Between October 15 and November 14, 2016, American AAdvantage is offering a 20% bonus when you transfer points from Marriott Rewards. This has the potential to be quite lucrative, especially now that you can convert Starpoints into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio.
There’s no registration required for the promotion, and bonus points should automatically post within seven days of when the standard miles post.
There are a couple of ways to take advantage of this offer:
Converting Marriott points into American miles
The most obvious way is by outright converting Marriott Rewards points into American AAdvantage miles. This can be done at the following rates:
As you can see, the actual ratio varies depending on how many points you transfer. At best you can convert 140,000 Marriott Rewards points into 50,000 AAdvantage miles, and then through this promotion you get a further 10,000 bonus miles. That means in the end you’re converting Marriott Rewards points into American miles at a 2.33:1 ratio.
I value Marriott points at ~0.8 cents each and American miles at ~1.5 cents each, so this isn’t a very good deal. I recommend not using your Marriott points this way.
Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages
The best use of Marriott Rewards points is for their Hotel + Air Packages, where you can redeem a set number of points for a fixed number of free nights plus a fixed number of miles, as follows:
The 20% bonus promotion also applies towards travel packages.
For example, you can redeem 270,000 Marriott Rewards points for 120,000 miles plus seven nights at a Category 1-5 property.
270,000 Marriott points are equivalent to 90,000 Starpoints, so for that you’d get 144,000 American AAdvantage miles (including the 20% bonus) plus seven nights at a Category 1-5 property.
If you outright converted 100,000 Starpoints into American miles you’d only earn 125,000 American miles, so you’re already coming out way ahead even without factoring in the free nights.
My biggest frustration with these travel packages is that the seven nights have to be used consecutively at the same hotel. In practice I typically don’t like staying in one place for a week, though you can still come out way ahead by “throwing away” a few nights of a stay.
Also keep in mind that Category 1-5 properties exclude many of the better hotels. So if I were to do this I might instead redeem at a Category 9 Marriott property, where the package would cost 390,000 Marriott Rewards points (or 130,000 Starpoints). You’d still get 144,000 American miles, but would then get seven free nights at Marriott’s best hotels.
The Grosvenor House London is a Category 9 hotel
This could even make sense at Ritz-Carlton properties. If redeeming at a Tier 1-3 Ritz-Carlton property you’d pay 420,000 Marriott points for the package (140,000 Starpoints). Then you’d still get 144,000 American miles plus seven nights at a great Ritz property.
If you value one Starpoint at 1.25 American miles, that means you’re really paying ~25,000 Starpoints for a week at a Ritz-Cartlon, which is incredible.
The Ritz-Carlton Bali is a Tier 3 hotel
This has the opportunity to be a very lucrative promotion if using one of Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages. While I don’t love the seven nights required for Marriott’s vacation packages, you can still come out way ahead by taking advantage of one of these promotions and only staying a few nights.
If you’re booking the most basic package you’ll come out ahead even if not using any of the nights, though it could make sense to book one of the premium packages and stay at a hotel that has been on your list.
Does anyone plan on taking advantage of this promotion in conjunction with Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages?