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

by on March 18, 2012 · 13 comments

in Marriott, Sunday Reader Questions

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.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Nickfromct

    Combine a Marriott travel package with the US AIR 50% mileage transfer bonus going on now and get 1.5 US DM per Marriott point.

  • Mooper

    By far, the best Marriott redemption at the moment is 270K MRPs (Travel Package) for 7 nights at a Category 1-5 property (can often cost $300+/night at a nicer resort – there are a few by beaches) plus 180K USAirways miles (normally 120K, but there’s a 50% bonus until March 31st on hotel conversions). When you make your stay, pay for food and other incidentals by purchasing a Marriott Gift Card when they are running a 10% or 10 point bonus offer (none at the moment), and do so via a BigCrumbs cash back link for 3.5% back. Use a Chase Marriott Visa card to pay for yet another 5 points per dollar.

  • PJ

    Marriott is certainly a good card to keep 4ever when it can come with good signon bonus points. Ironically, this has been the one and only card i was turned down by Chase when I applied for it along with Sapphire Preferred.

    Marriott and Hyatt all award anniversary night making the annual memebership fees a no issue

  • PSL

    Burning 175,000 points for 6 nights at Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe this spring (was Cat 7 when I booked, now Cat 8). Maybe not the absolute best deal in the world, but it works well for us.

  • Newt

    My wife and I both got 70k Marriott points for the credit card sign up. Is there any way to combine those to get closer to what we need for the package redemption? What airlines are transfer partners?

  • MTB2000

    Mooper,

    I called Marriott last week to have them confirm with US Air that the Travel Award would net 180K US Air miles and US Air said it did not apply to the Travel Award only the Marriott points to US Air miles transfer. If anyone has any confirmation that the 50% applies to the Travel award please advise.

  • Mooper

    The bonus is on USAirway’s end, not Marriott’s. Any time Marriott makes a deposit to your US account, the bonus will apply (according to promo rules). It doesn’t matter if those miles are coming from a Travel Package redemption, a direct transfer, or anything else. I’ve done this multiple times with previous conversion bonus offers, both with US and DL.

  • MTB2000

    Mooper,

    Thanks for the reply, I read the terms and conditions too and there is nothing there prohibiting the transfer. I talked to a supervisor at Marriott HGA and he called his contact at US Air.

    I will call again and see if I can get them to confirm the bonus will apply to the 120K.

    Have you redeemed your travel bonus yet? Let me know if you have success, I know they sat 6-8 weeks for the bonus.

    Thanks.

    MTB2000

  • Mooper

    Not doing it this time around, but in the past, I asked them to expedite and the miles showed up within 2-3 days. I’m Platinum with Marriott – not sure if that’s a factor.

  • Kamancali

    Newt, did you apply for this recently? I got a cat8 reservation for scrub island I can sure use more points for!

  • MTB2000

    Mooper,

    I am also a Marriott Platinum and have a large quantity of Marriot points that I have accumulated in my travels. I rarely use the points, hoping to have accumulated enough points when I retire so I can continue to travel.
    The US Air bonus is very enticing to me, I’m planning an Asia trip and the US Air miles will be helpful. I’ll let you know the outcome when if US Air comes through with the bonus. Thanks for your comments.

    Doug

  • Mooper

    You’re welcome, and yes, please do share. Definitely request expedition of the posting. If you do the 270K package, it gets you seven nights a Category 1-5. Though there aren’t many properties fitting the bill, there are a couple Cat 5 beach resorts, if that’s your thing (that’s what I used them for). You can also use more points and get Cat 6 or 7, which will give you many more luxury options but will also dilute the focus on the US miles somewhat.

  • http://www.CheersandGears.com Oldsmoboi

    “I personally don’t accrue tons of Marriott points because I see better value in other hotel elite status programs”

    …… and those are? ;-)

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