How Marriott Airline Mileage Transfers Will Work

Marriott’s new loyalty program will kick in at some point in August (we don’t know the exact date), and at that point Starpoints will be converted into Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio. There are lots of changes kicking in with the new program, some of which are positive, and some of which are negative.

For example, in the short term we’ll see some very low redemption rates for Starwood’s most expensive properties. On the other hand, the cost of Hotel + Air Packages is increasing significantly, so those won’t be an exceptional value anymore.

One source of confusion has been how mileage transfers will work with Marriott’s new loyalty program, so let’s take a look at that in more detail.

How mileage transfers will work with Marriott’s new program

One of the strong points of the Starwood Preferred Guest program has long been that you can efficiently convert Starpoints into airline miles. They converted into dozens of currencies at a 1:1 ratio, and you even received a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. In other words, each Starpoint was worth up to 1.25 airline miles, which is why the Starwood Amex Card has been so valuable for many. It was a card that basically earned you 1.25 flexible airline miles per dollar spent.

The good news is that with the new program, it will continue to be possible to efficiently convert Marriott points into airline miles. Specifically, Marriott points will convert into airline miles at a 3:1 ratio, with a 15,000 point (or 5,000 mile) bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. In other words, 60,000 Marriott points will convert into 25,000 airline miles.

This means that it’s more or less business as usual for SPG members, since 60,000 Marriott points is the equivalent of 20,000 Starpoints.

What airline programs you’ll be able to transfer Marriott points to

Marriott’s website about the new program is surprisingly unhelpful when it comes to laying out the new airline transfer partners, so Tiffany put together a chart that shows the transfer partners and ratios under the new program, as well as the old partners for each program:

Combined Program Partners (date TBD)Combined Program
Transfer Ratios
Current Marriott Transfer PartnersCurrent SPG
Transfer Partners
Aegean Airlines

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferred1 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Aeroflot Bonus Program

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 1
AeroMexico Club Premier

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Air Canada Aeroplan

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Air China Companion

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Air France/KLM FlyingBlue

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Air New Zealand Air Points

TBD transfer ratio65 : 1 transfer ratio, ~77 bonus airpoints for every 20k points transferred
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Alitalia MilleMiglia

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
ANA Mileage Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
American Airlines AAdvantage

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Avianca LifeMiles

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
British Airways Executive Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferred
COPA Milesconnect

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
El Al Matmid

TBD transfer ratio
Emirates Skywards

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Etihad Airways Guest

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Frontier Airlines

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 1
Gol Smiles

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 12 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Hainan Airlines

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferred1 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Iberia Plus

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Jet Airways

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
JetBlue TrueBlue

TBD transfer ratiotransfer ratio ranges from 5.6 : 1 to 10 : 1
Korean Air Skypass

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
LATAM Airlines LATAM PASS

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Lufthansa Miles & More

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Qantas Frequent Flyer

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 1
Qatar Airways Privileges Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
South African Airways Voyager

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 1
Southwest Rapid Rewards

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 1
TAP Portugal

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 1
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferred1 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 4 : 1 to 6.66 : 1
United Mileage Plus

3 : 1.1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferred, plus 10% RewardsPlus bonustransfer ratio ranges from 2.24 : 1 to 4 : 12 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferredtransfer ratio ranges from 2.8 : 1 to 5 : 11 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred
Virgin Australia Velocity

3 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 60k points transferred1 : 1 transfer ratio, 5k bonus miles for every 20k points transferred

We’re actually going to see more airline transfer partners than ever before, which is good news.


Transfer Marriott points to Alaska miles for redemptions in Cathay Pacific first class

The big loss with mileage transfers under the new program

The great news is that you’ll continue to be able to efficiently convert points directly into airline miles. This is on par with what the old SPG program used to offer, and if anything is even a bit better, since there are a few more partner airlines. This is at least true for those earning points primarily through hotel stays, and not those earning points through credit card spend, since the rate at which you earn points through credit card spend is being cut by a third.

For Marriott members, it has never been possible to efficiently convert Marriott points directly into airline miles. Being able to do so directly and in smaller quantities is a win.

