Today, Marriott announced the first joint promo for Q1 2017 (or is it T1? We only see 3 promos a year usually) between the (somewhat) newly merged Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG brands – and I’ll put it as they did – “Better Together”.
It’s been a long-winded courtship, and now that the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and SPG brands now sit
awkwardly comfortably under the Marriott household, they’ve announced they’ll be offering the same promotion for Q1 2017. See below for the deets:
- Registration: December 15, 2016 – March 15, 2017
- Earning Period: January 16, 2017 – April 15, 2017
- Double points on all stays at any property between the three brands. No exceptions (!)
- On your first three stays, earn an additional round of double points – effectively, that’s 4x the points per dollar spent on your first three stays.
Since the brands are still settling into their new union, they aren’t fully integrated yet, so you’ll unfortunately have to register for each portfolio that is, Marriott/Ritz-Carlton and SPG separately. Links here:
- Landing page for all three here, but registration for each parent company below:
*Side note – since your Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Rewards number should be the same, you should only have to register for the promo once between the two.
When I entered my details to opt into the SPG promo, I was greeted with a pop up after successfully signing up, letting me know I had the opportunity to earn an additional 15,000 Starpoints with the following earning structure starting on my fourth stay:
- 10,000 bonus Starpoints after staying 20 nights
- Earn an additional 500 Starpoints per night, after your 20th night, up to 5,000 points
Some Things to Remember
While all properties are participating in this promotion, you’re still earning points for each portfolio separately (counting Marriott and Ritz-Carlton as one). This means – your can effectively earn 4x the points on your first three stays for each portfolio – which could mean 4x the points on 6 stays (if you play your cards right).
On the downside, if you’re gunning to hit 35 nights with that SPG promo, stays at the other portfolios will not yield you nights towards the minimum requirements. Remember – you can’t use your SPG account number when staying at a Marriott or Ritz Carlton property. While those accounts are linked and receive reciprocal, you still have to use the respective account for each property.
Maximizing Your Earning Potential
If you happen to hold one of the co-branded cards, using these on your stay will definitely maximize your earning potential. Here’s a breakdown for some great ways to maximize your stay at each portfolio:
- Marriott Visa – Earn 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott or Starwood properties
- SPG American Express – Earn 2 points per dollar spent Starwood or Marriott properties
- Ritz-Carlton Visa – Earn 5 points per dollar spent at Ritz-Carlton or Marriott properties
While the website doesn’t explicitly call this out (not sure if this is because they consider Ritz Carlton fully absorbed into the Marriott portfolio, so they don’t feel they need to call these properties out separately), but I confirmed with both SPG and Ritz-Carlton that you’ll also earn the bonus points across all three portfolios if you pay with any of the cards mentioned above – that is, pay with your SPG American Express at a Ritz-Carlton and earn 2x the points per dollar (but not the qualifying elite nights), or pay with your Ritz-Carlton Visa at a Starwood property and earn 5 points per dollar.
A decent option, if you don’t happen to have a co-branded card, is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which will earn you 3 points per dollar spent at any of the portfolio properties (or well, any hotel, really). These transfer at a rate of 1:1 to Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Rewards, which effectively get you 3 Rewards points per dollar spent, which is not terrible. However, if you plan on further moving these into your SPG account, you’ll get it at a low transfer rate of 1 point per dollar spent.
It’s interesting to see the merger is well on its way with their first ever semi-joint promotion. While I’m glad that SPG has a bonus option, I don’t think I’ll be hitting 35 nights by March this year (what with my road warrior days behind me). For those who have the 35 booked nights, the bonus points are fantastic, but for those who don’t have plans on spending 35 nights between January and March, this might be a bit of a challenge.
IHG has announced their Accelerate promotion for Q1 2017, while Hyatt and Hilton have not released word on upcoming promos.
This promotion is similar-ish to the promotion SPG had in Q1 earlier this year, albeit more straightforward (yes, if you thought this was complicated – there were more strings last time around!). I’m not complaining, I’m always up for a chance to earn more bonus points.
Also – anyone else catch that the promotion starts after MLK weekend?
Are you planning a stay at a Marriott/Starwood/Ritz-Carlton property early next year? Any plans of moving your stays around in light of the promotion? Drop us a line in the comments!