Posted by William Charles on February 24, 2017
Airline Rewards

Published on February 24th, 2017 | by William Charles

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SPG Nights & Flights Vs Marriott Flight & Hotel Packages – What’s Better?

In our recent post on the best uses of 35,000 SPG points, reader Kris asked why the SPG Nights & Flights program is rarely discussed (especially in comparison to Marriott’s flight & hotel packages). I said I thought Marriott packages were better value, but I didn’t know why I thought that. Not exactly an airtight argument, so I thought I should actually compare the two to see if I was wrong in following the herd or if there was a real reason SPG nights & flights packages are largely ignored.

SPG Nights & Flights

Direct link to full details

I’m going to start with the SPG nights & flights program because people are less likely to be familiar with it. This package lets you book a five night stay at a category three or category four property and in addition receive 50,000 airline miles. The cost is as follows:

  • 60,000 SPG points for a five night stay at a category three property and 50,000 airline miles
  • 70,000 SPG points for a five night stay at a category four property and 50,000 airline miles

Only airlines that transfer to SPG at a ratio of 1:1 are eligible, meaning the following airlines are eligible: Aegean Airlines, Aeromexico Club Premier, Aeroplan/Air Canada, Air Berlin, Air China Companion, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Alitalia MileMiglia, All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club, American Airlines AAdvantage, Asia Miles, Asiana Airlines, British Airways Executive Club, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Airways, Flying Blue, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank, Jet Airways, Korean Air, LifeMiles® of Avianca, Miles and More, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Virgin Australia.

Now normally a category three property will cost you 7,000 points per night and a category four property would cost you 10,000 points per night. It’s important to remember that you get the fifth night free on SPG awards, so really we need to look at the cost of four nights normally:

  • Category three: 28,000 points
  • Category four:  40,000 points

This means we’re paying 32,000 points for 50,000 airline miles with the category three package and 30,000 points for 50,000 airline miles with the category four package. You’d normally transfer at a rate of 1:1 and then get an additional 5,000 miles per 20,000 transferred. So you’re essentially getting an additional 12,000 airline miles with the category three package and 15,000 additional miles with the category four package.

Marriott Flight & Hotels Package

Rather than discussing this in detail again, I’m going to refer you to this post where we discussed these packages in detail before.

What Package Is Better?

Honestly that really depends on what your goals are and what airline miles you want. Here are some key differences:

  • Marriott packages cost a minimum of 270,000 Marriott points (90,000 SPG points. Note this is for the packages that give the most amount of miles) vs SPG packages costing a minimum of 60,000 SPG points (180,000 Marriott points)
  • Marriott packages are for seven nights, SPG packages are for five nights
  • Marriott packages are for up to 132,000 miles, SPG packages are for 50,000 miles
    • If you took the additional 20,000/30,000 SPG points you’d save and converted these to miles it would still be a maximum of 85,000 miles with SPG – plus an additional two nights at the Marriott property. But the SPG property would likely be nicer
  • SPG has more airline partners than Marriott
  • Marriott packages can be used at all categories, SPG can be used at only category 3 and 4 properties

Our Verdict

I agree with my initial assessment that Marriott packages are better than SPG packages if your primary concern is airline miles. If your primary concern isn’t airline miles then I’d just stick to redeeming for award nights rather than going for one of these packages. For most people they will really want to see what hotels they’ll actually be able to stay at before even considering booking. I personally wouldn’t book either of these packages unless I’d a specific hotel in mind that I wanted to immediately book and had confirmed award availability as well but that’s just me.

 

 



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Tom
Tom

And of course locking in free airfare for my kid through Dec 2018 with sw companion pass makes the evaluation a complete no brainer!

Tech_Mo
Tech_Mo

If only they weren’t getting rid of this ability… would have loved to get the companion pass starting in 2018…

VK
VK

I think it’s worth mentioning that there is a 5 night package for Marriott as well. Its a hit and miss as it is for Marriott Time share owners, but there are DP’s which say that it can be done with a lot of back and forth.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/01/14/marriott-5-night-travel-packages-exist-but-theyre-secret/

Another thing is that the MR package is non-linear. Which means that after 165K/200k (5N/7N) each MR point become 1:1 for miles; which I think is very good value as each SPG point becomes 1:3 miles.

