Note: NerdWallet strongly discourages traveling in the near future while the coronavirus continues to spread. Check the CDC and State Department websites for current guidance and travel restrictions. Please use the content of this article only to help inform future travel plans.
In 2016, the Marriott Hotel Group purchased Starwood Hotels & Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company with over 5,700 hotels throughout the world. In 2019, Marriott introduced the combination of their three loyalty programs (Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest or SPG, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards) in one program called Marriott Bonvoy, which includes features from all three founding programs. Today we are going to look at the ability to transfer miles and points to and from Marriott Bonvoy.
How to get Marriott Bonvoy points
There are many ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, but the two most common are through Marriott hotel stays and through co-branded credit cards with Chase and American Express.
You’ll earn 10 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on Marriott hotel stays, and if you have Marriott elite status, you will earn additional points as follows:
- Silver Elite: 10% bonus.
- Gold Elite: 25% bonus.
- Platinum Elite: 50% bonus.
- Titanium and Ambassador Elite: 75% bonus.
The other main way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is through spending and welcome offers on the various Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. There are four currently open to new applicants:
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card ($0 annual fee).
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card ($95 annual fee).
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card ($125 annual fee).
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ($450 annual fee).
For more ideas on earning points, you can also check out the 5 best ways to rack up Marriott points.
Transferring points to Marriott
Because Marriott has co-branded credit card relationships with both Chase and American Express, both banks allow you to transfer their points to Marriott Bonvoy. You can transfer Chase points to Marriott at a rate of 1 Ultimate Rewards point to 1 Marriott Bonvoy point.
You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy points at a ratio of 1 Membership Rewards point to 1 Marriott Bonvoy point, though American Express has been known to offer transfer bonuses.
We value Marriott Bonvoy points at around1 cent
per point, and generally both Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards can be redeemed for much higher value, so these transfers are generally not a great use of your valuable Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards points. There’s a reason Marriott Bonvoy ranked near the bottom of both the best Chase transfer partners and the best transfer partners of American Express.
Transferring points between members
Marriott has one of the most liberal policies for transferring points between accounts. There are no restrictions like having to be related to the member whose account you are transferring to/from or needing to share the same address. Any Marriott account can transfer points to any other Marriott account. Both accounts must be in good standing with Marriott and have each been open for at least 30 days with qualifying activity, or 90 days without qualifying activity.
You can transfer up to a maximum of 100,000 points per year, and any one account can receive a maximum of 500,000 points in one calendar year. You cannot transfer Marriott points online — you’ll need to call the Marriott helpline at 801-468-4000 to initiate a points transfer.
There are several reasons why you might want to transfer points to another account, including needing to combine points from multiple accounts to make a particular stay, or transferring points to an account with a higher elite status to take advantage of elite benefits on a stay.
Transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to airlines
Another way you can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points is by transferring your Bonvoy points to airline miles. Marriott has partnered with over 40 different airlines, and nearly all of the airlines allow you to transfer 3 Marriott Bonvoy points to 1 airline mile, in increments of 3,000 Bonvoy points. The only airlines that do not transfer at the 3:1 ratio are Air New Zealand (200:1), JetBlue (6:1) and United MileagePlus, which transfers at 3:1.1 thanks to the RewardsPlus partnership program between Marriott and United.
In addition to the 3:1 transfer ratio, you receive a 5,000-mile bonus if you transfer in increments of 60,000 Bonvoy points. So if you’re planning on transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to airlines, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of that bonus — 60,000 Bonvoy points becomes 25,000 airline miles with most of Marriott’s airline partners.
Marriott Hotel + Air Packages
You can also use your Bonvoy points to purchase what Marriott calls Hotel + Air packages. These Hotel + Air packages allow you to book a seven-night stay at a participating Marriott hotel AND receive airline miles on top. These used to be one of the absolute best ways to spend your Marriott points, but unfortunately these packages were significantly devalued recently as part of the integration of Starwood and the introduction of Bonvoy.
Hotel + Air packages start at 255,000 Bonvoy points, which will get you a seven-night stay at a Category 1-4 Marriott hotel and 50,000 airline miles (55,000 miles if you transfer to United). Package prices go up if you want additional airline miles or a hotel in a higher Marriott category. A package with a seven-night stay at a Category 8 Marriott plus 100,000 airline miles will run you a cool 750,000 Bonvoy points.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose?
NerdWallet’s best hotel credit cards