The trick with converting Marriott points into airline miles has long been to book one of their Hotel + Air Packages, where you can redeem a set number of points for free nights plus airline miles, and it ended up being an insanely good deal. Unfortunately that’s being largely devalued as of next month, so this will no longer be such an incredible redemption option.

Here’s their new Hotel + Air Package pricing:

Does anyone have any other questions about how airline mileage transfers will work under Marriott’s new program?

Comments

  1. It would be helpful to know for which programs the transfer will happen instantly and for which ones you will have to wait how long.

  2. Thanks Ben – how will the United mileage plus transfers work with the new program? I’m a bit confused

  3. @Lucky – What’re your thoughts on redeeming for the Hotel + Air package with the caveat that it may be cancelled and converted to equivalent points? If we do a cat 7 package for 330,000 marriott points (pre devaluation in Aug), and they cancel the hotel nights and give you points, does that mean I’m getting 60,000 x 7 points back?

  4. @Lucky – the entry for Air New Zealand is wrong. You definitely don’t get a 5K miles bonus upon transferring 20K SPG points currently. The program doesn’t actually use Miles as a currency.

  5. Good for those staying in the hotels with regard to mileage transfers
    But the biggest loser will be SPG American Express as my spending gets slashed big time
    With Citibank and Chase Reserve getting the lions share of spending on their credit cards

  6. Are we losing the 10% bonus on United transfers due to the Marriott/UA special relationship?

  7. @ Max Muiler — Unfortunately we don’t know. Presumably none of them will be instant, so I’d expect them all to take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks.

  8. @ adrian — In general I think it makes a lot of sense to book one of these packages, and I’m thinking of doing so myself. Will have a separate post on that. We don’t know what they’ll do with these, though, though I definitely wouldn’t expect to get 420,000 points back on a 330,000 point package. 😉

  9. @ Chris — Thanks. It effectively works the same way as the other programs (SPG gives you 5k bonus points if you transfer 20k, which is automatically converted into the partner currency), but I’ve clarified that a bit.

  10. the transfer ratio will stay the same but on the earning side, it is a loss of 33% even when factoring in the 5k bonus. obviously going forward, earning through SPG spend is a losing proposition.

  11. @Lucky please do post about what you’ll do, I will just blindly follow your steps 🙂

    btw i’ve been reading this blog for years, thanks for all the advice/tricks you’ve taught us!

  12. @Tiffany Is there an error in the “Combined Program Transfer Ratios Column”? Shouldn’t the entries that state a 5K bonus for ever 60K transferred state a 15K bonus?

    Thanks,
    Todd

  13. But the new ratios make using the SPG Amex when it converts to a Marriott card a bad deal, right? Strictly talking about Airlines transfers

  14. Am I reading the change in United transfers correctly? I’d say SPG members are going to see a big improvement in that redemption in as much as the current 2:1 SPG:UA rate is being changed to the same 3:1 that most other carriers had. If they’d kept equivalent to the 2:1 ratio, the new rate would be 6:1, so 3:1 is a big net improvement.

  15. @ Tommy Trash @ Marc @ mallthus — Yes, in general it’s a devaluation for Marriott > United transfers, but it also depends on how you look at it, and the amounts you transfer. Currently the rates for transfers to United from Marriott are significantly better than with some other programs, with the best possible ratio being 2.24 Marriott points to 1 United mile.

    In order to get that rate, however, you have to transfer designated amounts. Otherwise you’re getting an awful 4:1 ratio.

    Going forward, the transfer ratio will be 3:1 almost across the board, with a 5,000 mile bonus for transfers in 60k increments, and you’ll be able to transfer whatever amount you want, which might take some of the sting out of the reduced rate for Marriott members.

    To compare, the closest you could get to a 60,000 point transfer today would either be 56k Marriott for 25k UA, or 64k Marriott for 27k UA. With the new ratios, 56k Marriott would get you less (18,600 UA), 64k Marriott would get you a bit less, even factoring in the bonus (26,333 UA), with 60k being the sweet spot (25,000 UA).

    Similarly, if you transferred 120k Marriott today (112k + 8k) you’d get 52,000 UA miles. Under the new program, a 120k transfer would generate 50k UA miles.

    So it’s a bit worse, but not horribly so.

