There are some important lessons to be learned from traffic flows. For instance which way traffic went over the Berlin Wall said almost everything you needed to know about socialism.
We’ve got some early indication of which way points are flowing now that members can freely move points between Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest at a ratio of 3 Marriott points to 1 Starwood point.
St. Regis Bangkok
This is an online report of a conversation with I’d assume Thom Kozick of Marriott Rewards and I haven’t verified the information. However,
I started chatting with someone, who turned out to be the head of the Marriott Rewards Program. I was star struck.
…[O]ne billion Marriott points have been transferred to SPG so far. People aren’t spending those as fast.
350 million SPG points have been transferred to Marriott. They are being used much faster, and when I mentioned I was [doing] mine for a nights and flights package, he said a bigger-than-expected number of transfers have gone to this.
I’ve always tried to bank my Starwood points. And I find it difficult to spend them, because they are so valuable with so many options I’ve always found the option value to be the greatest asset. It seems like members like to bank with Starwood, and have done so even with the expectation that they’d continue to be able to make transfers later and that the points will eventually be combined back with Marriott Rewards points.
However it’s interesting that the flow has been more towards Starwood, but those points are being banked. But that transfers to Marriott are strategic, to be used right away, and that people doing so understand the best value in the Marriott program which is travel packages.
Since one billion Marriott points transfer to 333 million Starpoints, and 350 million Starpoints transfer to just over a billion Marriott points (and since these are round numbers being reported) it sounds like Marriott is suggesting that the number of points transferred between programs has been roughly equal. Which also says that the 3:1 ratio they chose was the correct one.