile of Marriott Rewards points:

You can boost your existing Marriott Rewards stash by transferring across any Starwood points, or by converting any Amex Membership Rewards points to Starwood (at 2:1) and then onto Marriott (as 1:3)

You can earn 3 Marriott Rewards points per £1 by getting the Starwood American Express card (my review) and transferring the SPG points you earn to Marriott

You can earn 30,000 Marriott Rewards points via the sign-up bonus on the Starwood American Express card (my review)

You can earn 30,000 Marriott Rewards points via the sign-up bonus on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card (my review) which is free for the first year

You can earn 45,000 Marriott Rewards points via the sign-up bonus on the American Express Platinum card (my review)

How does a Marriott Travel Package work?

This page of the Marriott website outlines all you need to know.  There are different deals for different airlines.  In this article I am looking at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Here is the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic conversion chart.  Remember that you need to divide these numbers by three to get to the relevant number of Starwood points (click to enlarge):

As you can see, 270,000 Marriott Rewards points (90,000 Starwood points) will get you 7 nights in a Marriott Group Category 1-5 hotel AND 120,000 Avios points.

This is a very attractive deal.

At present, if you convert 90,000 Starwood points to British Airways or Virgin you will receive 110,000 Avios points or Flying Club miles.

If you move those 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott Rewards and redeem for this travel package, you will receive 120,000 miles AND 7 nights in a Marriott Category 1-5 hotel!

If you want a more luxurious hotel, you can use you more points.  Let’s take the JW Marriott in Venice where I was in August and which I reviewed here.

That is a Category 9 hotel, not surprisingly given the €400+ per night cost.  If you have 130,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points, they would convert into 390,000 Marriott points.  That would get you:

7 nights at the JW Marriott in Venice, worth at least £2,500

and

120,000 Avios points or Virgin Flying Club miles

You are getting around 2.5p of value per Starwood point in this case.

The only downside of these packages if that you may not want to stay for a week in the same hotel.  Even if you do, there is no guarantee that reward nights will be available for a seven night block.  The Marriott call centre can book stays with a mix of paid and free nights, for example an 8 night stay which had 3 free nights, 1 paid night in the middle due to no reward availability and then 4 free nights on the end.

To be clear – the miles are dropped into your airline account. You do NOT need to use them for a redemption linked to your stay. You can spend the miles as you please.

Now that you can convert into Marriott Travel Packages, there is NO reason at all to transfer large volumes of Starwood points into Avios or Virgin miles via SPG.

You can learn more about Marriott Travel Packages here.

I have more to write about ways of exploiting the Starwood and Marriott deal to your advantage ….

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

25% bonus on TopCashback transfers to Avios - and get 625 Avios when you join for free!
Bits: bonus Heathrow Rewards points, Coutts credit card changes, South African Airways sale
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. John Gallagher says:

    What should I do for the best here>>>>>

    I have 22k Starwood points and 400k Amex points and am looking to stay for 7 nights in Cape Town in February 2017?
    What should be my best approach for booking via Marriott Rewards (all schemes UK based, Now Gold in Marriott thanks to status match)

    • John Gallagher says:

      just to add – I’m looking to stay at a category 4 property in Cape Town.
      Do I also get my Gold benefits on a reward stay?

      • Yes, not a problem.

        The Protea hotels that Marriott just bought in South Africa are very cheap for rewards if I remember correctly compared to paying cash.

        You would want to use all your SPG points and then just transfer enough Amex to SPG, and then to Marriott, to get to what you need for a travel package.

        Remember that Marriott does NOT, unlike SPG, have ‘guaranteed last room availability’ on reward nights so you want to be sure the availability is there.

        • John Gallagher says:

          thank you Raffles
          Have do I check Marriott award availability – log-in to Marriott and do a serach using points I get for 7 nights120,00 points per stay or R2,793 per night? (R2,793 = £157 x7 = £1,099)

          Can I assume as it’s quoting 120,000 points then it’s availbale for redemption?

          I have 22,822 SPG points to transfer to Marriott. How many Amex points do I thus need to transfer to SPG and then to Marriott?

          If I end up with the necessary 120,000 Marriott points how many BA avios will this also give me along with the 7 nights in a 1-5 category hotel?

          Thanks again

          • Transfer 35k MR points.
            You’d get no avios as this is not a travel package but a simple hotel booking.

          • If it shows as available on points for all 7 nights then you are fine. 120,000 points is just the straight redemption though without going via a travel package so you get no Avios.

            If you want Avios as well then you need to redeem for the travel package version.

            Room only redemption would need 40,000 SPG so move enough Amex (at 2:1) to get to 40,000. The travel package would need 90,000 SPG so a similar calculation.

            The question you need to ask is whether it is worth (to you) using the extra Amex points in order to get 120,000 Avios.

          • John Gallagher says:

            I think I’m getting there slowly……

            so I could transfer 80,000 Amex to get 40,000 SPG to get 120,000 Marriot points to get 7 nights in category 4 gotel which saves £1,099

            or I could transfer 180,000 Amex to get 90,000 SPG to get to get 270,000 Marriot points to get 7 nights in category 4 hotel which saves £1,099 and 132,000 BA avios

            are both my calcs above correct?
            if so then I’m effectively using 100,000 Amex points to generate the extra 132,000 avois?

          • It is 120k Avios – you only get 132,000 if you take United Airways miles.

            And actually, as you already have SPG points, you would use those first and only add on whatever Amex points were needed.

            However, if we purely use your example, this is the issue: you can, any day, transfer 100k Amex into 100k Avios via a normal transfer. You obviously get 20,000 additional Avios this way. However, unless you have a definite plan for the Avios, you may prefer for now to keep your points sitting in Amex in case a good non-Avios redemption comes along.

          • I thought you already had 22,822 SPG points?

  2. Colin mackinnon says:

    Before rushing to merge you SPG account, why not sign up separately for your Martiott account and claim your two stays and get a free night deal?

  3. Just checked into the Ritz Carlton, booked it this morning and upgraded to a suite. 16,000 SPG’s. Not bad.