  16. @ SeattleTodd — No, I just did the math for you 🙂 The way it works is that if you transfer 60k points, you get a bonus 15k points, which are automatically converted into the partner currency, hence the additional 5k miles.

  17. I know with the current SPG program, you can transfer in single point increments (with minimums for non-elite members). Will that be possible under the new combined program or must we transfer only in 1,000 point increments?

  18. Tiffany: Can you provide us a link to the source of your info?

    Thanks.

  19. @ Gary Steiger — Which part of it? The current rates are available on the respective sites, and Marriott has stated that points will convert into airline miles at a 3:1 ratio, with a 15,000 point (or 5,000 mile) bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred for all transfer partners (other than the three they’re still negotiating with).

    https://members.marriott.com/faq/#what-is-happening-with-airline-partners-and-will-i-still-be-able-to-transfer-points-to-frequent-flyer-miles

  20. are spg platinum members currently allowed to transfer one spg point to any of the existing partners?

    Will spg platinum members be allowed to transfer just a handful of the new Marriott points to any of the partners?

  21. Got my Cat. 6, 7-night certificate, reservation and 120,000 Alaska miles done last week all for 300,000 points. Alaska miles showed up in my account in less than five days. The new chart shows 510,000 points! Wow! Looks to me like Marriott “Rewards” are moving in the same direction as the last 747, the boneyard. Cash in while you can.

  22. This is a really helpful article!

    Any idea what the minimum transfer amount will be? At the moment for a non-status SPG member it’s 2,500 points, will it be 7,500 MR do you think?

  23. SPG point transfer to united air had worst transfer ratio of 2:1. After Marriott transition it is almost like getting 100% bonus (1:1 transfer ratio, calculating by SPG points). That is a positive change.

  24. @pho tastee: You’re incorrect about the 33% devaluation. That 33% devaluation is on SPG AMEX CREDIT CARD UN-BONUSED SPENDING. That is not on spending at SPG/Marriott hotels.

    Spending at SPG/Marriott hotels will result in a decent revaluation for those of us who are Platinum Premiers (with or without Ambassadors), since earning 17.5 points/$1 is superior to the current 4 Starpoints (12 Marriott equivalent points)/$1 with SPG.

  25. If anything this suggests that their dip in the airline-miles-selling business will continue – which is very good news.

    I’m curious though – for new elite levels, we know Marriott Gold = New Marriott Plat, and SPG Gold = New Marriott Gold, but what would SPG Gold matched to Marriott Gold be?

  26. @ Ross — Will work on finding out, though I’m not sure it has been announced yet. Will let you know if I find out.

  27. @ Andfew — Yes, currently SPG Platinum members can transfer just one point. I’m not sure if that option will continue come August.

  28. @Lucky
    I am confused about this new program. I am a gold elite member with Marriott with 150K points. After the new program
    a) Do I lose all these points?
    b) Is it mandatory for me to convert these points or redeem them?

    Ashwin

  29. @tiffany: thanks for doing all the maths, but i didn’t see my current favorite redemption here so far. you say “the best possible ratio being 2.24 Marriott points to 1 United mile” but my favorite redemption was always the package for 270k which got me 7 nights category 1-5 plus 132k united miles (120k+10%). That’s 2.04 marriott points to 1 united mile so the devaluation in that case is a lot higher.

  30. 1. Will the transfer minimums for Golds and above be 4500 Mar points?

    2. Rewards rep informed me today – 11 July – that my present category 7 certificate would be untouched after the August integration.

    3. Marriott will certainly lose business to Hyatt in the near term.

  31. @Lucky or @Tiffany it looks to me
    like for Starwood members who want to transfer to United this is a boon as previously the ratio was horrible but post merger those star points will effectively be transferring at 1.25:1 once they are Marriott points (3:1 conversion) and assuming you move them in a big enough block.

    Do I have that right?

  32. Wouldn’t it be great if Chase UR transferred at a respectable rate to Marriott points? You’d think 2 or 3 Marriott points per 1 Ultimate Rewards point would make more sense to the people that be.

  33. @ Ashwin — No, you don’t lose your points as long as you follow the expiration guidelines. It’s just the redemption rates that are changing as the programs merge.

