For those who regularly transfer hotel points to airline frequent flyer programs, there is both good and bad news. The good news is that Marriott Rewards retains the benefit of transferring points to airlines. The bad news, however, is that the benefit doesn’t necessarily have the same worth as Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints.
But if SPG joins that Marriott Rewards program August 18th, your final hotel point transfer value may vary. Here’s what you need to know.
Transfer of hotel points in airline miles as part of the new Marriott Rewards
When the Marriott and Starwood program merges on August 18, all points will be converted to Marriott Rewards, with the remaining Starpoints being converted to three Marriott Rewards points at the ratio of one Starpoint. The combined rewards program receives a new award table and new tiered benefits for Platinum Elite Members. But there will be fewer opportunities to book combined flight and hotel awards. One thing that will remain is the ability to transfer points to airline rewards programs.
Under the new program, Marriott Rewards members can transfer their points to the frequent flyer programs of over 40 airlines, including United, delta, Emirates and Lufthansa. However, they are not carried over at the 1-to-1 ratio that SPG has offered. Instead, three Marriott Rewards points roll over to one air mile – the same price that Starpoints roll over to Marriott Rewards.
Participation in SPG is the bonus for transferring reward points to airline frequent flyer programs. For every 60,000 award points transferred to an airline program (equivalent to 20,000 Starpoints), Marriott Rewards adds a further 15,000 points, which corresponds to a total of 25,000 miles in the airline program of the guest’s choice.
In addition, Marriott Rewards points can be redeemed for other airport experiences. Members can use points to pay for access to the airport lounge and TSA PreCheck.
Expect to transfer Marriott Rewards airline points
Given the changing transfer table, does it make sense to transfer Marriott Rewards points to airline partners? It depends on several factors, including how urgently you need the miles.
According to the new Marriott Rewards award table, 60,000 miles are enough to stay at Category 7 hotels (and some Category 8 hotels until the beginning of 2019). On the other hand, these 60,000 points are also transferred to 25,000 United MileagePlus miles (if Marriott does not offer a bonus for United miles as part of the RewardsPlus promotion). And 25,000 United MileagePlus miles are enough for a single domestic economy discount award that may be worth more than a single night’s hotel room.
Travelers who earn Marriott Rewards points during a stay or from a Travel credit card can use the transfers more than others. With more opportunities to earn rewards, the points may be more available for mileage transfers.
Switching to other programs, however, may not be as rewarding. Before making a transfer, make sure you have a destination for how these miles will be used. While transferring a small number of points can be useful to add to an award, transferring 60,000 points at once for 25,000 air miles – a ratio of 2.4 points per air mile – may not be as valuable as booking an Award Night.
Finally, you shouldn’t use points to pay for TSA PreCheck or access to airline lounges. Lots Premium credit cards come with both access to the airline’s lounges and a one-time credit to sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, which is overall better value than purchasing with Marriott Rewards points.