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Is It Worth Transferring Marriott Points to Airlines?


Typically, hotel points are most valuable when redeemed for hotel stays. However, Marriott Bonvoy has 40 airline transfer partners that can provide good value.

If you want to maximize your Marriott redemptions, you might wonder when transferring Marriott points to airline partners makes sense. Let’s take a closer look at this question to find out.

Why Transfer Marriott Points to Airlines?

You might prefer to transfer Marriott points to airlines over redeeming them for hotel stays for several reasons.

  • High Marriott Stay Costs: Many Marriott stays now cost more points since Marriott removed its award categories. Some high-end former Category 8 hotels cost over 100,000 points per night. In such cases, transferring Marriott points to airlines might offer better value. For example, a free flight to Europe could be more appealing than a free hotel night, regardless of how luxurious the hotel is.
  • Boost Airline Rewards: You might need to top up your account or earn a hard-to-get mileage currency with one of Marriott’s transfer partners. Transferring Marriott points to your airline loyalty account can help boost your mileage account balance.
  • Frequent Point Earners: If you frequently earn Marriott points through stays or cobranded Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, transferring points to airlines might not be a concern.

Marriott Bonvoy Airline Partners

Marriott has an impressive list of 38 airline loyalty program partners, including popular programs like United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles.

  • With most airline partners, 3 Marriott Bonvoy points will convert to 1 airline mile. However, Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1 ratio) and United MileagePlus miles (3:1.1 ratio) convert at different rates.
  • Marriott gives 5,000 bonus airline miles for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer to most airline partners. However, transfers to American Airlines AAdvantage, Avianca LifeMiles, Delta SkyMiles, and Korean Air SkyPass are not eligible for the 5,000-mile bonus.

Best Airline Award Chart Sweet Spots

Lufthansa First Class to South Africa with Aegean Airlines Miles

You can redeem 75,000 Aegean miles to fly one-way from North America to South Africa in Lufthansa first class when there’s award space. You’ll still need to pay about $800 in taxes and fees, but 75,000 Aegean miles is significantly fewer than you’d need with Air Canada Aeroplan or United MileagePlus to book this luxurious award.

  • If you can’t find first-class award space, you could redeem 55,000 Aegean miles to fly one-way in business class on Swiss, another Star Alliance member.

Emirates Business Class to Dubai with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

Although Emirates isn’t in the Oneworld alliance, you can redeem Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles for award flights on Emirates. One sweet spot in the JAL Mileage Bank program is the ability to book a round-trip Emirates business-class award with a total trip distance of between 12,001 and 14,000 miles for 110,000 award miles.

  • You could transfer 270,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to JAL Mileage Bank to get 110,000 miles. This transfer will likely take about 48 hours.

Transatlantic Star Alliance Business Class with Asiana Club Miles

Asiana Airlines’ Star Alliance flight award redemption table has some good deals. For example, you can travel from North America (excluding Hawaii and Mexico) to Europe for 40,000 miles each way in business class on Star Alliance airlines if you can find discounted award availability.

  • You could transfer 105,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Asiana Club to get 40,000 miles. This transfer will likely take about four days.

Other Ways to Redeem Marriott Points

While you’ll usually get the most value from your Marriott points when you redeem them for Marriott stays or transfer them to airline programs for high-value redemptions, there are other options.

  • Gift Cards and Merchandise: Using points for gift cards and merchandise through Marriott’s Shop with Points page provides a very low redemption value.
  • Non-Stay Activities: You can use points for sporting events and concerts through Marriott Bonvoy Moments, which can offer good value for fans.

How to Earn Bonvoy Points

There are several cards you can use to earn Marriott Bonvoy points. Here are six available to new applicants:

  1. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Best for Marriott loyalists looking for perks.
  2. Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Ideal for Marriott loyalists who travel for business.
  3. Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Offers a solid bonus but lackluster benefits.
  4. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Great for Marriott loyalists looking for a modest annual fee.
  5. Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: A solid choice for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee option.
  6. Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card: A newer card option with limited benefits.

Final Thoughts

Transferring Marriott points to airlines can provide excellent value in certain situations. By understanding the best times and ways to transfer, you can maximize your Marriott Bonvoy points and enjoy high-value redemptions.

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