Published on February 17th, 2017 | by William Charles47
What’s The Best Use Of 35,000 SPG Points?
American Express has just recently increased the sign up bonus on their two SPG cards:
- American Express SPG Personal Card Offers Now 35,000 Points
- American Express SPG Business Card Offers Now 35,000 Points
The Personal card requires a total spend of $5,000 and the business card requires a total spend of $8,000. The only bonus categories are SPG properties (and now Marriott/Ritz-Carlton with a reciprocal earning agreement) – they earn 2x points. For the purposes of this post we’re going to assume that the minimum spend requirement is all on 1x purchases. This means after the minimum spend requirement has been met you’ll have:
- 40,000 SPG points if you signed up for the personal card
- 43,000 SPG points if you signed up for the business card
- 83,000 SPG points if you signed up for both cards
Marriott 3x Transfer
Before we get started with what the best uses are, it’s important to remember that you can transfer SPG points to Marriott points at a rate of 1:3. If you transferred all your points to Marriott you’d end up with:
- 120,000 Marriott points if you signed up for the personal card
- 129,000 Marriott points if you signed up for the business card
- 249,000 Marriott points if you signed up for both cards
SPG let’s you transfer points to their massive list of airline partners at a rate of 1:1. You can view all those options below:
|SPG Airline Transfer Partners (1:1 unless otherwise specified)|
|AeroMexico||Asiana Airlines||Korean Air|
|Aegean Miles+Bonus||British Airways Executive Club||LAN Airlines LANPASS Kms|
|Aeroplan/Air Canada||Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Lufthansa Miles and More|
|Air Berlin||China Eastern Airlines||Qatar Airways|
|Air China Companion||Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||Emirates Skywards||Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Air New Zealand & Air Points (65:1)||Etihad Airways||Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||Gol Smiles||United MileagePlus (2:1)|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||Hainan Airlines||US Airways Dividend Miles|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||Hawaiian Airlines||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||Virgin Australia Velocity|
In addition to that for every 20,000 points you transfer you, you get a bonus 5,000 miles. That means:
- 50,000 airline miles if you signed up for the personal card
- 53,000 airline miles if you signed up for the business card
- 103,000 airline miles if you signed up for both cards
This is a good option for those that need more airline miles (especially in a program that doesn’t transfer from Chase UR, American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points). Obviously the best value comes when you’re transferring exactly in increments of 20,000 points.
Marriott Flight & Hotel Packages
Marriott offer flight & hotel packages, these give you airline miles and also seven nights at Marriott properties. They have several different packages available, airlines are separated into each of these five packages as follows:
- Package Zero (this is the United package. These come with a bonus 10% miles over the next best package)
- Package 1
- Package 2
- Package 3
- Package 4
The only packages/airlines worth considering are Package Zero (United), Package 1 & Package 3 (Southwest). The rest of the packages give a much lower amount of miles/points that isn’t worth considering. This leaves us with the following airlines:
- United (10% bonus)
- Southwest (companion pass, this will only work until March 31st, 2017)
- Air Canada
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways,
- Copa Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Below is an image of those packages mentioned above.
As you can see above, if you want additional miles or free nights at a higher category property the package becomes more expensive in Marriott points. You get the best value when you redeem your Marriott points for more miles, as after the lowest level you’re basically just trading your Marriott points to miles at a rate of 1:1. For example you could pay 200,000 Marriott points for a 7 night category 1-5 package with 50,000 Southwest points or pay 270,000 Marriott points and get 120,000 Southwest points (in this case you’re paying an extra 70,000 Marriott points for 70,000 Southwest points – something pretty much everybody would be happy to do).
Even if you get both cards you won’t have enough Marriott points to get the packages with the most miles (these are also the best value mentioned above) but Chase does offer Marriott credit cards. The best offers currently are as follows:
- Chase Marriott Card Back Up To 80,000 Points (+7,500 For Authorized User, AF Not Waived) (use a reader’s referral link)
- Chase Marriott Business 80,000 Points, AF Not Waived
Keep in mind that the Chase Marriott Business card is excluded from the Chase 5/24 rule, but the Chase Marriott Personal card is not.
If you can get enough points for these packages they can represent good value, just make sure you’re actually able to use the seven night certificates and have a solid plan for them as well. You can also pay additional Marriott points at a later stage to upgrade your seven night certificates (it should also be possible to downgrade them, but this is more difficult).
They also have five night packages, unfortunately these are restricted to time share owners only. If you don’t own a time share and have recently gotten a five night package please let us know in the comments.
SPG Award Nights
Unlike other hotel loyalty programs, it doesn’t cost a lot of points for some SPG redemptions. Their award chart is as follows:
Category one & two properties are 2,000/3,000 points on weekends, but only category three properties and above qualify for the fifth night free benefit.
If you’re redeeming for category 6 & 7 properties then you’re not going to get great value, but 3-5 and especially 1-2 category properties can provide a lot of value. Let’s look at just how many free nights you’d get from the personal card sign up bonus + minimum spend requirement (40,000 points).
- Category one: 20 – 13 free nights
- Category two: 13 – 10 free nights
- Category three: 5 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free, so six total nights would be possible)
- Category four: 4 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free, so six total nights would be possible)
- Category five: 3 – 2 free nights
- Category six: 2 – 1 free night
- Category seven: 1 free night
Obviously in a lot of those cases you’re going to have some left over points as well.
I personally find a lot of value in SPG stays but everybody is different and it really depends on what level of luxury you want and where you want to travel to.
Marriott Award Nights
Marriott also offers a fifth night free benefit, they do not have any category restriction like SPG. Their award chart is as follows:
This is similar to SPG, although I personally don’t find as many useful properties in the lower categories. Let’s look at just how many free nights you’d get from the personal card sign up bonus + minimum spend requirement (120,000 points after transferring from SPG at a 1:3 rate).
- Category one: 20 – 16 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free)
- Category two: 16 – 12 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free)
- Category three: 10 – 8 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free)
- Category four: 8 – 6 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free)
- Category five: 6 – 4 free nights (plus ability to get fifth night free)
- Category six: 4 – 4 free nights
- Category seven: 3 -4 free nights
- Category eight: 3 free nights
- Category nine: 3 – 2 free nights
As I said before, I find less useful properties in the bottom tier for Marriott. That being said three free nights in their top tier properties is pretty good value. Just make sure you see what’s actually available before locking Marriott in as an option.
Hopefully this post helps some readers decide on what to do with their points, I enjoy writing these posts so I hope you enjoy reading them. I’d like to know your thoughts on what you think is the best value and what you will be using your points on in the comments below.