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How To Make The Most of Marriott Bonvoy Airline Partners

Sam Helmy
Despite not being a credit card issuer Marriott Bonvoy has one of the strongest flexible points currencies around. So find out how to make the most of your Marriott points.

When it comes to flexible point currencies, there is one standout program. While most are associated with banks and financial institutions like American Express and Chase, Marriot is not. Marriot Bonvoy stands out amongst flexible points for several reasons. First, it is a hotel program, not a credit card program, so your credit score is irrelevant if you want to start accumulating Marriott points. Although to fully maximize the program, credit cards are a must – but more about that later.

Air Canada Signature class
Redeeming your Marriott Bonvoy Points for premium travel can be excellent value.

Second, the program has the largest number of airline partners by some margin. This makes it the default option for transferring points to certain airline programs. Finally, unlike many hotel reward programs, transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to airline partners can make a lot of sense. Normally, this is not the case, and while you can transfer other points like IHG One Rewards points and Hilton Honors points to multiple airlines, the value is horrible and is best avoided like the plague. This is by no means the case with Marriott Bonvoy points, and transferring them to airline partners can yield phenomenal value. So, what is the secret to making the most of your Marriott Bonvoy point transfers?

Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points

When it comes to earning Marriott Bonvoy points, the situation is complex. The points earning rate depends on the brand you are staying at.

The following brands earn 10 points per $1 spent.

  • The Ritz Carlton
  • St Regis
  • Edition
  • The Luxury Collection
  • W Hotels
  • JW Marriott
  • Marriott
  • Sheraton
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Delta Hotel Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Westin
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Spring Hill suites by Marriott
  • Fairfield by Marriott
  • AC Hotels
  • Aloft Hotels
  • Autograph Collection Hotels
  • Design Hotels
  • Renaissance Hotels
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Gaylord Hotels
  • MGM collection
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Moxy Hotels
The Marriott Avenue of Arts is a stunning property that earns 10X per dollar
The Marriott Avenue of Arts is a stunning property that earns 10X per dollar

The following brands earn 5 points per $1 spent.

  • Residence Inn by Marriott.
  • Town Place suites
  • Element
  • Home & Villas by Marriott International
  • Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Protea Hotels By Marriott
  • Citi Express By Marriott
  • Four Points Express By Sheraton

Status Bonus Earnings

Your points-earning potential is boosted even further depending on the level of elite status you hold. Elite members earn the following number of bonus points as follows:

  • Silver Elite earns 10% bonus points.
  • Gold Elite earns 25% bonus points.
  • Platinum Elite earns 50% bonus points.
  • Titanium Elite earns 75% bonus points.
  • Ambassador Elite earns 75% bonus points.

Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points with Credit Cards

While earning points for hotel stays is a great way to boost your balance, you also have other options to boost your Marriott Bonvoy Balance. Marriott has a well-developed network of co-brand credit cards. These allow you to earn a ton of points for your Marriott stays. However, and more importantly, they let you earn points for everyday spending, meaning you can maximize the returns on every dollar you spend. You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points for spending with any of the following credit cards.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Marriott Transfer Partners

When it comes to transferring partners and major flexible currencies, Marriott stands head and shoulders above the rest. While American Express has 18 airline partners and Chase Ultimate Rewards has a measly 11, Marriott has a whooping 40 partners. This means that some of Marriott’s partners are unique to the program, making these points transfer the only option you have to boost your mileage balance in those programs. You can transfer your Marriott points to all of the following programs.

  • AEGEAN Miles+Bonus
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeromexico ClubPremier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air China PhoenixMiles
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Asiana Airlines Asiana Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Cathay
  • China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club
  • Copa Airlines ConnectMiles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • FRONTIER Miles
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • InterMiles
  • Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass
  • Multiplus Fidelidade LATAM Pass
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Saudia Alfursan
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Vueling Club
  • Air New Zealand AirPoint
Use your Marriott Bonvoy points to book Delta One awards
Use your Marriott Bonvoy points to book Delta One awards

Transfer Ratio and Minimum Transfer

When it comes to transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to its airline partners, the transfer ratio is 3:1 for all partners except Air New Zealand AirPoint which has a much different 200:1.

For all partners, the minimum transfer is 3,000 points. One thing to note is that Marriott Bonvoy has a maximum transfer amount per day. You are restricted to a maximum transfer of 240,000 points per day.

Inbuilt Marriott Bonvoy Transfer Bonus

One of the best aspects of the Marriott Bonvoy transfer program is the inbuilt transfer bonus. When you transfer 60,000 points in one go, you will receive a 5,000-mile bonus on the transfer. So, when considering the typical transfer ratio of 3:1 with the bonus, you will receive 25,000 miles when you transfer 60,000 points instead of 20,000 miles.

This inbuilt bonus is a fantastic option to increase the value of your points and essentially means that you are getting an additional 20% worth of points. What is more impressive is that this bonus is recurring for every 60,000 points you transfer.

So, for instance, if you transfer 120,000 points, you will receive 50,000 miles, while if you transfer 180,000 points, you will receive 75,000 miles.

5,000 Mile Transfer Bonus Eligibility

The 5,000-mile bonus applies to all Mariott Bonvoy transfer partners except the following:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage.
  • Delta Airlines SkyMiles.
  • Avianca LifeMiles.
  • Korean Air SkyPass.

United Airlines Increased Bonus

United Airlines has a much deeper partnership with Marriott than other airlines. As a result, you get an increased bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to United Mileage Plus. Instead of 5,000 miles, you will receive 10,000 United Miles for your 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. This is a substantial earning bonus and greatly adds to the value of your Marriot Bonvoy points when you transfer them to United.

Remember Marriot Stays

While it can be very tempting to treat the Marriott Bonvoy program solely as an avenue to earn points and transfer them to airline partners. Remember that in many cases, you can also get some outstanding value by using your points directly for redemption with Marriott.

The recent stay in Costa Mesa was stunning
The recent stay in Costa Mesa was stunning

Needless to say, the value you get will vary considerably and is determined by your stay pattern and what your hotel travel rewards goals are. For instance, if you are looking for aspirational redemptions, these will be hard to come by. However, if you want a solid return of around ₵2/3 per point, then you are spoiled for choice and can find that on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts

Although not a traditional credit card flexible currency, Marriot Bonvoy is still a very strong contender and has a lot to offer its members. Even if you are not a big user of Marriott properties, the program has a lot to offer in terms of airline transfer partners including several that are totally unique.

Couple the fantastic number of partners, excellent earning rates made even better if you have elite status with Marriott, and the ability to earn points for everyday spending and the Marriott Bonvoy program is one worth a closer look.

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