Marriott has just improved its loyalty program for Canadians yet again, with the Marriott Rewards Visa credit card and the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express.
Canadian cardholders will now be able to earn more points when staying at a Marriott or Starwood property.
The new earning opportunities are the most recent changes Marriott has made since acquiring Starwood Hotels. Earlier this year, Marriott allowed members from the Marriott Rewards, SPG and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs to link and transfer their points at no additional cost between programs.
Expanded Earning Opportunities For Cardholders
The changes to Canada’s Marriott Rewards Visa card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card are as follows:
1. Beginning today, SPG Amex Cardmembers in Canada earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar they spend at a participating SPG or Marriott property worldwide – double the usual 1 Starpoint – until November 2017!
2. Beginning December 1, 2016, Canadian Marriott Rewards Visa credit cards will earn 5 Marriott Rewards points at all participating SPG and Marriott hotels worldwide.
With the new point transfer program, 3 Marriott points equal 1 SPG point and 1 SPG point equals 3 Marriott points. As a result, there seems to be a nice arbitrage opportunity available for cardholders.
If you’re going to stay at a Marriott or SPG hotel, you’ll earn 6 Marriott points using your SPG credit card, as opposed to 5 points using your Marriott Rewards card. You end up with 6 Marriott points because you get 2 SPG points, which then transfer to Marriott points at a rate of 3 Marriott points for every SPG point. So your 2 SPG points convert to 6 Marriott points.
With over 30 hotel brands in 120 countries, Marriott and SPG credit card holders have an unprecedented number of hotels to stay at and take advantage of reward and redemption opportunities.
The Marriott-SPG Tandem Credit Card Opportunity
Both the Starwood Preferred Guest and the Marriott Rewards credit cards are some of the more valuable travel credit cards in the Canadian market, each with very unique value propositions.
We like the Marriott Rewards Visa card because it waives the first year annual fee, has a welcome bonus of 30,000 points (up to 4 free nights), an annual free night coupon on your anniversary each and every year and is one of the only credit cards in Canada to have no foreign transaction fees.
We like the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express, because it has a very attractive earn rate of over 2.2% per dollar spent, comes with a welcome bonus of 20,000 points (up to 5 free nights), offers extreme flexibility allowing you to transfer your SPG points to over 150 airline programs at no extra cost including Aeroplan, and gives you a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer 20,000 points to another loyalty program – like Aeroplan!
Anyone who has the Marriott Rewards or Starwood credit card, should get the other, if for no other reason than the sign-up bonus points alone. For example, if you have the Starwood card, why not get the Marriott Rewards Visa card? It comes with no annual fee in the first year and 30,000 Marriott points which can be converted to 10,000 Starpoints. With no annual fee, it’s an absolutely free way to get an additional 10,000 Starpoints.
Similarly if you’re a Marriott points collector, if you get the Starwood credit card, you’ll get a 20,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus, which you can then transfer to Marriott rewards at a rate of 3:1, netting you 60,000 Marriott points just for signing up!
With the new and improved earning opportunities at Marriott and Starwood Hotel properties, both of these cards could prove to be a powerful Canadian combo to earn free hotel nights and maximize rewards during your hotel stays.