Taking my case, doing the Amex MR->SPG-MR transfer wasn’t so good as I ended with 1 Amex=1 Marriot, which was bad. But I already had close to 170K Marriott, so for the additional Amex that I plan to convert over 170 K, 1 Amex=1 Airline Mile, which looks pretty good.

I have assumed the usual rates to be 1 Marriott= 0.5 c;1 Amex= 1 c; 1 SPG=1.5 c; 1 Mile=1.5 c

Finally Marriott gets you the companion pass till March 31st as well.

sirtheta

If you aren’t a timeshare owner, the chance of you booking a 5-night Marriott hotel & air package is as close to nil as it’s possible to get (and, though I don’t give them much credence, I’ve heard rumors that Marriott may do something about people who booked 5-night packages while not being eligible).

A *ton* of people went after the timeshare packages when Southwest re-opened hotel transfer until March 31. I know someone who tried to book one in early-/mid-January over something like *two weeks* via reservation centers literally *all across the world*, at different times. If you aren’t a timeshare owner, 5-night packages are as dead as it gets.

VK
VK

Thanks for the reply and sharing other insights. Since I am aiming for the Companion Pass, I guess Marriott is the only option.

VK
VK

So here is a DP for you and you can tell your friend if he still has Marriott Points in his kitty.

Yesterday, on the second try I got the 5 day/70 Miles package for 185k Marriott (Reward code: 510T). What might have helped would be calling the Platinum helpdesk instead of the usual one.

First time when I asked this as a Platinum benefit, the CSR gave me the Timeshare gyan. Second call was done in less than 3 minutes 🙂 Got the CP today as well 🙂

If only Amex had not frozen my account, I could have juiced it to the max. But no worries.

sirtheta

In general, I’m of the opinion that the required 5-night or 7-night stays on these packages really hurts their value. To be fair, the former *is* pretty do-able, especially with how nice SPG properties are. But 7-night Marriott stays are rather infeasible for many due to the length of stay & the fact that good category 5s aren’t that easy to find—a lot of people I know spend another 30k or 60k points to upgrade to category 6/7. It’s a shame that Marriott doesn’t make the 5-nights generally available because that would be intriguing. A few notes (or rather, a tome): (1) Marriott Hotel + Air packages actually have more partners than SPG, but the transfer rate _blows_ on most of them. SPG & Marriott have the following partners in common: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air China, Air France/KLM, airberlin, Alaska, Alitalia, American Airlines, ANA, Asia Miles, Asiana, Avianca-TACA LifeMiles, British Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Korean Air, LATAM/LAN, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Saudia Airlines, Singapore, United, Virgin Atlantic. SPG’s unique partners are: Aegean, Air New Zealand, Hainan, Thai Airways, Virgin Australia. Marriott’s unique partners are: Aeroflot, Copa, Frontier, Iberia, JetBlue, Multiplus, Qantas, South African Airways, Southwest, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Virgin America. Of the partners offered by Marriott, only Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, and Virgin Atlantic get good transfer rates (50k miles as a base). Four of those are unique to Marriott (Copa/Frontier/Iberia/Southwest). (2) While Marriott packages can be used for any category (Marriott 1-9 or Ritz-Carlton Tier 1-5), I might choose to say “are offered at all categories” instead of “can be used at all categories” because hotel + air packages cost a pretty penny as you go up in category (though they’re still often worth using). A little math, proceeding from http://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi: the base, base hotel + air price is 200k for a Cat 1-5 (with additional base rates of 220k/250k/270k for increased miles—Rewards Plus/Packages 1 & 3 convert the extra points to miles at a 1:1 rate). Going up a category costs +30k unless you’re going from Ritz-Carlton Tier 1-3 to Tier 4-5, in which case it’s +120k (which, shockingly, *does* yield a consistent result). Taking into account the 5th night free benefit at all brands and using… Read more »

Chuck

You should write a post about this 🙂

SB
SB

Cmon chuck!

