Marriott Adds American As Newest Airline Earning Partner + 500 Mile Summer Promo

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Following in the footsteps of other cross-promotional partnerships like Delta/Starwood’s Crossover Rewards (sort of), this morning, American Airlines and Marriott announced a partnership where members of American’s AAdvantage program and Marriott Rewards can earn miles on their hotel stays, joining the roster Marriott’s other airline partners.

Marriott AA partnership

Unlike the Delta/SPG Crossover program where elite members of both programs earn both miles and points on both hotel stays and flights, this partnership is limited to members of both programs now being able to earn AAdvantage miles on Marriott stays. There are also no elite perks like with Delta/SPG Crossover Rewards, such as elite check-in or free internet access at hotels or priority check-in and boarding for flights. This is simply about earning American miles on Marriott stays. I asked my contacts at American if this would turn into a Crossover-style relationship, and they had no ready answer but said that they are always evaluating new partnerships, so that could be a possible next step, though I wouldn’t count on it.

AAdvantage members can now earn the following amount of miles at the following brands based on spending:

You’ll earn two AAdvantage miles per $1USD spent on all qualifying transactions at these participating brands:

  • JW Marriott®
  • Autograph Collection® Hotels
  • Renaissance® Hotels
  • Marriott® Hotels
  • Marriott Vacation Club®

You’ll earn two AAdvantage miles per $1USD spent on room rate only at these participating brands:

  • The Ritz-Carlton®
  • EDITION®
  • Gaylord Hotels®

You’ll earn one AAdvantage mile per $1USD spent on room rate only at these participating brands:

  • AC Hotels
  • Courtyard by Marriott®
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott®
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott®
  • Residence Inn by Marriott®
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott®
  • Marriott Executive Apartments®

To enroll, you must go to MarriottRewards.com and:

  1. Select Miles/other program as your Earning preference
  2. Select American Airlines as your preferred Airline program
  3. Enter your AAdvantage number

You can also enroll by phone by calling Marriott at 1-800-367-6453.

Those earning ratios are in line with Marriott’s other airline partners, which already include Air Canada, Air France/KLM, Alaska, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Singapore, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America among many others.

Members can still convert Marriott Rewards points to AAdvantage miles at the following rates ranging from a ratio of 5:1 to 2.8:1. So not so great unless you absolutely need to top up and the 6-8 weeks it can take for a transfer to go through is a killer (though in reality they probably go through faster).

10,000 points =    2,000 miles

20,000 points =    5,000 miles

30,000 points =  10,000 miles

70,000 points =  25,000 miles

140,000 points =  50,000 miles

To celebrate the launch of the new partnership, American is awarding AAdvantage members with 500 AAdvantage bonus miles when they stay participating Marriott properties between July 15 and August 15, 2013. No need to register specially for this promo.

While this doesn’t exactly wow me, I do appreciate the option of being able to earn American miles instead of Marriott points on Marriott stays. In general I collect hotel points while staying at hotels, and generally I think it’s more lucrative to earn hotel points – especially hotels are more generous with promos in their own currency than with their partners.

That said, I do like American miles and value them highly among mileage currencies, so the question is, whether I’d prefer 2 American miles or 10 Marriott points per dollar (since that’s the normal earning ratio)?

If I spent $4,500 at Marriott, I’d earn 45,000 Marriott points or 9,000 American miles. 45,000 Marriott points is a free night at a top-tier Category 9 property like the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees, where even off-peak nights start at 399 EUR ($530) and they’re starting at 519 EUR ($690) in June on nights where points redemptions are also available – not a bad value.

The same amount of spending would get me either 9,000 AA miles or 45,000 Marriott points.
The same amount of spending would get me either 9,000 AA miles or 45,000 Marriott points.

By contrast, I’d (generously) value 9,000 American miles at about 2 cents apiece, giving me a value of about $180 on that same amount of spend. I’d take the hotel room instead.

However, if earning a few extra American miles makes more sense for your travel strategy than going for Marriott points, then it’s nice to have this option now as well.

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