Through November 31, 2016, United MileagePlus is offering a transfer bonus when you move points over from a hotel loyalty program.
- Transfer from most chain hotels earn a 25% bonus
- Transfers from Club Carlson earn a 40% bonus
- Transfers from Choice Privileges earn a 50% bonus
Since Marriott bought Starwood, one of the benefits the company has announced to members of both loyalty programs is the ability to transfer reward points between accounts. 1 SPG points = 3 Marriott Rewards and vice versa.
So if you transferred 19k SPG points to 57k Marriott Rewards (1:3), and then transferred 56k Marriott Rewards to United, you would have 25k United miles before considering the transfer bonus. With the transfer bonus, you’d have a total of 31,250 United miles.
What about the orphaned 1k Marriott Rewards?
They’re not actually orphaned because you can transfer them right back to SPG, at a rate of 3:1. So you’d get 333 SPG points back, leaving your final equation looking like this:
18,667 SPG points -> 31,250 United miles
Maximizing the United Bonus Miles You Can Earn
One of the terms of the United transfer bonus promotion is that you can’t earn more than 20k bonus United miles.
Turn 56k SPG points into 168k Marriott Rewards (1:3). 168k Marriott Rewards turns in to 75k United Miles at the normal rate, and when you factor in the transfer bonus of 18,750 United miles (25% of 75k), you have 93,750 United miles.
Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages
If you’re not familiar with Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages, Scott wrote about them in his post about the new relationship of the programs after Marriott bought SPG. They represent the greatest value when considering Marriott points redemptions.
Stacked with the current United transfer bonus, they’re an even better deal.
For example, if you transferred 90k SPG points to 270 Marriott Rewards (1:3), you can use them to purchase seven nights at category 1-5 Marriotts + 132,000 United miles, and with the current United transfer bonus you’d actually get a total of 152,000 United miles (20k is the maximum bonus miles you can earn).
90k SPG points in exchange for seven hotel nights at category 1-5 Marriotts and 152,000 United miles is an incredible deal– that’s a 68.9% transfer bonus! You’d have a year to use the hotel certificate for seven nights, but Dan’s Deals reports that Marriott will extend it’s expiration date an additional year if you contact them. Despite whether or not you used the free nights certificate, a 68.9% transfer bonus is still awesome and an even better transfer bonus than the prior two examples.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Do not transfer SPG points to United MileagePlus directly. SPG points transfer at a ratio of 2 SPG points to 1 United mile normally, so even with the transfer bonus you’d still lose (for example, 20k SPG points = 10k United miles, plus the 25% bonus = 12.5k United miles).
How to Get SPG Points
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express comes with 25k bonus SPG points after spending $3,000 in three months.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN comes with 25k bonus SPG points after spending $5,000 in three months.
Through the end of November, United will give you at least 25% more United miles for transferring over your hotel points.
Since Marriott bought Starwood, you can transfer points between the two loyalty programs at a rate of 1 SPG point to 3 Marriott Rewards. The transfer rate between SPG and United is a not a good one (2:1), but if you take advantage of the Marriott transfer rate before transferring to United, you can turn your SPG points into a lot more United miles– enough to justify speculative transfers in my opinion. We value SPG points at 2.5 cents each and United miles at 1.6 cents each, so I’d rather have $500 (31,250 United miles x .016) than $466.68 (18,667 SPG points x .025).
Important Promotion Terms & Conditions
- A maximum of 20K bonus miles is allowed per United account
- You should receive bonus miles by January 31, 2017
- Transfers from hotel loyalty programs made until November 30, 2016 are eligible for the bonus miles
Hat tip Dans Deals