  34. As a current Marriott Rewards CC Silver member,
    I receive 22 nights gratis annually…
    Under the new program it states 55 nights…no one @ Marriott’ has been able to decipher the true meaning of this change to existing ‘elites’….

  35. Hi, Lucky and Tiffany this might be a dumbass question b/c I think you answered this already in several different ways. But I want to confirm:

    So if you got the 100,000 signup bonus for the new chase Marriott card, with most airline transfers, you will get basically get 115,000 points to transfer at 3:1 ratio, meaning the max airline mileage you will get is ~38,333 miles?

    Isn’t that really poor compared to other huge sign up bonuses from Reserve, AMEX, etc that transfers to true 100,000 airline mileage?

    Are there any Hotel Credit Cards that transfers at 1:1 ratio to Airline miles anymore?
    Appreciate your help!

  36. @Lucky, I just got off the phone with Marriott Rewards asking them about the upcoming changes to the 7-Night Hotel+Air Packages. My question was could I redeem the package before the end of July at the current redemption rates, but book the actual hotel after August 1st? She was not sure of the answer so I was put on hold for over 30 mins before she came back on the line. After speaking to two people (both had a different answer), the conclusion she offered me, which she felt came from the most reliable source, in essence, was this — For example, if I was planning on staying at the Park Lane Marriott London (now a Cat 9), redeem only a Cat 7 Certificate because it will become a Cat 7 property as of August 1st. If I was planning on staying at the New York Marriott Marquis (now a Cat 9) only redeem a Cat 6 Certificate because it will become a Cat 6 property as of August 1st. That sounds nice and dandy, but then reading your post a little more carefully, beginning in January I understand Marriott will re-introduce Category 8 properties. So, to be safe, what would you do? Would you redeem a Cat 8 package, or roll the dice that these properties will retain their new August 1st categories?

  37. It would be very helpful to know prior to 8/1 what Marriott plans to do with floating certificates for free 7-night stays. Currently they are offering 45K Marriott Rewards points. Any sense at all whether that will be an option after 8/1 or whether they might even increase the amount of Rewards points offered after 8/1, or if they offer new certificates , how will those line up with the new award chart? These would be the most important questions I would have for Marriott that they have yet to answer definitively in any way.

  38. @ Michael M — Working on getting answers to all of those things, though as of now we don’t know, unfortunately.

  39. @ Ryan Yuk — You’re not missing anything, that’s correct. The big value from these points comes in their flexibility, so while you can get bigger welcome bonuses in terms of the individual mileage currencies, Marriott points do give you a lot of flexibility.

  40. So, if I’m understanding everything I’ve read, if I am currently holding a 7-night, cat. 1-5 certificate, and have already received the 132,000 United miles into my account, should I consider myself ahead of the game? We have been stockpiling SPG points in advance of the transfer to Marriott, but no one picks up the phone at Marriott any longer, as I’ve been trying to upgrade that certificate to a category 6, not knowing which hotels in each chain will be upgraded or downgraded and what we’ll be able to do with the certificate, which as I am reading here, will now be turned into a lower amount of points than the 270,000 we put in? Is this correct? How do I find all the category changes, and take advantage of a 7-night booking at a higher level SPG hotel after August 1st?

  41. Previously, for those looking to maximize AA miles for everyday non-bonus category spend, the SPG AmEx was the best way to go and effectively earned 1.25 AA miles per dollar vs the AA cards which historically earned 1 mile per dollar. Now post merger, it seems like the Marriott/SPG cards are no longer the best for everyday non bonus cat spending for those looking to maximize AA miles. Is that right? If I understand this correctly – spending $30k on a Marriott or SPG card would only net you 25k AA miles. Essentially earning .83 AA miles per dollar.

  42. Struggling to get points transferred to airlines. Super long hold times and we are told it’s not up and running. Anyone experiencing that?

  43. I thought I’d share my experience with Aeroflot Bonus.

    Transferred 120,000 Marriott points to Aeroflot Bonus on Sunday October 21, 2018.
    Posted 50,000 miles to Aeroflot Bonus on Thursday, November 8, 2018.

    Miles were posted in two transactions:
    Oct 20: 10,000 miles (transfer bonus)
    Oct 21: 40,000 miles (base transfer)

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