Do Points Transferred From SPG Count Toward Lifetime Marriott Elite Status?

Nov 10, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

Ever since the merger between Marriott and Starwood closed last September, it’s been possible to transfer points between SPG and Marriott Rewards. So TPG reader Nick wonders if he might be able to take advantage of that feature to improve his progress toward lifetime status…

If I transferred points back and forward between my Marriott and SPG accounts, would that increase my lifetime points earned for Marriott status?

TPG Reader Nick

Lifetime status at Marriott can be earned at all three tiers, and in addition to hitting a points requirement, you need a certain number of qualifying nights. Here’s how it breaks down:

marriott Level qualifying Nights Required Points Required
Lifetime Silver Elite 250 1,200,000
Lifetime Gold Elite 500 1,600,000
Lifetime Platinum Elite 750 2,000,000

You don’t have to have all those points sitting in your account at one time to qualify for lifetime elite — you just have to have earned them at some point along the way.

In the past, readers have asked whether purchased Marriott points count toward lifetime elite status, and since in fact they do, it stands to reason that transferred points might count as well, right? Since it’s extremely easy to move points back and forth between the two programs, one could almost wonder if transferring points in and then back out would give you an advantage.

But unfortunately, the answer is no. Even though nearly all points deposited into a Marriott Rewards account count toward lifetime elite status, one big exception is transfers from SPG. Those do not count toward Marriott lifetime elite.

What about the other way around? Do point transfers from Marriott to SPG help you to get SPG Lifetime Gold or SPG Lifetime Platinum? Well, the Starwood Preferred Guest program works differently than Marriott Rewards, and lifetime status at SPG is based on years and eligible nights, not points. So while transferred points might help you book some extra nights — remember, award nights at SPG count as eligible nights — you won’t get any additional advantage toward lifetime status just from transferring them.

It’s important to note though that just because transfers from SPG to Marriott don’t count, that doesn’t mean all transfers to Marriott don’t count. In fact, transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott do count toward lifetime elite status at Marriott. However, with Ultimate Rewards points being so valuable and Marriott points being somewhat less so, it’s probably not a great use of Chase points unless you’re topping off for an award.

So, Nick, while you can undoubtedly find some other good reasons to transfer SPG points to Marriott, earning lifetime elite status isn’t one of them. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

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