Are Marriott Bonvoy Airline Mileage Transfers Worth It?

Are Marriott Bonvoy Airline Mileage Transfers Worth It?

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Among hotel loyalty programs, one thing that makes Marriott Bonvoy points unique is the ability to (fairly) efficiently convert them into airline miles. While most major hotel loyalty programs allow some sort of opportunity to convert hotel points into airline miles, it typically represents a very bad value.

In this post I wanted to take a look at the opportunity to convert Marriott points into airline miles, and whether it’s worth it.

Basics of Marriott’s points to miles transfer option

It’s possible to convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles, with your choice of 38 different frequent flyer programs. Let’s take a look at which partners Marriott Bonvoy has, what the transfer ratios are, etc.

Marriott Bonvoy points to airline miles transfer ratio

Marriott Bonvoy points generally convert into airline miles at a 3:1 ratio, and you get 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer.

In other words, 60,000 Bonvoy points will convert into 25,000 airline miles (including the 5,000 bonus miles). You can take advantage of that bonus of 5,000 miles multiple times, meaning that you can convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles at a ratio of up to 2.4:1.

Note that you can transfer a minimum of 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and a maximum of 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per day. So if you want to transfer more than 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll want to do so over multiple days.

Transfer Bonvoy points into Emirates Skywards miles

Marriott Bonvoy’s airline mileage transfer partners

Here are the 38 airline frequent flyer programs you can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to:

  • Aegean Miles+Bonus
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Frontier Miles
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • InterMiles
  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
  • Korean Air SkyPass
  • LATAM Pass
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Saudia Alfursan
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Vueling Club

Note that there are two exceptions to the 3:1 transfer ratio:

  • Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Air New Zealand Airpoints at a 200:1 ratio; this simply reflects the different scale of Air New Zealand’s rewards currency
  • Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to United MileagePlus at a 3:1.1 ratio, so the transfer ratio is 10% better than with other partners; this reflects the special partnership between Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus
Transfer Bonvoy points into Alaska Mileage Plan miles

Marriott Bonvoy airline mileage transfers aren’t instant

With the major transferable points currencies, converting points into airline miles is typically an instant process. So it’s worth being aware that Marriott Bonvoy points don’t convert into airline miles instantly. Rather transfers generally take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

I’d consider this to be a major weak point of this opportunity. I generally recommend converting points into airline miles in situations where you have a specific use in mind, and that could be a situation where you find award space on a particular flight.

Obviously that’s not exactly useful here, since it could take a couple of weeks for the transfer to happen, and odds are that whatever award availability you were looking at will be gone at that point.

Transfer Bonvoy points into Korean Air SkyPass miles

Are Marriott Bonvoy mileage transfers worth it?

While I think converting Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles could represent a good value, it’s not how I choose to redeem my Bonvoy points.

To briefly crunch some numbers, as stated above, I value Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents each. At a 2.4:1 transfer ratio (60,000 points per 25,000 miles), that’s like “paying” 1.68 cents per airline mile, which is a pretty decent cost.

Why do I choose not to convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles?

  • Marriott Bonvoy points can’t efficiently be earned through credit card spending, so your only options to earn them efficiently are through hotel stays, or by buying Bonvoy points (typically at a higher cost than what I value them)
  • I earn transferable points currencies for my credit card spending, so I’d rather use points earned with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou, for flights, since I can earn those points at a faster rate with credit card spending
  • I’d rather use my Marriott Bonvoy points for luxury hotel stays where there’s outsized value with the points
  • In theory the one situation where it could make sense to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to airline miles is for programs that don’t otherwise partner with the major transferable points currencies, like Korean Air SkyPass; however, even there I don’t think it’s terribly compelling

So I absolutely don’t think anyone is off base for choosing to convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles. However, it’s not how I choose to redeem my points, and I don’t think the value is there for most.

It’s more of a last resort redemption option, if you’re truly unable to get value elsewhere. In fairness, that might just be the direction the program is headed. While Bonvoy points have been significantly devalued over the years for hotel redemptions, the mileage conversion options have remained mostly consistent.

