Sure, the title is a little bit clickbaity but the message is real. If you have AMEX Membership Reward or Membership Reward Select Points and want to maximize your Marriott points, you need to transfer them to SPG right now because a devaluation is a comin’.
The Current Transfer Ratio
Right now, in order to get Marriott points from your Membership Rewards, you need to transfer them through the SPG program. You can transfer 2 Membership Rewards to 1 SPG point. From there, assuming you’ve linked your SPG and Marriott account, you can transfer 1 SPG to 3 Marriott points, so basically:
2 MR –> 1 SPG –> 3 Marriott
Let’s work in 1,000 point increments so you can see the results between the old ratio and the new ratio:
1,000 MR –> 500 SPG –> 1,500 Marriott
The New Transfer Ratio
American Express has just released the new transfer ratio to Marriott as the SPG program will cease to exist in August. Spoiler … it’s not great but not horrible.
Let’s use that 1,000 point example again to see the result:
1,000 MR –> 1,200 Marriott
This means that there will be a 300 point Marriott reduction on a 1,000 point MR transfer, which is a 20% depreciation of Membership Reward points.
What Should I Do?
I think it’s fairly obvious but if you have some AMEX Membership Rewards available, you need to transfer them IMMEDIATELY. I don’t know if you caught the fine print but there is a very important date to keep in mind.
According to the AMEX posted information, as of August 4th, the transfer program to SPG will end, however, AMEX is “conveniently” doing maintenance on their system to facilitate these types of transfers from July 27 – August 9th, so effectively, your last day to take advantage of the better transfer ratio is July 26th.
It couldn’t last forever but I’ve been very pleased with the arbitrage opportunity that has been in place for the last couple of years since Marriott’s acquisition of SPG. While the news sucks, at least we have 5 days to make those last minute transfers. In our experience here at PointsNerd, AMEX MR transfers to SPG take 1 day but that could change due to the expected onslaught of people making requests.
If you don’t know what you want to do with those Marriott points, check out our post about the point requirements for hotel stays but your best value is to redeem for the Marriott Travel Packages ASAP.
Act now. Don’t hesitate and miss this opportunity.
Very displeased with what’s happening here.
SPG Amex has a reduced earn rate. Amex MR have a reduced transfer rate. AND the number of points required for a redemption – particularly for travel packages – is going up.
Is it even worth collecting these points anymore?!
Thanks for this post and heads up, Brian! I was sitting on the fence about transferring my remaining modest amount of Cobolt MRs so decided to pull the trigger given the devaluation.
Assuming that I wish to transfer my MR to aeroplan am I better off just to transfer directly to Aeroplan at the 1:1 rate ? OR should I transfer the MR to spg now, at the 2:1 rate, convert to marriott and then wait to transfer them into Aeroplan ? I think I may be out-thinking myself. Thanks.
Convert to SPG then to Marriott and purchase the Travel Package prior to August. That’s the best value
I have just signed in to my MR account and try to transfer 33,000 points to my SPG account, expect to see 16,500 SPG points 1:2 ratio however it is showing 11,000 SPG points which is 1:3 ratio, so I have cancelled the transaction.
Please advise if I did something incorrectly?
The ratio is 1:3
Thanks for the heads up. Cleaned out my AMEX MR and pushed them to SPG.
What’s the deal here? By reading this article are you suggesting we transfer all MR to SPG and hold? or MR to SPG to Marriott to FN?
Those who do not have enough SPG to get the FN packages do you still complete the MR to SPG to Marriott transfer?
If you have Amex MR and were on the fence about whether or not to transfer to SPG then do it now. If you have enough to get a travel package do it now.
So I dont see any reason for me to transfer my MR points to spg at a 2:1 ratio and let them convert to Marriott unless i was getting the hotel pkg. i may as well leave them in membership rewards and then transfer to an airline from there or am i missing something. Im in the canadian program.
Great info Brian tranferred all points to Travel Packages. Totally the right thing to do.
I think the best to do now is to continue using the Cobalt Card.
While not as good as before, it is still the best available.
The travel pkg is out but the straight transfer of miles looks OK for now.
Interesting data point – I just now called to extend a 7 night package which was set to expire – took them a very long time to do it, and the emails I received as confirmation called the new one a “partial package”, with 45k points being used. Not sure if this reflects new valuations…
No, this is always the way it has shown in the past. That is the number of points you would receive if you cancelled the 7 night certificate to get points back.
On another note, just transferred my remaining cobalt points today. Decided to hold onto the regular membership rewards points for potential future transfer to an airline.
I will keep collecting Cobalt points for groceries and restaurants. At the new transfer ratio, $10,000 in spend will be 50,000 cobalt points, which is 60,000 Marriott points which is 25,000 airline miles, so 2.5 airlines miles per Canadian dollar, still the best deal going, I think.
I would imagine that the SPG card was your go to for everyday unbonused spend up until today. What card are you using/recommending for everyday spend now?
I would recommend the American Express Cobalt card due to the 5x bonus at grocery stores and restaurants.
With the date now Sept 27. What do you suggest we do with the Cobalt points now?