Can I Transfer Points From Chase to Marriott to United for a 10% Bonus?

May 23, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

While the list of airlines to which you can transfer your flexible points changes over time, many airlines partner with more than just one program. This was especially true when Capital One added the ability to transfer its miles to airlines. The top three options — Avianca LifeMiles, Aeroplan and Etihad Guest — were already partners with Amex Membership Rewards. TPG reader John wants to know if he can stack multiple transfer partnerships to get a better ratio on his transfer to United …

If I convert my Chase points 1:1 to Marriott, then convert those points to United with a 10% bonus, I get more points than if I transferred my Chase points directly to United, right?

TPG READER JOHN

While John has honed in on a great way to maximize his transfers from Marriott to United, he’s missing an important mathematical piece of the puzzle. Marriott has (by far) the most transfer options of any of the major transferable points currencies, with a whopping 43 airlines on the current list. However, for nearly every program, Marriott points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, so for every 3 Marriott points you transfer, you’ll generally get 1 airline mile (plus a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer). This matches the legacy SPG program, which offered 1:1 transfers but then converted to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio.

In other words the following conversion (generally) holds true:

3 Marriott Bonvoy points (1 legacy Starpoint) = 1 airline mile

Of course, there are a few exceptions. Marriott points transfer to Air New Zealand at a 200:1 ratio because the program uses an oddly valued currency, while Aeromexico’s ratio is 3:1.6 to reflect the fact that it uses kilometers rather than miles. And like John pointed out, there’s a 10% bonus when transferring to United as part of the RewardsPlus partnership.

However, this 10% bonus doesn’t happen on a 1:1 transfer; it happens on a 3:1 transfer. Even with the bonus, John will be sacrificing some significant value.

For example, let’s say that he transferred 100,000 points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United. Because that’s a 1:1 transfer, he’d end up with 100,000 United MileagePlus miles, plain and simple. However, if he transferred to Marriott first, here’s what it would look like:

  • 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points →  100,000 Marriott points
  • 100,000 Marriott points →  33,333 United miles (standard 3:1 ratio) + 3,333 (10% bonus) + 5,000 miles (for transferring at least 60,000 points) = 41,666 miles

So despite the 10% bonus and 5,000-mile bonus that Marriott offers, John would be losing almost 60% of his miles by transferring through Marriott instead of transferring directly from Chase to United.

Bottom Line

While Marriott has dozens of unique airline transfer options, the 3:1 ratio usually makes this option less appealing than redeeming your points for hotel stays. I generally only transfer Marriott points to airlines if I’m trying to rack up hard-to-earn miles with carriers like Alaska or Korean.

Generally speaking, you should avoid double transfers under just about any circumstance. And for any transfer you’re planning to make, be sure to crunch the numbers to make sure that you’ll be getting enough value for it to make sense.

Thanks for the question, John, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.