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TravelWhen does it make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines?

When does it make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines?

Typically, hotel points are most valuable when redeemed for hotel stays. However, Marriott Bonvoy has 40 airline transfer partners that can provide good value.

If you want to maximize your Marriott redemptions, you might wonder when transferring Marriott points to airline partners makes sense. Let’s take a closer look at this question to find out.

Why transfer Marriott points to airlines

You might prefer to transfer Marriott points to airlines over redeeming them for hotel stays for many reasons.

For example, many Marriott stays cost more points now that Marriott has removed its award categories. In fact, some high-end former Category 8 hotels clock in at over 100,000 points per night. So, you might consider transferring Marriott points to airlines if doing so will let you get more value from your Marriott points. After all, a free flight to Europe may be more appealing than a free hotel night, no matter how nice the hotel is.

You might also need to earn more rewards with one of Marriott’s transfer partners. Whether you need to top up your account or earn a hard-to-get mileage currency, transferring Marriott points to your airline loyalty account could help boost your mileage account balance.

Of course, if you transfer Marriott points to airline partners, you won’t have these points to redeem for Marriott stays. However, this might not be a concern if you earn a significant amount of Marriott points through stays or spending on cobranded Marriott Bonvoy credit cards.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy program: How to redeem points for hotel stays, airfare and more

Marriott Bonvoy airline partners


Marriott has an impressive list of 38 airline loyalty program partners, including familiar programs like United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles. Know, though, that doing so usually won’t provide good value unless you’re topping off your account balance to get to a specific redemption.

That said, the list of Marriott’s airline partners does contain some hidden gems. In particular, some airline miles are difficult to earn yet extremely valuable. With some of these partners, you may find award flights for a fraction of the miles more well-known programs require.

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With most airline partners, 3 Marriott Bonvoy points will convert to 1 airline mile. Air New Zealand Airpoints (200:1 ratio) and United MileagePlus miles (3:1.1 ratio) are the exceptions, converting at different rates.

Marriott gives 5,000 bonus airline miles for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer to most airline partners. However, transfers to American Airlines AAdvantage, Avianca LifeMiles, Delta SkyMiles and Korean Air SkyPass aren’t eligible for the 5,000-mile bonus.

Now, to help you determine when it could make sense to transfer Marriott points to airlines, let’s consider a few of the best airline award chart sweet spots you could book through Marriott’s transfer partners. In particular, we’ll focus on programs that don’t partner with other major transferable currencies.

Lufthansa first class to South Africa with Aegean Airlines miles


You can redeem 75,000 Aegean miles to fly one-way from North America to South Africa in Lufthansa first class when there’s award space. You’ll still need to pay about $800 in taxes and fees, but 75,000 Aegean miles is a fraction of how many miles you’d need with Air Canada Aeroplan or United MileagePlus to book this luxurious award.

If you can’t find first-class award space, you could redeem 55,000 Aegean miles to fly one-way in business class. This option is also available on Swiss, another member of Star Alliance.

If you find first-class award space, you’d need to transfer 180,000 Marriott Bonvoy points — which TPG values at about $1,530 — to Aegean to get 75,000 miles. For business class, plan on redeeming roughly 135,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (worth about $1,147 at TPG’s valuations). Transfers from Marriott Bonvoy to Aegean will likely take about three days.

Related: Booking Lufthansa first class to South Africa with Aegean miles

Emirates business class to Dubai with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles

Although Emirates isn’t in the Oneworld alliance, you can redeem Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles for award flights on Emirates.

One of the sweet spots in the JAL Mileage Bank program is the ability to book a round-trip Emirates business-class award with a total trip distance of between 12,001 and 14,000 miles for 110,000 award miles.

You can book a round-trip Emirates business-class award from New York to Dubai for 110,000 miles (plus taxes and fees). Of course, you must find business-class award space (which can be difficult), and Emirates fuel surcharges are currently very high.

It’s important to note that if you book a one-way flight to Dubai — which would fall between 6,001 and 8,000 miles — you’d need to redeem 80,000 JAL miles.

Consequently, booking this award as a round-trip is in your interest. After all, a round-trip business-class award on this route would only require 30,000 more JAL miles than a one-way business-class award.

You could transfer 270,000 Marriott Bonvoy points — which TPG values at about $2,229 — to JAL Mileage Bank to get 110,000 miles. The transfer will likely take about 48 hours.

Related: A review of Emirates business class on the Airbus A380 from New York to Milan


Transatlantic Star Alliance business class with Asiana Club miles

If you feel comfortable leveraging Asiana Club and don’t mind calling to book most awards, Asiana Airlines’ Star Alliance flight award redemption table has some good deals.

For example, you can travel from North America (excluding Hawaii and Mexico) to Europe for 40,000 miles each way in business class on Star Alliance airlines if you can find discounted award availability. Asiana Club passes on fuel surcharges, so taxes and fees vary significantly depending on the operating carrier and route.

You could transfer 105,000 Marriott Bonvoy points — which TPG values at about $892 — to Asiana Club to get 40,000 miles. The transfer will likely take about four days.

Related: The best ways to travel to Europe using points and miles

Other ways to redeem Marriott points


You’ll usually get the most value from your Marriott points when you redeem them for Marriott stays or transfer to airline programs for high-value redemptions. But if you want to redeem your Marriott points for something else, you have several options.

You could use your points for gift cards and merchandise through Marriott’s Shop with Points page, but you’ll get a very low redemption value when doing so. For example, a $100 Apple gift card costs 30,000 points. TPG values 30,000 Marriott points at about $255, so you’ll almost certainly want to avoid this redemption.

You could also use your points for non-stay activities like sporting events and concerts through Marriott Bonvoy Moments. Here’s one example:


You could redeem 75,000 points to see Odesza from the Marriott Bonvoy Luxury Suite at New York’s Madison Square Garden. TPG values 75,000 Marriott points at about $637, making this a good value if you are an Odesza fan.

How to earn Bonvoy points

There are several cards you can use to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, but six are available to new applicants — three from American Express and three from Chase:

The information for the Bonvoy Bountiful credit card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

There’s no easy answer to when or whether you should transfer Marriott points to airlines. However, you can sometimes unlock less expensive award flights when you leverage Marriott’s airline transfer partners.

So, check award rates with Marriott’s airline transfer partners and crunch the numbers the next time you’re ready to book a long-haul award flight. Converting Marriott points to airline miles might get you a great deal.

For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant, click here.
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business, click here.
For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Bevy, click here.


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