Marriott, Starwood

If SPG kills airline transfers tomorrow…

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UPDATE: They did not kill transfers and have no plans to. Original post below:

Most of you read last week about the rumor about this possibility. Mixed in with the details on the sooner-than-expected Marriott/SPG program integration and the possible termination of the SPG website in August was a rumor that SPG will end all direct airline points transfers on Monday. Monday at 4:30 ET is also the big Marriott/SPG announcement time, do be done by livestream.

Will SPG end airline transfers Monday?

Personally, I don’t think this is going to happen tomorrow. But the rumor started somewhere so let’s assume it’s possible.

What do we do with this rumor?

Some people are rushing to convert their SPG points to airlines ahead of Monday. Especially those with large balances long planned for transfers to partners that nobody but SPG transfers to.  Japan Airlines and Asiana Airlines are two popular programs because of their “sweet spot” redemptions, for example using 50k Asiana (40k SPG) for a one way First Class flight on Lufthansa US <–> Europe or JAL for distance-based Oneworld redemptions as well as Emirates flights.  This is not what I am doing myself. 

Here’s my plan:

Watchful waiting.

I have a plan of what I want to do if the program announcement tomorrow at 4:30 is an instant kill. I highly doubt that SPG would be so precise as to cut transfers exactly at the announcement time. So if they did announce this, I highly suspect (though you never know for sure!) we’d have minutes or hours to make the transfer.  Personally, I’d be likely to transfer 40 or 80k SPG to Asiana and that’s it, unless the announcement actually consisted of ending airline transfers and the “nuclear option” – going revenue based for redemption (another rumor I hope is nowhere near the truth). In that case, I may well try to transfer more.

So you can do one of three things:

  1. Speculative transfers. But then if nothing happens, you’re out of options. The transfer is not reversible.
  2. Watchful waiting. Be armed with a plan and ready/online at 4:30 watching the announcement, knowing exactly what you’ll do if they announce an end to transfers.
  3. Do nothing. Even if all of the above happens, there will almost certainly continue to be great ways to redeem SPG/Marriott for some time to come.

What is your plan?  Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.