Great Deal: Marriott Offering A 20% Bonus On Points Transfers To American

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.

marriott-american-bonus

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:

marriott-bonus

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:

marriott-points

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.

grosvenor-house-london
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.

ritz-carlton-bali
The Ritz-Carlton Bali is a Tier 3 hotel

Bottom line

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?

Comments

  1. Of course… just redeemed a Marriott travel package into 120,000 American Airlines miles about two weeks ago! Come on.

  2. but are 144,000 miles on american worth more than 120k miles on alaska for redemptions though, especially when you consider their one way stopover policy?

  3. American has become the worst program among the FF programs because the Saver availability across the board is VERY POOR. Those who transfer to AA SHOULD FIND THE AWARD SEATS FIRST, hold it and then proceed with the transfer else you would end up being very frustrated.

    You would have far better chance finding seats with UA miles even with the latest devaluation in taking away the more generous stopover – AA does not even allow any stopover, so UA is still better even with restriction. One could find availability even with DL miles. This is not just for international premium cabins but also for your mundane domestic trips that you want non-stop or just 1 stop… Good Luck with AA.
    UA offers a 25% bonus from many hotel programs transfer – it would be better deal than this AA offer from Marriott.

  4. Thanks for this article. One question: do the additional 144k AA points count towards elite status? Ie. This would qualify you for Executive Platinum?

    Thanks!

  5. @FLL, just like with Delta, I find AAdvantage (and UA though the recent changes SUCK) miles to be most useful on partners. I’d much rather fly CX/EY/QR than on AA. There isnt always availability right away but free changes and some routing changes help quite a bit.

  6. @ Moe — Agree with you, not necessarily best off transferring to American. There are other good programs, like Alaska, so it all depends what you’re redeeming for.

  7. This is not a comment on redeem AA versus AA partner – the scarcity on award seats includes partners – in particular, TATL flights. For that, UA is much better. I even was able to find Virgin’s seats at the height of Summer season at 62.5K MIA-LHR when AA had zilch, unless you are willing to pay the BA YQ :rolleyes:

    I have long given up on AA domestic availability for positioning flights – Take MIA-LAX there are 7 daily flights, but AA only releases the 6:30am or the 10pm for redemption if it does and is only in coach. Even if you dont mind to fly coach – the only availability often is 1 to 2 stops via EX-US Hubs. Totally sucks.

    I will take AS any day over AA. As for flying CX/EY/QR etc – Could not care less for EY (First Apartment notwithstanding – just some extra sqft in a cubicle with uncomfortable seat). Flew CX J and F long haul 5 times this year alone and 2 to 3 times each year in past 4 years being ex HKGer. Good hard products, most times nice FAs and ISMs but foods are always mediocre. QR on the other hand has much better foods.

    This year’s trip to South Africa was via HKG on CX both directions. Last year was on QR and with a stopover on way back in IST on US miles. Next year’s trip we seriously think to use QR on the outbound and only use CX on the inbound because QR is just so much more convenient even though it is on B777 but their seats are spacious and they provide 2 duvets for J bedding – you cannot find that on CX. Also QR serves DOH-CPT while with CX you can only get to JNB.

    Have a trip booked to Middle East and return via Hong Kong on QR’s 380 and CX F. That is where we use our AA miles which sadly still have close to a million combined total.

    Words of caution – while AS mile is the best out there due to the undervalued CX chart – it is a matter of when, not if, AS would devalue that chart. Therefore if you transfer to AS, you should use them soon enough given AS last time did not give a word of warning to devalue EK chart… Also AS seems to scrutinize people’s accounts if all the miles are from partner transfers – better only use the miles for yourself and your family – else you may have some nasty surprises from AS.

  8. Benjamin: my husband Steve and I are planning a trip to Barbados this winter. Which airline would be best for this transfer of our Hotels.com points? I will admit, he might be having a little trouble with his you-know-what, but the doctor said it will help if we are near the vicinity of the Carribean and try to perform the act exactly five minutes before sunrise, facing east, and on violet satin sheets. We also plan to visit a witch doctor Delilah in the islands. Our neighbor Janice and her husband visited but refused to admit it, but I have dug through their trash and found flight records and also bank statements that suggest otherwise.

  9. Everyone’s so frustrated with the 7 nights. Maybe if we comaoin enough Marriott will remove the 7 nights from the packages because THEY ARE COMPLETELY free. You get 144,000 miles for 270,000 Marriott points. That alone is the best deal anywhere since Marriott points are earned at 15 points per dollar for Platinum’s (not 3 like SPG). So you are getting 8 AA miles per one dollar spent. Extraordinary ! The 7 nights are as free as it gets. So I can’t imagine why anyone would be frustrated. So stay 3 nights , stay 4. What do you suggest Marriott should do to change this ITS COMPLETELY FREE since the redemption alone is the best without the 7 nights

  10. Since 90,000 SPG points = 270,000. MR points and the 90,000 points would only get you 105,000 miles and ZERO nights hotel I think 7 nights even in a category 2 or 3 would be just amazing. But I guess that’s just me appreciating free stuff and not being frustrated when I’m given something above and beyond

  11. Is there any guide on how this works, do I have the choose and book the 7 nights at the time of conversion? Or is there an expiry date within which I have to use them up?

  12. As other bloggers have written about there are also “secret” 5 night packages available. Lucky, you should check them out…

  13. The 5 night packages are completely impossible to book. I called and tried 7 times. The supervisor’s supervisor said these are now impossible to book unless you own a timeshare. The system will not even let them do it.

  14. Hi Lucky,

    I’m confused about the 20% bonus transferring. According to the conversion chart provided by AA, isn’t the most points you can redeem is 140,000 Marriott points? Why it has the different conversion categories: 10,000 20,000 30,000 70,000 140,000?

  15. Sigh. This is making me nostalgic for the 1980’s when I was a female road warrior for IBM. I easily cashed in 3 different Marriott awards for 2 people’s airfare to Europe, 1 week at Marriott, and car rental for a week. I miss those good old days. I also “charged” a friend $450 for a First Class ticket to Australia and New Zealand. I wish I still had all the old miles I gave away! But I sure did have fun!! 🙂

  16. I agree that the Marriott program is nowhere near as generous as it used to be. The first time I cashed in it was 195,000 Marriott points. For that I received two coach tickets to anywhere in the world on a number of airline options as well as two five-night hotel certificates to any Marriott in the world. I took a friend to Greece, used one certificate for the Athens Marriott, and the other hotel certificate for the Maui Marriott. I am thinking seriously of transferring my Marriott points to an airline. I’ve already canceled my Marriott VISA.

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