Transfer Bonvoy points into ANA Mileage Club miles

Bottom line

It’s possible to convert Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles with over three dozen programs. While this is the best hotel points to airline miles transfer ratio that you’ll find with any program, it’s still not how I’d choose to redeem my Bonvoy points.

Yes, I appreciate the “insurance” that this redemption option provides, since it essentially creates a floor value for Bonvoy points. However, Bonvoy points are hard to efficiently earn through anything other than hotel stays, so I prefer to save them for hotel stays. I’d rather convert credit card points currencies into airline miles.

Where do you stand on the value of Marriott Bonvoy airline mileage transfers? Have you ever redeemed Bonvoy points this way?

Conversations (20)
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  1. Andy 11235 Guest

    If you value luxury hotels at anywhere close to cash price, those redemptions are certainly a better value. Personally, the only use I've ever had for bonvoy is to top up my KE balance. Even at their higher (devalued) redemption rates, KE will be competitive with other programs, and they offer consistent availability for open seats as travel dates approach.

  2. iamhere Guest

    Best deal is for luxury stays. On your basis, if you can redeem for a hotel room worth around $1200 per night with 85,000 points, then there is no way that a business class flight will be that cheap in points or money. Besides, after you convert your 85,000 points will not be 85,000 points anymore!

  3. David Diamond

    For people outside the US, transferring to VS is pretty good value, since access to their miles are not nearly as abundant as in the US, and their J/F ANA redemption rates are pretty spectacular.

    1. Ethan Guest

      Might as well buy points during their sale since it's readily cheaper than Bonvoy transfer?

    2. David Guest

      Right, but you’d still be stuck with Bonvoy points you may or may not want. Plus there’s a minimum you have to purchase to get the best price, and a maximum you can purchase per year.

  4. Skdxb Member

    For me, Bonvoy points transfers are not a great value as compared to Amex Rewards or Cit Thankyou, or Chase Ultimate but it helped me only for transferring to AA miles because AA is not a partner with the bank reward points.

  5. Kanaka Member

    In my opinion, it's worth transferring to United miles right now until September 30 because of the United 30% bonus promo (https://promo.united.com/offers/p2m?utm_source=Solo&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=P2M2022). In addition to the 3 to 1.1 ratio and the Marriott bonus of 5,000 miles if you transfer at least 60,000 points. So, with the current promo, you can transfer 60,000 Marriott points to 35,100 United miles.

  6. Ethan Guest

    Mileage transfer gives Bonvoy points a fair floor value, and even as you can still get oversized value for luxury redemption (which likely goes away after 2023/3), consider you can buy Bonvoy point at 0.75c/p, this still gives out 1.8c/mile for all kinds of miles around the world, which is still decent.
    And truth to be told, I think next Marriott is going to put mileage transfer on chopping block, by going to reduce...

    Mileage transfer gives Bonvoy points a fair floor value, and even as you can still get oversized value for luxury redemption (which likely goes away after 2023/3), consider you can buy Bonvoy point at 0.75c/p, this still gives out 1.8c/mile for all kinds of miles around the world, which is still decent.
    And truth to be told, I think next Marriott is going to put mileage transfer on chopping block, by going to reduce it to pre-SPG days, like 4:1 mostly.
    So if you have a great use in mind, like a JL airport hopper, or KE last hallelujah, do it now.

  7. Art_Czar Member

    Let's give the suits at Marriott a couple of years to bonvoy the one last good thing from the SPG program.
    Topping up mileage accounts at unique airline partners (AS, AA, JL, etc.) seems to be a better use of Marriott points than variable redemption rates for stays.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Let's give the suits at Marriott a couple of years to bonvoy the one last good thing from the SPG program.

      Unless you believe in the "demise of the fittest", aka, reverse Darwinism, SPG was a garbage program that went belly-up because it was extremely weak, despite being inexplicably hoisted on a undeserved pedestal by self-anointed "travel gurus".

      FYI, there is no such thing as reverse Darwinism. SPG went belly-up because it was conceptually...

      Let's give the suits at Marriott a couple of years to bonvoy the one last good thing from the SPG program.

