Marriott Rewards & Starwood Preferred Guest programs now match each others status after linking the accounts due to Starwood now being part of Marriott.
The way how status match is handled between Marriott and SPG status levels opens up opportunities for both loyalty program members. If you have elite status with either or both chains, you should link the accounts immediately.
You can access the page to link the programs here.
SPG Gold = Marriott Gold
Marriott Rewards is here overly generous. You can get SPG Gold by having one stay in Asia-Pacific (read more here) and it is also benefit of some credit cards.
SPG Gold comes with limited benefits and only requires 10 nights while Marriott Gold comes with breakfast and/or lounge access and usually requires minimum of 50 nights.
Marriott & United Airlines RewardsPlus
SPG Platinum = Marriott Platinum = United Airlines Silver Status
SPG Platinum members that don’t have any status with United Airlines should link the account immediately, get Marriott Platinum and then sign up for the RewardsPlus program (read more here).
Marriott Platinum members can get complimentary United Airlines Silver status that comes with Economy Plus seating and space available first class upgrades in North America.
SPG Starpoints Now Convert To United Miles At Reasonable Value
You can convert SPG Starpoints to airline miles at 1:1 ratio with most partners and when you convert 20,000 Starpoints they convert to 25,000 airline miles but not with United. You need 2 Starpoints for 1 United mile.
Now, you just convert the 90,000 Starpoints to 270,000 Marriott Rewards points that converts to 132,000 United Airlines miles + 7 night stay at category 1 – 5 Marriott properties. You can read more about Marriott Travel packages here.
Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Members That Fly On Delta or Emirates
SPG has teamed up with both Delta Air Lines and Emirates offering 1 Starpoint per USD used for airline tickets on both airlines for Gold & Platinum members. There are addition airline benefits and upgrades available for Platinums.
You should link your Marriott and SPG accounts. Then sign up for with Delta and Emirates. You can enjoy the airline benefits and later convert the Starpoints to Marriott Rewards if needed. You can read more about the partnership with Delta here and with Emirates here.
Marriott Rewards points to airline miles via SPG
Marriott Rewards allows you to convert point to airline miles (doesn’t really make sense) at not very good ratio. It is bit better, however, if you first convert the points at 3:1 (3 Marriott to 1 SPG) and then convert in the chunks of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 airline miles.
Example: You need 140,000 Marriott Rewards points for just 35,000 Avianca LifeMiles. That is 4 points per mile. 20,000 Starpoints would be 25,000 LifeMiles. You need 60,000 Marriott Rewards points for this and this it would be 3 points per mile that is 25% cheaper.
I have never advocated using Marriott Rewards points to airline miles unless you do the Travel Package conversion.
Earning Marriott Rewards points for money spent on Uber
SPG has teamed up with Uber offering 1 Starpoint for every 1 USD spent on the car service. You need to have one Starwood stay before the earning is activated.
If you use Uber a lot, it would make sense to link the accounts, do one paid SPG stay and then link your SPG & Uber accounts. You can read more about SPG and Uber partnership here.
As I have spent more than 2 years of my life sleeping with both Marriott and Starwood, I do know both of these programs rather well.
Above are some ideas how you can leverage Marriott and SPG statuses by status matching with each other and playing to strength and weaknesses of each program.