One of the best ways to spend your Marriott Bonvoy points is to convert them into airline frequent flyer points or miles. Compared to other hotel loyalty programs, Marriott uses a more generous conversion rate of 3:1 on most of these transfers.
With some partners, there’s even a bonus at the other end, such as 5,000 extra miles for every 20,000 miles you transfer. That’s effectively a 25% boost. Or with United, 10,000 extra miles per 20,000 miles converted – a sizeable 50% increase.
Wherever you’re sending your hard-earned points, here’s how to make the most of Marriott Bonvoy’s many points conversion partners.
The basics of transferring Marriott Bonvoy points
For most programs, three Marriott Bonvoy points equal one frequent flyer mile or point. To avoid confusion, we’ll use the term ‘miles’ in this article where possible to better differentiate airline
points miles from Marriott points.
The minimum transfer is 3,000 Marriott points (usually fetching 1,000 frequent flyer miles), and the daily maximum is 240,000 Marriott points (generally worth 80,000 frequent flyer miles). This maximum doesn’t include any bonuses you might earn on top from eligible transfers.
So what are these bonuses all about? With a few exceptions, for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer across to 20,000 airline miles, Marriott will also throw in an extra 5,000 airline miles, representing a 25% bonus.
Here’s an example of how that works:
- 30,000 Marriott points = 10,000 frequent flyer points
- 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 frequent flyer points (20,000 + 5,000 bonus)
- 90,000 Marriott points = 35,000 frequent flyer points (30,000 + 5,000 bonus)
- 120,000 Marriott points = 50,000 frequent flyer points (40,000 + 10,000 bonus)
- 150,000 Marriott points = 60,000 frequent flyer points (50,000 + 10,000 bonus)
- 180,000 Marriott points = 75,000 frequent flyer points (60,000 + 15,000 bonus)
- 210,000 Marriott points = 85,000 frequent flyer points (70,000 + 15,000 bonus)
- 240,000 Marriott points = 100,000 frequent flyer points (80,000 + 20,000 bonus)
The best value redemptions (bolded) are those in multiples of 60,000 Marriott points, working out to be 0.42 airline miles per 1 Marriott point including the bonus. These rates are equivalent to transferring points at a 2.4:1 conversion rate overall.
The non-bolded transfers only yield around 0.33 to 0.39 airline miles per one Marriott point.
On the flip side, transfers to United MileagePlus now provide double the bonus figures above. For instance, transferring 60,000 Marriott points comes with a 10,000-mile bonus. That’s 20,000 miles from the 3:1 transfer, plus 10,000 miles from the bonus, making 60,000 Marriott points worth 30,000 United miles.
Participating airlines with Marriott Bonvoy
You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points into miles with over 30 airlines.
Those that are most relevant to point-hacking Australians are listed in this table, along with the links to the guides to each program. We’ve also indicated whether each program is eligible for the bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 Marriott points converted (usually 20,000 miles).
|Frequent flyer program||Marriott points to |
|Eligible for 5,000-mile bonus?|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||3 to 1||Yes|
|Virgin Australia Velocity||3 to 1||Yes|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||3 to 1||Yes|
|Cathay Pacific’s Cathay (formerly Asia Miles)||3 to 1||Yes|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||3 to 1||Yes|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||3 to 1||No|
|United Mileage Plus||3 to 1||Double bonus (10,000, instead of 5,000)|
|Avianca LifeMiles||3 to 1||No|
|British Airways Executive Club||3 to 1||Yes|
|Delta SkyMiles||3 to 1||No|
Here are the rest of the participating programs, which are all 3:1 unless otherwise noted:
- AEGEAN Miles+Bonus
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1)
- ANA Mileage Club
- Asiana Airlines’ Asiana Club
- Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Frontier Airlines’ Frontier Miles
- Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
- Hawaiian Airlines’ HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus
- Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- LATAM Pass
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Saudia ALFURSAN
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Vueling Club
To make that transfer, venture to this page and log in to your Marriott account.
Hit the black ‘Transfer Points’ button and choose your airline frequent flyer program and the number of points you’d like to transfer. Just note, the 5,000-mile bonuses, where applicable, won’t appear in the calculations on this screen. They will, however, appear in your Marriott Bonvoy activity statement after making the transfer.
When those points land in your frequent flyer account, you may also see a separate entry for the bonus. Again, that’s 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred. In this case, my base transfer was between 60,000 and 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, triggering one 5,000-mile bonus.
Of course, the transfer above was made back when eligible conversions to Delta still gained 5,000-mile bonuses. Again, this no longer applies with conversions to Delta, or when converting from Marriott Bonvoy to American Airlines, Avianca or Korean Air SKYPASS.
Beware: earning airline miles directly instead of Marriott points
There’s another way to earn airline rewards on hotel stays without accruing Marriott Bonvoy points. But in most cases, you’ll get a better result by first earning Marriott points and later converting these into airline miles.
For example, you can earn 2 Qantas Points per US$1 spent on qualifying stays, or 10 Marriott points for the same amount.
For a stay of US$1,200, you’ll get either 2,400 Qantas Points directly or 12,000 Marriott Bonvoy points – which are equivalent to 4,000 Qantas Points when transferred.
Taking into account the Marriott Elite status bonuses and the 5,000-mile bonus for large transfers, you’ll quickly see why it makes sense to stick with earning Marriott points.
The option to earn points directly with an airline can make sense for those who would rarely stay with Marriott hotels. Rather than building points in a hotel program and waiting until you have a larger balance to get the best value from them, frequent flyer points in your account today could be more useful.
Being able to convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline frequent flyer points/miles is a great feature. From time to time, it can also be a solid way to get American Express Membership Rewards points across to other frequent flyer programs not normally available for direct transfers.
That’s because Amex and Marriott occasionally run transfer bonus deals. Under the latest transfer offer, Marriott Bonvoy can be a great conduit for getting Australian Amex points into international frequent flyer programs such as United.
However, the recent change to the bulk transfer bonus with American Airlines, Avianca and Delta (as well as Korean Air) does make Marriott slightly less appealing for those uses. Transferring to Delta was a great way to access good value Delta flights and journeys across the SkyTeam alliance.
But with so many other frequent flyer programs to choose from, transfers to these alternatives can still have strong appeal. So too can points transfers to those US programs if you have a specific use in mind, or are making a smaller top-up to a larger account balance.
This article was originally written by Evin Tan Khiew. Feature image courtesy of Salih Sayed/Pexels.
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