30% Bonus on American Express Transfers to Marriott Through October 31

American Express is offering a 30% bonus on transfers of Membership Rewards points to Marriott through October 31. You have to log into Membership Rewards to see the bonus offer (or else it’ll show 1:1 transfers in 1000 point increments).

In general this is a bad deal. Marriott points are worth 7/10ths of a cent apiece. A 30% bonus means you’re getting 9/10ths of a cent worth of points for each American Express point.

You wouldn’t put spend on a Marriott credit card earning 1 Marriott point per dollar. And you wouldn’t put spend on a Marriott card at 1.3 points per dollar, either. Indeed, Marriott’s co-brand cards generally earn 2 points per dollar for unbonused spend and still that’s not my preference.

Even if you needed to top off your Marriott account I’d avoid doing this. While purchasing points from Marriott isn’t a good deal, you can buy up to 50,000 points per year at $12.50 per thousand or 1.25 cents apiece.

The general point here is that outside of Chase transfers to Hyatt, conversions of transferrable points into hotel points is simply a bad deal and a 30% transfer bonus doesn’t reverse that in this case.

(HT: Frequent Miler)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Exactly. Marriott has ruined the former Starwood value proposition, and no amount of gussying-up will return us to it. A couple nights at a good hotel just doesn’t add up if the AMEX points to stay there could otherwise be used for a Business or First International ticket. Cash is king with most lodging.

  2. Agree this isn’t of value but I do think there are times converting points to hotel program is beneficial.

    For example, I was planning a 5 night stay at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik (great hotel BTW) using points with 5th night free. It was 70,000 points a night so 280,000 for the 5 night stay. This would typically cost over $3000 so great value for Hilton points. I didn’t have enough points in my account to cover the full 280,000 so looked at points and cash option. Cash total was over $900. Instead I converted 37,000 Membership Rewards points to Hilton (with a bonus offered at the time) to cover the deficiency and had the entire stay covered with points (outside of a 10 Kuna a night service fee which is about $1.50). This meant I got over 2.4 cents value for every Membership Rewards point I transferred to Hilton.

    Again, I realize this was a very unique situation at a hotel that already offered great value for the Hilton points but these type of situations do come up so, IMHO, there are times it doesn’t make sense to transfer even if the standard value of the points (.4 cent for Hilton as I recall) wouldn’t suggest it makes sense.

  3. Let’s assume I have an outsized number of points (2 Million +) with both Amex MR and Bonvoy. And whereas I use to spend a lot on each card in my business, I am now retired with a low spend on Amex Platinum and zero spend on Bonvoy and Diners MC. I also have 2 million+ Diners points if that matters.

    Q: since my main use of points these days if for business and first class international air, the 30% bonus when transferring Amex to Bonvoy looks like an excellent deal to me for two reasons; 1 – the 30% bonus and 2 – the great number of airlines Bonvoy allows one to transfer points to.. case in point, I recently flew business to Africa on Turkish air using Bonvoy transferred points.

    Is it a bad idea for me to transfer MR points to Bonvoy and get the 30% bonus knowing I am going to use them mostly for business and first class air? I welcome all opinions… Jerry

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