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Sunday Reader Question: What is the Best Use for Marriott Points?

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TPG reader Mary Lynn writes:

“What’s the best value for Marriott Reward miles?  If you try to exchange them into airline miles the exchange ratio is so bad I’m wondering if I’m completely misunderstanding things.”

In my opinion, transferring Marriott points to airlines at a ratio of 10,000 points to 2,000 miles is not a great deal. In general, redeeming hotel points for hotel stays is going to get you the most bang for your point, but as with all redemptions- it depends on what you personally value the most.

If you need miles and want to stay at a hotel, check out Marriott’s Hotel and Air packages. If you need 50,000 miles, it would normally cost 250,000 Marriott points. However, with the hotel + air package, you could get 7 nights at a category 1-5 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for only 200,000! Not only do you save 50,000 points, but you get free hotel for a week too. They even have a sliding scale, so if you need more airline miles you can up-gauge, for example and extra 70,000 airline miles only costs an additional 70,000 Marriott points for a grand total of 270,000 points.

Even if you don’t necessarily need miles, it often makes sense to take advantage of these packages if you have 7 night hotel stays. For example, 7 nights at a category 5 hotel normally costs 150,000 points. It’s only an extra 50,000 points to get the 50,000 airline miles and I personally think trading Marriott to airline miles at a 1:1 ratio is a steal of a deal.

Marriott Hotel & Air Chart- some great deals!

Another redemption opportunity that can be a great value is the PointSavers program, which are free hotel nights discounted up to 33%. This list rotates, so check it frequently to see if any participating properties align with your travel plans.

I personally don’t accrue tons of Marriott points because I see better value in other hotel elite status programs, but I know a lot of friends and TPG readers who get tremendous value out of these redemptions. As always, please feel free to share your experiences.

Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

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  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
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  • $95 Annual Fee
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 15.49%-19.49% Variable $95 0% Excellent Credit