A question that has been asked by many and to which I have not had the answer to is ‘What will the Membership Rewards conversion rate be to the new Marriott/SPG program”! Many American Express cardholders (primarily Cobalt and Gold Rewards Card) have been wondering this and now we have the answer:
We now know that the conversion ratio will be 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 1,200 new Marriott/SPG points. (Source American Express website)
How does this compare to the current rates? It is a slight devaluation but not too bad at all. The current transfer rate is 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Starpoint, which equates to 3 Marriott Rewards points. To compare apples to apples, currently 1,000 Membership Rewards Points will net you 1,500 Marriott Rewards points and for the new program you will only get 1,200 Marriott/Starwood points. This is a 20% devaluation and while all devaluations aren’t good it’s not as bad as some had predicted but not as good as other predicted. Some people were thinking it would drop to 1:1 (1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,000 Marriott/SPG points) while myself was being hopeful they would keep the equivalent of the current rate and go 1:1.5 (1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 Marriott/SPG points)
So what does this mean for the Amex cards that allow conversions to SPG? Well the front runner since last fall has been the American Express Cobalt card earns 5 points per dollar on eats and drinks which equals 2.5 Starpoints. With the new conversion rate 5 points will now convert to 6 points in the new program (divide that by 3 and you are getting equivalent of 2 Starpoints per dollar which is still quite strong). For the American Express Gold Rewards card which earns 2 points per dollar on gas, groceries, drug store and travel purchases that equates to one Starpoint per dollar will drop to the equivalent of 0.8 Starpoints on those purchases or 2.4 points in the new program. As you can see the Cobalt card is still a strong Marriott/SPG earner however and the American Express Gold Rewards card still comes out ahead of the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.
If you want to make sure you still get the most Starpoints for your Membership Rewards points you’ll want to redeem by July 26 as the transfers will be unavailable from July 27 to August 9 after which the new rate will take effect.