Cytraveler
Cytraveler

I just got the Marriott hotel+air for Southwest 120k for the companion pass. The CSR, who was quite friendly, told me that 2 weeks ago the higher ups had a meeting about whether to allow regular members (i.e., not timeshare owners) to book the 5-day option, because they have had lots of people saying they can’t use the 7 day award.

She said she hasn’t heard any decision yet on that. But maybe there’s hope for 5-day hotel options for hoi polloi?

VK
VK

800-399-4229. I want to believe it is this helpdesk only as one day earlier they gave me the stuff about the timeshare thing. Maybe I was plan lucky.

You might also insist that on an earlier call you were told about this and you are getting back after collecting the delta points. Reward category code for me was 510T.

brent
brent

@VK What status do you have with Marriott?

brent
brent

Sorry, it definitely has to do with the Platinum line. I’ve read all the data points on FT, Frequentmiler, etc.. all data points in the last 2-3 months have come from the Platinum line. I’ve tried numerous times on the regular line and have failed every time even using the method you describe.

Dave
Dave

I have Marriott Gold from SPG Gold. I wonder if if they’ll help me if I call the Plat line. Do you have Platinum status?

VK
VK

Yes I have Platinum status. But I had called the helpdesk once when I was Gold, because I was kept on hold on the normal line for a long time.

But it might be YMMV.

M M
M M

Thanks. I tried twice but failed both time. First lady did not knew about it. Second lady transferred me to the correct department.

Since my points from Chase had already been transferred, just decided to get the 7 night stay.

Reward code was 830T btw.

brent
brent

@VK What status do you have with Marriott?

VK
VK

I have platinum. But the whole transaction happened so fast that I tempted to think that the CSR did not even check my status (there is always a mix-up with my phone number).

Brent
Brent

Did you call during a weekday?

VK
VK

Yes. In the evening.

brent
brent

Sorry for so many questions. I’ve called many times. Could you tell me how your phone call went? Seems like I was about 1 week late. There was a trick where you could call on the weekend and get an fairly untrained agent to do a 5 night package, but they’ve since cut off their access. When I call now and ask for the 5 night they either quickly know that it’s not available or quickly say I don’t have that option available on my computer.

VK
VK

Np with the questions. Frankly it was a very quick call, I was ready with an explanation about what the package was and why I was calling again after notching up more points. I had to do the explanation when I called the normal desk the first time. The agent wasn’t aware of such a package and she had to check back with her manager who said only MVO’s.
When I called the plat helpdesk, it was too quick.What do you want….ok these are the options…. 185k….ok …which airline…SW….then I receive the mail.

It felt like the CSR was aware and did the whole thing quickly for me. First case on the normal helpline, it seemed like it was the first time she had heard of the package.In my opinion an untrained agent will not have heard of this and will go to his manager, who is more likely to say no.

Sorry to hear the trouble you are facing…all the best.

FunGuy
FunGuy

I need an expert advice from you guys.

I have got southwest Companion pass for my wife using Marriott 270K pkg. for myself, I got southwest card, thus I already have 63K miles for companion pass. rest I can get through the following 2 ways

1) Do a 270K Marriott Pkg for 7night/120K SW points. the only reason I haven’t done this yet is after buying this , I will be left with only 105K Marriott points and may not have enough points to upgrade the 7 night stay to Marriot 8-9 category which is where I probably I would be using them.

2) Since I only need 47K SW points from Hotel xfer, I can reach there by xfering 100K Ultimate rewards to Hyatt and then xfer them to 60K SW points.

This way compare to option 1, I will save 270K Marriott points (or 90K SPG) but will use 100K UR . but I will get 60K less SW points and will not get the 7 night certificate.

3) Last option is Xfer 50K Ultimate rewards to Hyatt (which will give 30K SW) and 75K Marriott into 25K SW.
This way compare to option 1, I will save 195K Marriott points but will use 50K UR . I will get 60K less SW points and will not get the 7 night certificate. Either of options 2 or 3 will leave me more than 250k-300K Marriott points in case I need to upgrade my package.

Do you think are there any better options ? I do have tons of AMEX MR (300K+), Chase UR (300K+) , Club Carlsons (200K+), Avios (300K+), Thankyou pts (80K) etc. If not, which one would you suggest me to go with ?

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