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One of the chief concerns expressed by SPG members leading up to the Marriott/SPG merger was the potential loss of SPG’s airline transfer bonus. SPG airline partners included 30+ frequent flyer programs, most of which transferred at a 1:1 ratio. The deal was even sweeter if you transferred 20,000+ Starpoints, with SPG throwing in a bonus 5,000 airline miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred. The bonus was one of the most valuable aspects of the SPG program. Next to elite status benefits, the loss of the airline transfer bonus was at the top of SPG member concerns.
So, it was music to the ears of points and miles fans when Marriott announced the airline transfer bonus was here to stay for the new Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. Following the same 3:1 transfer ratio used when combining accounts, points transfer from Marriott to airlines at 3:1, and you'll receive a 15,000 point bonus (equal to 5,000 miles at 3:1) for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, giving you 25,000 miles in the frequent flyer program of your choice.
In addition to maintaining the same value of points transfers to airline partners, Marriott has added more airlines to the list of transfer partners, which now includes more than 40 frequent flyer programs.
- The Fastest Way to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points
- 5,000 Bonus Airline Miles When You Transfer 60,000 Bonvoy Points to Airline Partners
- Marriott Bonvoy Airline Transfer Partners
- The Best Marriott Airline Transfer Partners
- Final Thoughts
The Fastest Way to Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points
While there's plenty of ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points, for most points enthusiasts the fastest way to earn points is via the co-brand Marriott credit cards. Marriott's co-brand card lineup has undergone a major revamp, with new cards added to the Marriott stable and a major shakeup of earning rates and benefits on existing cards. The lineup of cards earning Marriott Bonvoy points open to new applications includes:
Marriott Bonvoy Personal Cards
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from CHASE® with no annual fee!
- Limited Time Offer! Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 3X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
- 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
- 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
- 3X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains)
- 1X point on all other purchases
- Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- An additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
- Earn 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
- 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
- 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points and get Free Night Stays faster.
- 6X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 2X points everywhere else
- You'll receive complimentary Marriott Gold Elite status, plus you receive Marriott Platinum Elite status after spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year
- A Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, up to the value of 50,000 Marriott points
- Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership
- $300 in statement credits each year for eligible purchases at participating Marriott hotels.
- TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry fee credit
- 6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
- 2x points on all other eligible purchases
Marriott Bonvoy Business Cards
- Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
- 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, earn Gold Elite status after making $35,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Terms apply.
- Rates & Fees
- 6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
- 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping
- 2x points on all other purchases
5,000 Bonus Airline Miles When You Transfer 60,000 Bonvoy Points to Airline Partners
When transferring Bonvoy points to airlines in multiples of 60,000, you receive 5,000 bonus airline miles from Marriott, credited to the airline partner to which you are transferring points. For instance, if we transfer 60k Bonvoy points to ANA Mileage Club, Marriott credits an extra 5k bonus miles to our ANA account at the time of transfer, for a total of 25,000 miles. This applies to 41 of the 44 transfer partners, we've outlined the exceptions below.
There are a few tricks, rules and tips that need to be followed to ensure transfers are trouble-free and you receive maximum value for your Rewards points.
- While SPG capped transfers at 79,999 points per day (meaning you could only transfer 60K points per day and receive the 25% bonus), Marriott allows you to transfer a maximum of 240,000 points per day, so you can receive up to 20,000 bonus miles each day via airline partner transfers. Transfer 240,000 Bonvoy points, and you’ll receive 100,000 airline miles.
- The names must match on your Marriott Bonvoy and frequent flyer account.
- Minimum transfer requirement is 3,000 Bonvoy points
- Transfer times for Marriott points vary, but, from experience and current data points, are faster than the SPG transfers of the past which could take up to two weeks to clear.
Marriott Bonvoy Airline Transfer Partners
The addition of new carriers to the airline transfer program places Marriott well ahead of other transferable points when it comes to the number of transfer partners, offering a total of 44 frequent flyer programs. Of the 44 partners, 41 get the 3:1 transfer ratio, while Air New Zealand is a staggering 200:1, and JetBlue receives a 6:1 transfer ratio. Check out the full list of transfer partners below.
|FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM||TRANSFER RATIO (REWARDS:MILES)|
|Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus||3:1|
|Aeroflot Bonus Program||3:1|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||3:1|
|Air China PhoenixMiles||3:1|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||3:1|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints||200:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||3:1|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club||3:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||3:1|
|Asia Miles/Cathay Pacific||3:1|
|Asiana Airlines Asiana Club||3:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||3:1|
|China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles||3:1|
|China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Club||3:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||3:1|
|Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns||3:1|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||3:1|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||3:1|
|Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank||3:1|
|InterMiles (formerly Jet Airways JetPrivilege)||3:1|
|Korean Air SKYPASS||3:1|
|LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass||3:1|
|Lufthansa Miles and More||3:1|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||3:1|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||3:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan||3:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||3:1|
|South African Airways Voyager||3:1|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||3:1|
|TAP Air Portugal Victoria||3:1|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||3:1|
|Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles||3:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||3:1|
|Virgin Australia Velocity||3:1|
There are a few exceptions to the standard transfer rates:
- United MileagePlus members receive a 10% bonus on transferred points via Marriott RewardsPlus, so 60,000 points will transfer to 27,500 United miles.
