The updated Marriott Rewards program lets you transfer points to more than 40 airline partners at a good value. Get an overview of the options, including value estimates per partner.
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Prior to the merger of the Marriott and Starwood this year, Starwood Preferred Guest members were anxious about the fate of one of the most popular features of the SPG program: transferring points to frequent flyer programs.
Unlike most hotel loyalty programs that offer terrible transfer ratios, the Starwood program allowed you to transfer points at a ratio of 1 mile per point and even awarded bonus points when you transferred them in increments of 20,000.
The great news is that the updated Marriott program has improved upon Starwood’s point transfer options by expanding the number of transfer partners.
You can currently transfer Marriott points to more than 40 airline loyalty programs, mostly at a 3:1 ratio (basically the same value as the SPG program, since Starpoints were worth three times as much as Marriott points). Plus, you get the same 25-percent point bonus (15,000 bonus points) for each block of 60,000 points that you transfer.
A great introduction to Marriott Rewards
Why should you get it?
With 6 points per dollar on Marriott hotel purchases, 2 points per dollar on other purchases and a free night certificate on your card anniversary, you can easily score a few free hotel nights with the card in the first year.
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How do you transfer Marriott points?
Once you’ve created an account with an airline loyalty program, simply go to Marriott’s point transfer page, input your frequent flyer number, select the number of points you want to transfer – anywhere between 3,000 and 240,000 points per day – and hit submit.
According to Marriott’s terms and conditions, your points will be automatically deposited into your frequent flyer account within the following six weeks. Since this is a pretty long time to wait for points to transfer (Marriott members who have tried the program claim that the transfers usually occur much faster), you can call Marriott’s customer support to see if you can get the transfer expedited for a fee.
You should be completely certain that you want to transfer your points before you submit a request. Once your points are transferred, you can’t transfer them back.
Is it worth it to transfer Marriott points?
The best thing about transferring points with Marriott is that it gives you flexibility to use your points for something besides Marriott stays. If you want to use points for a trip where you don’t want to stay at a Marriott hotel, or if you need points to top off a balance in an outside loyalty program to make a redemption, it can make good sense to transfer Marriott points.
That said, if you are strictly interested in redeeming Marriott points for the highest value and are weighing the value of using points for Marriott stays against the value of transferring points to an outside frequent flyer program, you’ll find that you lose value on your points by transferring to most of Marriott’s partners.
As you’ll see from our sampling of Marriott’s frequent flyer partners below, though the value per mile for most frequent flyer programs is higher than the value of Marriott points, you end up with an overall lower value than 0.8 cent per point with most partners once you factor in the transfer ratio (even if you also factor in Marriott’s 25-percent transfer bonus):
|Partner||Transfer ratio||Value per mile (cents)||Transfer value of Marriott points (cents) (including 25% transfer bonus)|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||3:1||1.5||0.6|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||3:1||1||0.4|
If you want to use the transfer option to get a better value than Marriott’s 0.8 cent per point, you’ll have to calculate the value of each fare to make sure it’s really worth it before you transfer points.
You can find a full list of Marriott’s transfer partners with transfer ratios on Marriott’s point transfer page.
Tips for transferring Marriott points
- Be sure to create an account with your target frequent flyer program before you try to transfer points.
- Transfer points in increments of 60,000 to earn a 25-percent bonus.
- Since Marriott points take a while to transfer and transfers are non-reversible, make sure there are plenty of seats available on your prospective flight, as well as on other flights on the same airline, to ensure you still have options once your points are transferred. Also, check to see if the airline will allow you to hold the award seat while you’re waiting for your transfer. (Some airlines, such as American, allow you to hold award seats.)
- To get the best value on your Marriott points, be as flexible as possible and look for special deals within each airline’s award chart – if you’re open to dates and destinations, you can do much better than 0.8 cent per point.
Transferring points with Marriott is a great option that gives you far more flexibility than the average hotel rewards program. In fact, if you are a deal-chaser who is savvy with airline miles, you can use this option to stretch your points even further and get a much better value than 0.8 cent per point.