I’m not sure if it happened overnight, but this morning when I logged into my Marriott account I was greeted by the graphic above, letting me know that I could now link my Marriott Rewards account and my Starwood Preferred Guest account. Marriott purchased Starwood earlier this year, and it appears that they’re finally letting all of their members redeem their points at one or the other (or Ritz-Carlton hotels for you fancy pants travelers).
I’ve been a pretty loyal Marriott user over the years, but this past summer when we were in Montreal we stayed at an SPG hotel for the first time, so I decided to go through the process of linking my accounts. It was a super easy process, and once that was complete I had the option of switching points between my two accounts.
You can switch from Marriott to Starwood and vice versa, and there’s no need to switch all of your points at one time. I’ve been sitting on 5,670 Marriott points for some time (because we started using my husband’s account primarily) and I earned 3,004 Starpoints this summer.
3,000 Starpoints is equal to 9,000 Marriott Rewards Points, while 5,000 Marriott Points is equal to 1,666 Starpoints. I think the fact that Marriott has decided against folding Starpoints into Marriott Rewards Points (at least for now) and that the points don’t have equal value will make some people happy. I have a few friends who were pretty upset when the Starwood acquisition was announced because they didn’t want to get stuck with the Marriott reward system.
Personally, I like having options! Thanks to the merger, I now have enough points for a free hotel at either a Marriott property or a Starwood property. After browsing, I found some Starwood hotels that I could book for as little as 4,000 points, and when we travel to Michigan we normally stay at a Marriott property that “costs” 10k points.
If you staunchly prefer Marriott to Starwood or Starwood to Marriott, it doesn’t appear that you will be forced to merge your account, at least not yet.
What do you think about the merger? Do you prefer one system or the other, or will you toggle between the two to get the best deal with the points you accrue?