- Points transfer to Air New Zealand at 200:1 with 25 Airpoints added as a bonus when you transfer 60K, so 60,000 points will transfer to 325 Airpoints (redeemable for $1 per point)
- Points transfer to JetBlue at 6:1 with 2,500 points added when you transfer 60K, so 60,000 points will transfer to 12,500 TrueBlue points
The Best Marriott Airline Transfer Partners
The five transfer partners at the top of our list are Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, Alaska MileagePlan, American AAdvantage, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and British Airways Executive Club. Here's why:
British Airways Executive Club
On top of the excellent value flying transatlantic on oneworld® partner Iberia, British Airways still retains a distance-based program meaning short haul flights with Avios are a great way of redeeming Marriott points. Short-haul flights within North America price out at 7,500 Avios one-way, and non-stop economy flights from the West Coast to Hawaii will set you back only 12,500 points each way flying American or Alaska. Short hops between cities in popular destinations in Europe, Japan, and Australia cost just 4,500 points in coach, presenting top value when compared to the cash price of tickets.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
With Alaska Airlines not a member of any major alliances, it leaves them in the unique position of being able to pick and choose the airlines with whom they partner. Combined with low fees and the ability to add a stop-over when booking most one-way flights, something that typically requires a round-trip on most other airlines if it is allowed at all, Alaska offers some of the best redemption options of any frequent flyer program in the world.
The best options for Alaska are often aspirational redemptions such as first-class long-haul Cathay Pacific awards to Asia (with a stop-over in both directions possible on most itineraries) and Qantas first-class to Australia and New Zealand for 140k miles roundtrip. Award space can be elusive on Qantas but once secured, you are flying one of the best first-class products to one of the best destinations in the world.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
Unlike the other programs on this list, the most significant setback for Japan Airlines is that there is no easy way to accumulate miles other than transferring them from Marriott. Depending on the destination, however, JAL offers fantastic value as a distance-based program and allows multiple stopovers on awards.
While they raised the number of miles required for some business and first-class redemptions towards the end of last year, the rates are still competitive. The value in JAL is the ability to build itineraries with multiple stopovers and an open jaw in one award. You will pay hefty taxes and fees on some oneworld® partners, but LATAM, Qatar, and AA all have small fees for select flights. You can see all the taxes and fees on JAL's website, alongside the JAL award chart for partners. Additionally, outside of partners within Oneworld, JAL provides access to awards with Emirates at reasonable redemption rates.
American Airlines AAdvantage
Despite recent changes to the AAdvantage program, which had a massive impact on the cost of first-class awards (and to a lesser degree, business-class), AAdvantage is still the best transfer partner of the big three legacy carriers for Marriott points. Most changes to American's award chart were negative; however, award costs were reduced for business-class flights to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean (dropped 2,500 miles) and economy tickets to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent (dropped 5,000 miles).
While the award costs rose on many first-class redemptions in the latest changes to AAdvantage, most of the changes to business-class just bought American into line with the other legacy carriers.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin partners with all four major transferrable rewards currencies, making it easy to accumulate enough miles for an award even if you have stray balances across different programs. Virgin cops a bad rap from a lot of folks due to exorbitant carrier-imposed surcharges, but the program also provides some outstanding sweet spots that provide killer value.
Try 17,500 miles one-way Transatlantic in Virgin’s Premium Economy seats. You’ll wear roughly $200 in fees, but the cost in miles is so low that the $200 still provides good value. Or, one of our all-time favorites, 120K miles in first or 95K miles in business to fly round-trip ANA from the East Coast to Japan.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Special mention at this point goes to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer which offers some of the most sought-after and aspirational redemptions in the award travel space. In fact, it could be argued they provide a better cent-per-point value in some instances than the options above, but when all factors come into play, the five programs listed offer the best mix of standout redemptions, value, flexibility, and award availability.
Marriott's transfer partners are a stellar addition to the combined program, and one of the best legacy features to carry over from SPG. With the majority of airlines converting at 3:1, the additional 5,000 bonus miles received for every 60,000 points transferred, and the sheer number of transfer partners, Marriott Bonvoy has put itself on the radar as one of the big players in transferrable rewards.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)
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