      Unless you believe in the "demise of the fittest", aka, reverse Darwinism, SPG was a garbage program that went belly-up because it was extremely weak, despite being inexplicably hoisted on a undeserved pedestal by self-anointed "travel gurus".

      FYI, there is no such thing as reverse Darwinism. SPG went belly-up because it was conceptually and structurally a very weak program that could not compete, i.e., its demise was a classical case of Darwinian "demise of the weakest".

      G'day.

      Wake up and smell the coffee !!!

    2. Art_Czar Member

      My comment wasn't supposed to be a case study on successful management of a hotel rewards program by SPG.
      As a SPG member who earned lifetime Platinum status with actual stays ( not via credit cards), I was happy to provide my business to a hotel group with an excellent rewards program.

    3. DCS Diamond

      My comment wasn't supposed to be a case study on successful management of a hotel rewards program by SPG.

      It was once you put it out there and suggested Marriott's ineptitude and mismanagement...

    4. Art_Czar Member

      If you believe that a 2 sentence comment in a blog post constitutes a case study, then I'll accept that we have very different definitions for ineptitude as well.

  8. Peter Guest

    With recent changes to Skypass (KE) Program that will come be fully implemented in April 1 2023 - redemption on Skypass is officially dead..

  9. DCS Diamond

    With respect to the accruing of BONVoY points, the base earn rate for its top elites, including co-branded CC bonus points, is 23.5x, which ain't bad.
    The problem is with the program's generally lackluster promos...

  10. François Guest

    The last time I did was when they were still SPG, and I really only used it to top off my AAdvantage account for JL and CX awards. Haven't done so since the devaluations though, but I might consider it whenever Japan and Hong Kong truly reopen.

    1. DCS Diamond

      It's not by accident that one of Marriott's first acts after merging its Rewards program with SPG was to cripple the favorable transferability of starpoints to airline miles, which it rightly figured was economically boneheaded.

  11. Bobby J Guest

    I actually think airline transfers are a far better value for Bonvoy points than redeeming. The amount of points required for high end hotels where you can get the most value is typically super high, and, as you say, it’s not easy to accrue Marriott points. And given the dynamic prices for most hotels these days, I just can’t justify spending 60,000 points (or more) for one night in a standard room at a mid-range...

    I actually think airline transfers are a far better value for Bonvoy points than redeeming. The amount of points required for high end hotels where you can get the most value is typically super high, and, as you say, it’s not easy to accrue Marriott points. And given the dynamic prices for most hotels these days, I just can’t justify spending 60,000 points (or more) for one night in a standard room at a mid-range property, when those points can transfer to an airline for 25,000-27,000 points, which is enough in most cases for a one-way transcontinental flight (depending on the date).

    1. Regis Guest

      I am with you here. Converting Bonvoy points to miles is not awesome value but it is not terrible either, especially considering the constant Bonviy award devaluations. It can be very valuable if you are short of miles for an international business class award.

  12. Mark Guest

    I transfered 2,500 points to JAL recently so not sure the 3,000 minimum you state is correct.

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Kanaka Member

In my opinion, it's worth transferring to United miles right now until September 30 because of the United 30% bonus promo (https://promo.united.com/offers/p2m?utm_source=Solo&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=P2M2022). In addition to the 3 to 1.1 ratio and the Marriott bonus of 5,000 miles if you transfer at least 60,000 points. So, with the current promo, you can transfer 60,000 Marriott points to 35,100 United miles.

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Art_Czar Member

If you believe that a 2 sentence comment in a blog post constitutes a case study, then I'll accept that we have very different definitions for ineptitude as well.

1
Bobby J Guest

I actually think airline transfers are a far better value for Bonvoy points than redeeming. The amount of points required for high end hotels where you can get the most value is typically super high, and, as you say, it’s not easy to accrue Marriott points. And given the dynamic prices for most hotels these days, I just can’t justify spending 60,000 points (or more) for one night in a standard room at a mid-range property, when those points can transfer to an airline for 25,000-27,000 points, which is enough in most cases for a one-way transcontinental flight (depending on the date).

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